There are many good reasons to remove your dentures regularly for cleaning. It can help you avoid pneumonia, swallowing your dentures, and other health problems. But there’s another very important reason to remove your dentures: if left in too long, your gums can actually grow over your dentures, permanently locking them in place.
Dentures Left in for Three Years
The story of the resident in Minnesota comes after they had been in a care facility for three years, and, for most of that time, their dentures weren’t removed. About six months after moving into the facility, the resident was taken to a routine dental appointment on December 9, 2014.
The resident was not taken to another dental appointment for nearly three years, until summer 2017 when the facility realized it didn’t know how long the resident had gone without care. At that appointment, the dentist had to forcibly remove the dentures because the gums had grown over them.
In addition, removing the dentures revealed the presence of a large tumor or other growth on the gums.
How Was This Allowed to Happen?
One of the biggest questions we have about this story is: how this was allowed to happen? Care home patients need regular dental care, and they should get it. This is the point of a care home: to make sure that vulnerable adults who many not be able to care for themselves nonetheless get the care they need. How could a patient go three years not just without a dental visit, but without having their dentures out?
The explanation given by the home and its staff is that there was just too much turnover in the period. The staff member who accompanied the resident to their dental appointment said they believed the individual had a lower “dental transplant,” whatever that means.
When asked, the resident confirmed they were aware that they had removable dentures, but if nobody else knew, they weren’t going to speak up. That’s because they liked having their teeth in and didn’t want them removed.
In response to this incident, the home was fined $5000, and instituted new training and tracking of dental appointments.
Take Care of Your Dentures
Obviously, this is a rare situation that doesn’t come up very often, but there are some valuable takeaways to be had from it. First, remember to remove your dentures regularly. Even if you want to keep them in at night, it’s important to take them out for regular cleaning and soaking.
Second, if you like having your teeth in most of the time, it’s better to get a denture that’s compatible with that choice, such as a hybrid implant denture.
Finally, if you have a loved one in a care facility, you have to check and make sure they’re receiving the proper care they deserve. The staff may not be doing it, especially if there is a significant amount of turnover.
If you want to learn more about high quality dentures, please contact a local FOY ® Dentures dentist today for an appointment.