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What is the cause of burning mouth?

Burning mouth usually occurs in individuals over 50, but can affect others as well. There are several reasons why it occurs.

Denture problems: a new denture, or one that doesn't fit well, can irritate your entire mouth.

Reduced salivary gland function: this will cause the mouth to become dry, inviting oral discomfort, difficulty eating or swallowing, loss of taste, and a burning mouth.  Salivary gland dysfunction sometimes comes with age.  But there are saliva substitutes and rinses that can be prescribed to protect your oral tissues, and soothe burning sensations.

Medications: these often dry the mouth (side effects).

Vitamin deficiency: there is some evidence linking burning mouth syndrome to Vitamin B deficiency.

Candida infections: this is a common oral fungus, usually apparent to the eye but sometimes undetectable.  A topical anti-fungal agent can be prescribed that can help the problem.


What problems can occur from dentures? 

Many denture wearers think their dental problems are over when they get their first pair of dentures.  What they soon realize, however, is that they may have traded some old problems for new ones.

Even the best dentures can't compete with natural teeth in ability to chew food efficiently and comfortably.  As the years go by, the supporting ridges that remain after teeth have been removed gradually change and get smaller.

For most patients, their dentures need to be "relined" or "refitted" every 2-4 years so that the denture will conform to the changing ridge.  A large change in weight can also alter the shape of the mouth, causing changes in the fit.


How do lost teeth impact on oral health?

In the past, the loss of teeth was dismissed as a natural part of the aging process and dentures were considered a normal sign of old age.  While such ignorance is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, there is still not a general awareness of the seriousness of edentulism.

Multiple tooth loss is most commonly caused by periodontal disease, i.e. gum and bone disease.  Periodontal disease has a high statistical correlation with chronic debilitating disease, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and arthritis.


Why bother replacing missing teeth with dental implants?

It may be tempting for some seniors to not have a problem having a back molar extracted.  After all, who would ever see it?

The truth is that it will make a difference.  The loss of just a single tooth can set a course that can destroy an entire mouth.  The teeth will drift and tip into a space that is created by missing teeth.  Just like two gears of a car that are not properly aligned, pretty soon you've got a whole lot of problems.

What can be done? One of the options would be a dental implant. This is the replacement of a tooth with a false root that is surgically placed.  Unlike dentures, implants require no special cleaning or refitting.  They are permanent and are taken care of just like all your other teeth.

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