March 25, 2014

Denture Stomatitis and Fungal Infections

Denture stomatitis is a common disorder affecting denture wearers.  It is characterized as inflammation and redness of the tissues covered by the denture.  It is often asymptomatic; only a minority of sufferers experience pain, itching or burning.  It is primarily identified during a dental examination as the presence of inflammation and swelling under the denture.  It is associated with poor denture fit, increased age of the patient, increased age of the denture, continuous wearing of the denture and poor denture hygiene.  

Bacteria and fungi (primarily Candida Albicans) are likely included.  Patients can see it themselves when their tissues are fiery red under the denture and the redness follows the outline of their denture.  Not removing dentures at night while sleeping allows a biofilm of bacteria to colonize on the inside denture surface without being properly removed.  Treatment of the acute phase requires antifungal medications.  Rapid recurrence of the condition will occur unless the denture is properly disinfected and thereafter a daily denture hygiene regimen of removing the dentures and soaking them in a commercial disinfectant solution or diluted sodium hypochlorite.  Routine follow-up visits to assess that the denture maintains proper fit and function is important in reducing the risk for developing stomatitis.

Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309

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