- DENTURE CARE
- HOW HEADACHES RELATE TO YOUR BITE
- RENEW YOUR SMILE
- ALBERTA DENTAL SERVICES CORPORATION - SENIORS COVERAGE
Proper denture care is important for both the health of your dentures and mouth. Here are some tips.
Handle dentures with great care. To avoid accidentally dropping them, stand over a folded towel or a full sink of water when handling dentures.
Brush and rinse dentures daily. Like natural teeth, dentures must be brushed daily to remove food and plaque. Brushing also helps prevent the development of permanent stains on the dentures. Use a brush with soft bristles that is specifically designed for cleaning dentures. Avoid using a hard-bristled brush as it can damage or wear down dentures. Gently brush all surfaces of the denture and be careful not to damage the plastic or bend attachments. In between brushings, rinse dentures after every meal.
Clean with a denture cleaner. Hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid can be used for cleaning dentures. Household cleansers and many toothpastes may be too abrasive for dentures and should not be used. Also, avoid using bleach, as this may whiten the pink portion of the denture. Ultrasonic cleaners can be used to care for dentures. These cleaners are small bathtub-like devices that contain a cleaning solution. The denture is immersed in the tub and then sound waves create a wave motion that dislodges the undesirable deposits. Use of an ultrasonic cleaner, however, does not replace a thorough daily brushing. Products with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance are recommended since they have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness.
Denture care when not being worn. Dentures need to be kept moist when not being worn so they do not dry out or lose their shape. When not worn, dentures should be placed in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in water. However, if the denture has metal attachments, the attachments could tarnish if placed in a soaking solution. Your dentist can recommend the best methods for caring for your particular denture. Dentures should never be placed in hot water, as it can cause them to warp.
Headaches and Dental Health
One in eight Canadians suffer from recurring headaches that are so severe they cannot carry out normal living! An estimated 80% of all headaches occur from muscle tension. Did you know that many tension headaches are related to your bite? This article explains how headaches can result from dental stress and how your denturist might help treat them.
Headaches are our number one pain problem in North America. Approximately 40% of all "healthy" individuals suffer from chronic headaches. Head pain is not new. Early civilizations relied on magical potions and spells to cure headaches. In severe cases, holes were drilled in the skulls of headache sufferers so that the evil spirits which were believed to be the cause of the pain could escape. Over the years we have learned much about what causes headaches and how to treat them. Today, there is a growing realization that a common cause of tension headaches is a bad bite.
Headaches from Dental Stress
How can your bite cause a headache? Tension headaches result from muscle strain, or contraction. When muscles are held tight for long periods of time they begin to ache. Headaches from dental stress are a type of muscle tension headache. A tension headache may be on one or both sides of your head. Or, it may surround your head as if a steel band were wrapped around it. The pain feels like a dull, non-throbbing ache. Tension headaches are usually relieved by aspirin. Specific signs which indicate that the headache may have a dental origin include:
- Pain behind the eyes
- Sore jaw muscles or "tired" muscles upon awakening
- Teeth grinding
- Clicking or popping jaw joints
- Head and/or scalp painful to the touch
The muscles which control your jaw and hold your head upright are very complex. Many people do not realize that every time they swallow, their upper and lower teeth must come together in a firm way to brace the jaw against the skull. We swallow over 2000 times each day and night! If your bite is unstable, as from poorly aligned teeth or even a missing tooth, the muscles must work harder to bring the teeth together. Most people take a vacation from work when they tire out-but your jaw muscles never get a break! The overworked muscles become strained. When muscles are under constant strain, they eventually become painful.
The pain may be felt in the cheeks or the jaw joints. Many times, however, the pain is "referred" to other areas of the head. Referred pain is when a pain originates in a part of the body that differs from the area where it is felt. Even a single tooth can refer pain to the head.
Other muscles may also become involved. Your head is delicately balanced on top of your spinal column by muscles in your jaw, neck, shoulders, and back. Your head weighs approximately 15 pounds the weight of an average bowling ball! Imagine your head as a baseball balanced on top of a pencil by a number of rubber bands. When muscles are tense, they shorten. Now imagine shortening just one of those rubber bands. Some rubber bands would stretch, some would shorten, and the baseball would be thrown off kilter! Similarly, when even a single jaw, neck, or shoulder muscle becomes shortened, all of the other muscles are forced to overwork to keep the head balanced on top of the spinal column. We see then that dental headaches originate from an unstable bite which cause the muscles of the jaw, head, and neck to overwork and become painful. Once the muscles become painful, a vicious cycle begins. The pain makes you feel tense and uptight. This worsens the muscle spasm, which in turn increases the pain.
If you suspect that your headaches might be caused by your bite, contact your dental professional. Your denturist will examine any existing teeth, your muscles, and your jaw joints to determine if dental stress is the source of your headaches. If so, treatment will involve correcting your bite so that the muscles can function without extra strain and tension. In some cases it is helpful to receive other types of treatment, such as physical therapy, along with dental treatment to correct the postural relationship of your head, neck, and shoulders. Counseling or relaxation training might also be helpful to teach you ways to relax the muscles and to identify sources of emotional stress. However, if the true source of the headache is an unstable bite, this must ultimately be corrected to relieve the headaches.
The important aim of correcting your bite is to insure optimal long-term health. If you have any of the symptoms mentioned, discuss them with your dental professional. Your health is your most priceless possession. It is worth the investment!
When Medical Help is Needed
It is important to realize that headaches have many different causes and a wide range of severity. Immediate medical help should be sought for any head pain that leads to: Weakness of an arm or leg Loss of vision Disorientation Loss of consciousness.
ARE YOUR DENTURES LOOSE? What does this mean and how can your denturist help?
The average person is not aware that over time, the continued compression of the tissues under full dentures results in loss of bone and gum tissue volume. The bone that normally supports your natural teeth is not designed to withstand this force, and in response, it resorbs or melts away over time. The results are now loose fitting dentures. Implants stop the resorption process by actually stabilizing the bone to prevent further loss.
Loose dentures are a common problem, especially if you have worn them for a long time. The decision to have new dentures depends not only not only upon the condition of your existing dentures, but more importantly the condition of the supporting tissues. (The average life span of a denture is 5 years!)
The following questions need to be addressed to determine the next best option to implants in an effort to stabilize your dentures:
Are you satisfied with the appearance of your denture teeth?
How worn are they?
Is your bite still functional?
Can you eat and chew properly?
The Government of Alberta has separate coverage for Eligible Seniors based on their yearly income. This plan provides Basic Dental Coverage to a maximum of $5000.00 every five years from the date of your first paid dental procedure. The amount of coverage is based on your previous year’s annual income. You will receive annual correspondence directly from the Government of Alberta about your coverage amount. They do have additional plans that you may enrol in and it is very important to read the fine print of these additional plans to make sure that the additional premiums you pay will get you the coverage you need.
When you turn 65, you must register with the Alberta government for the Seniors Dental Coverage. This does not automatically happen when you fill out the basic pension papers. You must have lived in Alberta for at least three months before applying and be a Canadian citizen, or admitted to Canada for Permanent Residence (Landed Immigrant) as well as an annual income within the thresholds set out by the Government of Alberta.
After initial registration, your eligibility is updated every year based on the taxes you file and is determined as a percent. When you receive your coverage summary from the Government, it states your percent of coverage. This percentage payable is calculated on the government fee guide and approved treatment – not necessarily what the Practitioner gives you. As your Practitioner, we will provide you with a Treatment Plan detailing what procedure we are offering, the Cost, what your Insurance is expected to pay and then what you may have as a personal balance. We can submit the claim to the government on your behalf at the end of all procedures.
The Government of Alberta website has all necessary forms for registering, fee guides of covered services and other information pertaining to Senior’s Benefits from the Government of Alberta.
To contact the Government of Alberta to obtain information and forms for applying please call the toll free Alberta Supports Contact Centre at 1-877-644-9992.
The website address for further information is: www.albertadentalservicecorp.com