Q: My medical doctor recently told me that my entire gastrointestinal system is infected with a type of fungal infection. He insisted that I see a dentist to help me get rid of my dentures which he feels is the cause of my problem. What is your take on this?
A: hallelujah! Although medical doctors spend on average a whopping seven minutes on the mouth, this MD was top notch in making a key diagnosis! (I will be sending him a box of black and white cookies, one of my all-time favorites.)
The literature shows that 80% of removable oral appliances not secured by dental implants are infected with Candida albicans, a yeast infection of the mouth and GI tract. The risk of this infection goes up with age, a decrease in the immune system’s power, medication use such as steroids, a dry mouth (xerostomia) and those in elder care or hospital environments.
The additional problem of not being able to properly chew the food into a small soft bolus for swallowing, adds to the risk of GI issues such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Celiac disease and others. Chronic irritation of the lining of the esophagus and intestines can lead to pre-cancerous cell formation.
If finances are preventing you from being able to place more than four dental implants to support a full arch of permanent, non-removable teeth, then you must at least place four dental implants in an arch to allow a removable denture to snap in place for stabilization. We refer to these prosthesis as Implant Supported Overdentures.
Dentures without dental implants wind up sucking bacteria underneath via percolation. (Similar to stepping on wet carpet; pressure squeezes out the water, but release of pressure allows the water to suck back in.)
Partial dentures with clasps are even worse as they ruin the teeth they are clasping.
Not to be redundant for those who read my column every week (vs. more interesting hobbies) but I have to say again: “Dentures are only made for one reason: limited finances.” (With the exception of those patients that have delayed placing dental implants for so long that they no longer have enough bone left to anchor the dental implants.)
For a free info sheet on Implant Supported Overdentures, drop us an email or call us at 561-832-4675.
Dr. Mitchell Josephs practices Implant, Cosmetic and General Dentistry with an emphasis on implants, porcelain veneers, and complex crown and bridge treatment. He is on staff at JFK Medical Center and is a Faculty Advisory Board member at McGill University’s Faculty of Dentistry. He completed his residency at Manhattan’s Beth Israel Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Hospital.