Dr. Frank Vascimini, Sound Bites, 7/8/14

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Denture list, biopsy and second opinions

By Dr. Frank Vascimini

Q: I am a 68-year-old woman who has been wearing dentures for the past 38 years. I have been to one of the local surgeons seeking out the possibility of having implants. 

After speaking with my medical doctor, he told me that due to some medical problems I would be unable to have implants. 

What alternatives do I have? My biggest problem is the looseness of the lower denture, as well as continual sores all along my gums. My bite is also off and, cosmetically, my chin protrudes forward. Please advise.

A: Because you cannot have implants, that really only leaves us with making a new set of dentures that address your specific set of problems. I would suggest you make a list of things you would like to see different and bring that to your dentist. He or she should be able to tell you which of your requests are possible and which are not. 

One specific suggestion I can make is that it would be a good idea to have a soft reline done on the lower denture. A soft reline is a soft, pliable material that will act somewhat like a shock absorber. It can also help hold the denture in better for a few reasons. I have seen this work for many patients. 

As for some of the other things you have mentioned, there are things that can be done to address them. One of the most important things is the list I suggested before. I have found that if the dentist knows up front what the goals of the patient are, there is a very good chance that they are all met unless they are unrealistic. If they are unrealistic, both you and the dentist at least have the opportunity to discuss them before anything is done. 

Q: I have just returned from my dentist and we have been watching an area on the roof of my mouth for the past four months. My doctor said it is a growth of bone that some people have not only on the top but also on the bottom. The problem is that the tissue that covers it is very white and has been so for a while now. My dentist suggested that I go to an oral surgeon for a biopsy. I am hesitant to do this. What do you think?

A: I think that you should go to the oral surgeon and have a biopsy performed. If it comes out negative, everyone has peace of mind. If is positive you have probably caught it early in which case the chance of cure is better.

Q: My husband and I just moved here from Michigan where we went to the dentist regularly. We made an appointment with a dentist here and were surprised to hear that we needed what he called a deep scaling. 

What this new dentist is saying makes sense, but we are skeptical because we both followed what we were told by our old dentist. Can you shed some light on this for us? Thank you.

A: Thank you for writing to me with this question. This is not an uncommon occurrence when you go to a new dentist. Some dentists pay more attention to periodontal disease than others. 

What I would suggest you do is look for a periodontist (a dentist that specializes in the health of the gums and supporting bone) and get a second opinion. Your new dentist should be happy to make a copy of your X-rays for you. 

If the stories concur, you can choose who you will have the treatment with. It is not uncommon for a general dentist to perform deep scaling in their office.

Dr. Frank Vascimini is a dentist practicing in Homosassa. Send your questions to 4805 S. Suncoast Blvd., Homosassa, FL 34446 or email them to him at info@MasterpieceDentalStudio.com.