Dentures allow those individuals who have lost all of their natural teeth due to gum disease, tooth decay or injury to replace their smile. The following information outlines the process of obtaining and caring for dentures.
What are the benefits of getting dentures?
In addition to benefiting your appearance, dentures provide support for cheeks and lips, which reduces sagging of the facial muscles. They also allow you to eat and speak—two skills that are hindered by the loss of natural teeth.
What are the different types of dentures?
There are two different types of full dentures: conventional and immediate. Conventional full dentures are made and placed in the mouth after all remaining natural teeth are removed and tissues are healed, a process that may take several months. Immediate full dentures are placed immediately after remaining teeth are removed so that the patient does not have to be without teeth during the healing process.
What is an overdenture?
An overdenture is a removable denture that fits over remaining teeth. If you have a small number of sound, remaining teeth, your dentist can determine if you are a good candidate for an overdenture. If you and your dentist decide an overdenture is right for you, the natural teeth will be prepared to provide support and stability for the denture.
What might I experience with my new dentures?
In the first few weeks with your new dentures, you may experience any of the following:
- Minor irritation.
- Increased salivary flow.
- A loose feeling that occurs until muscles adapt to holding dentures in place.
Problems will diminish as you become used to the dentures. See your dentist if the problems do not cease.
How will dentures affect my eating and speaking?
Although you may experience some difficulty eating and speaking with your new dentures, patience and practice will get you back into your normal routines.
Avoid raw vegetables, fibrous meats and sticky foods for the first few months with your new dentures, and cut your food into small pieces. Gradually add foods, starting with soft foods, until you return to your normal diet.
Practice speaking by reading slowly out-loud. This will help you adapt to pronouncing difficult sounds and words with the dentures. If dentures slip out of place, reposition them by biting down and swallowing.
How long do I wear my dentures?
In the first few days, your dentist may instruct you to wear them during the day and throughout the night. As you adjust to your dentures, your dentist will indicate how long dentures should be kept in place and may instruct you remove them before bed to provide resting time for the gum tissue.
Should I use a denture adhesive?
Dentures are designed to fit securely; however, your dentist might recommend using an adhesive to help you during the adaptation period. Prolonged use of denture adhesives is not recommended, but adhesives may be used temporarily to aid a loose-fitting denture. See your dentist if you experience a loose denture.
How do I care for my dentures?
Brush and clean dentures daily to remove food deposits and plaque. This also helps reduce permanent stains. Use a brush specifically made for dentures or a soft-bristled brush. Brushes with hard bristles may damage the dentures. You may use a mild hand or dishwashing soap, or your dentist may suggest a denture cleanser.
Be sure dentures do not dry out in storage. Place dentures in water or a soaking solution when you are not wearing them so that they maintain their shape. Never use warm water to soak your dentures.
Dentures are very delicate and can be easily broken. Protect your dentures when handling them by standing over a folded towel or a water-filled sink.
What do I do if my denture is damaged?
If your denture is damaged, do not try to repair it. Adjustments made to dentures by untrained individuals may cause greater damage and may lead to oral-health problems. See your dentist if your dentures crack or break, or if teeth become loose. Most repairs can be done right in the dentist's office, so you won’t need to spend days without your dentures.
Will I need to replace my dentures?
Dentures that do not fit properly may cause oral health problems. Therefore, it may be necessary to replace worn or poorly fitting dentures as the mouth and jaws change with age. Before replacement is necessary, dentures may need to be relined. This involves putting new material on the denture base that conforms to your mouth.
How do I care for my mouth when I have dentures?
It is essential that you take good care of your mouth when wearing dentures. Before inserting dentures, brush your gums, tongue and palate with a soft-bristled brush. This will remove plaque and help the circulation in the mouth tissue.
Are regular dentists visit necessary when I have dentures?
Absolutely. Regular visits to the dentist are just as important for people with dentures as they are for people with natural teeth. Although you have lost your teeth, the mouth is still subject to diseases such as oral cancer. At these regular examinations, your dentist also will check to see that your dentures continue to fit well and recommend adjustments as needed. Ask your dentist how often you should have checkups.
Academy of General Dentistry: Dentures
Denture Adhesives: Do They Work? Do You Need Them?
Simple Steps to Better Dental Health: Dentures