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Caring For Your Dentures

Residual foods should be removed from dentures after each meal and the mouth should be thoroughly rinsed. Such procedure will help eliminate “denture breath” caused by decomposing foodstuffs and stagnant saliva. Food retained between the denture base and the oral tissues does not contribute to stability of the denture and may result in an inflammatory condition of soft tissues. This also helps keep the dentures from becoming permanently stained.

Dentures should be handled carefully! Dropping them can break the denture base or a tooth. When cleaning or inserting your dentures, hold them over a towel or a basin half-filled with water. The lower denture should be held on one side only to avoid a midline fracture due to squeezing the denture. In addition, always keep your dentures out of reach of children or pets.

Dentures made of acrylic resin should be placed in water or a denture cleaning solution when not in the mouth since acrylic resin dentures have slight tendency to slight dimensional changes when allowed to dry. Dentures should be safely stored in covered plastic containers especially designed to store dentures during periods of tissue recovery, out of the reach of curious or inquisitive persons or pets.

Before brushing your dentures, rinse them well to remove any loose particles. Brush thoroughly but carefully. Scrubbing too hard can damage the plastic parts of the denture or bend metal clasps.

Never use bleach on your dentures!

Never put dentures in hot water, they can warp.

If your dentures break, crack or chip, or if a denture tooth becomes loose call us immediately. We can usually repair your dentures, but try to save broken pieces.
Do not attempt to do repairs yourself!

Denture Facts

A new denture will not last forever, and if old dentures are much over 7 years, the mouth and face will have changed in ways which will make it more difficult to build satisfactory new ones. What happens over the course of a number of years, is that the dentures slowly disappear under the lip, and upper and lower dentures began to fit together differently bringing lower jaw forward, and in some cases making it possible to bite only on the front denture teeth. This happens because the bone that used to support the dentures is slowly reabsorbed by the body allowing the top denture to sit higher and higher under the top lip, and the lower to drift ever lower below the bottom lip reducing the distance between the nose and the tip of the chin. If this condition is allowed to persist for too long, the shape of the face actually changes to accommodate the new conditions. Deep diagonal lines forming between the corners of the lips and the chin begin to be noticeable. The lips flatten, and the mouth starts to resemble a thin “slit”.

The muscles that allow one to chew shorten drastically, and even if the denturist tries hard to build new dentures that restore the length of face, and the shape of mouth, it is possible that one might not be able to tolerate dentures without constantly clenching on them causing headaches and constant sore spots. If, on the other hand, dentures are replaced every 5 to 7 years, with regular maintenance during those years, denturist can usually restore the length of the face and the shape of the mouth because the new dentures will be only a little “large” than the old ones.

If loose dentures are worn long enough, the body will tend to slowly build more and more soft flabby gum tissue to fill the spaces between the denture base and the underlying bone. Eventually, it might even get to the point where the space between the bone and the denture is completely filled with this flabby tissue. This may seem like a good thing, but the denture moves around on all that flabby tissue like it was sitting on Jell-O. Even if new dentures are made, the flabby tissue that covers the bone will cause the denture to lack desirable stability. If this becomes a major problem, the soft tissue can be surgically removed and the ridge of bone surgically altered to create better supporting structures. The problem of flabby tissue can be avoided altogether by having your dentures relined every two years. This procedure keeps the denture well adapted to the bony ridge and does not give the body enough time to build the redundant tissue in the spaces between the bone and the denture base.

Lower dentures can be very hard to wear. Many people with upper and lower dentures often wear only the upper on a routine basis, since uppers are retained with at least degree of suction. Lower dentures are the real challenge, since they are retained mostly by the muscles of the lips and cheeks, and the tongue. Fortunately, now there is a way to stabilize the lower denture by fabricating implant supported or implant retained dentures.

Many people stop going to their denturist after dentures are fitted. Some people mistakenly believe that complete dentures mean the end to oral problems and that original dentures should last forever. Nothing is further from the truth and expectations of this nature must be corrected. Regular check-ups are still the best insurance that your mouth is healthy. Clinical experience shows that dentures need regular attention for maintenance purposes. The denture base material may discolor or deteriorate, whereas artificial teeth can also discolor, fracture, or became abraded. Aging dentures can not adapt to irreversible change in the tissues supporting the dentures. This reality can have devastating consequences that are often invisible and imperceptible to the wearer of a worn-out-denture. Neglecting to have regular check-ups could seriously harm the tissues of the mouth. Wearing dentures without routine maintenance will affect the appearance and comfort of new prostheses. The relining, remaking, or occlusal correction of dentures is necessary whenever tissue changes that promote instability of the dentures have occurred. A denturist is trained to detect these changes and correct them early when treatment is less expensive and less troublesome. A denturist will also observe tissues for signs of oral cancer. Nearly half of the oral cancers diagnosed in North America occur in people that have dentures. An annual examination can prevent many problems.

Some people use denture adhesives, such as powders or pastes. Adhesives can be useful in keeping dentures from slipping or falling out. However, they should not be used to compensate for poorly fitting dentures! Ill-fitting dentures may need a realigned or need to be replaced.

Some commercial firms employ the media of television, radio, and newspapers and other periodicals to advertise services or products for patients who have complete dentures. For the most part, this bombardment of advertising directed toward correcting the ills of faulty dentures. The advertising is legal but is an injustice to many denture wearers, since it not only suggests usually unattainable results but also delays many people from seeking the advice of a denturist. Another source of misinformation to the person with dentures is a fellow denture wearer. The experiences of one person relayed to another person and are represented as the gospel. But each person has individual problems and what applies to one will not necessarily apply to another. One should be warned about miracle fix-its and should seek advice about dentures only from a dental professional.

Never adjust your denture yourself; a minor alteration might be very expensive to correct.

Efficient use of dentures is a learned process. Getting used to a new denture, whether it is first denture or a replacement, takes time and perseverance. Training in use of new dentures is primarily directed to chewing and speech. It is not uncommon to experience discomfort due to soreness after initial placement of dentures. Because of soreness, adjustment of dentures may be required within the first two weeks of use. Under no circumstances should one attempt to adjust the dentures themselves.

Dentures should be removed from the mouth for a minimum of six to eight hours a day to allow the supporting tissues to rest. Most patients find the most convenient time to do so is during the night. If sleeping without the dentures causes either temporomandibular joint (TMJ) discomfort or muscular discomfort, provisions should be made for several short periods of tissue recovery during the day.

Understanding Dentures

Initial sensations

When you first begin to wear your dentures, they may feel loose. Until you have learned to keep them in place with the muscles of your cheeks and tongue, they may tip when you chew, allowing food or liquids to pass under them.

No matter how thin the dentures are, they will feel bulky. They may make your tongue feel crowded or may cause a slight gagging sensation. Until your gum ridges are used to supporting dentures, your mouth may feel sore or irritated. Your saliva flow may also increase temporarily.

After a few weeks, as your oral tissues became adjusted to wearing dentures, these problems should decrease. If you continue to experience irritation or excessive soreness in any area, you should see us.

Appearance

When you first get dentures, you facial expression may seem different. A more normal expression will return when the muscles of your cheeks and lips adapt to the dentures.

Dentures may improve your appearance by changing the shape of your face, and reducing facial creases.

Eating

When you are first learning to use your dentures, it is best to eat soft foods. Cut your food into small pieces and chew slowly on both sides with your back teeth to keep your dentures from tipping. After a few days, when your dentures are feeling more comfortable try coarser and harder foods until you are able to eat a more normal diet. Complete denture wearers should deny themselves the natural habit of biting with the front teeth. Biting in the canine (eyetooth) region is preferable to biting with front teeth.

Learning to chew with dentures takes practice!

Speaking

Sometimes, wearing dentures can make a difference in the way you pronounce certain words. To help overcome any difficulties, practice reading aloud.

At first, you may find that your dentures become loose when you laugh, cough, or even smile. To reposition them, close your teeth together gently and swallow.

When to wear your dentures

You should always take your dentures out before bed at night, and put them back in the morning. This gives your mouth a chance to rest and helps maintain oral health.

Caring for your mouth

Even with dentures, you still need to take care of your mouth. Each day before inserting your denture, brush your gums, tongue, and palate with soft-bristled brush, to remove plaque and to stimulate circulation.

Visit your denturist regularly for a complete oral examination. Besides checking your dentures, we will check for signs of oral cancer, and examine your gums ridges, tongue, palate and jaw joints (TMJ).

Long-term denture success

Although your dentures (if cared for properly) will keep their shape, your mouth continues to change. The bone and gum ridges that support your dentures can recede or shrink. If ridge shrinkage occurs, your denture will begin to feel loose and less stable, and your ability to chew will decrease.

Prolonged use of ill fitting dentures can irritate the gums, tongue and cheeks and cause the ridges of the mouth to shrink to the point where it will be almost impossible to fit them with normal dentures.

To prevent or correct these problems, you should see your denturist regularly.

Your success in wearing dentures depends on you! With a positive attitude, persistence and regular check-ups, you can become one of the millions of people who wear dentures successfully.

Use of Adhesive

Denture adhesive are commercially available, nontoxic, soluble material (powder, cream, or liquid) that is applied to the tissue surface of the denture to enhance denture retention, stability, and performance. The choice between cream and powder is largely subjective. Powder formulations, as a rule, do not confer the same degree of “hold”, nor do their effects last as long, in comparison with comparable cream formulation. However, powders can be used in smaller quantities, are generally easier to clean out of dentures and off tissues, and are not perceived as “messy”. Furthermore, the initial “hold” for powders is achieved sooner than it is with cream formulation.

One should never try to improve denture fit and comfort by using home reline kits, home repair kits, paper or cloth pads, or other self-applied “cushions”, many of which have been linked with incidents of serious soft tissue damage, alteration of occlusion (biting) relations, and exacerbated bone distraction.

Denture adhesive are indicated when well-made complete dentures do not satisfy a person’s perceived retention and stability expectations. It must be emphasized that a denture adhesive is not indicated for the retention of improperly fabricated or poorly fitting prostheses.

Denture adhesives merely reduce the amount of lateral movements that dentures, even well-fitting dentures, undergo while in contact with tissues. Admittedly, this benefit can mislead a person into ignoring his or hers need for professional help when dentures actually become ill fitting. Discomfort will not be resolved by placing a “cushioning layer“ of adhesive under the denture. In fact, pain or soreness signals a need for professional management. A gradual increase in the quantity of adhesive required for acceptable fit of the dentures is also a clear signal to seek professional care. In all cases, denture wearers need to have regular check-ups for oral soft tissues evaluation and prosthesis assessment. Also he or she needs to be able to recognize warning signs that should alert them to seek professional attention between the check-ups.

Useful links

In addition to our own website, there are other sites on the Web that provide interesting and helpful dental information. Because we are committed to improving the oral healthcare knowledge of our patients, we are providing the following selection of links to other sites you might find interesting and informative.

If you have a suggestion for a new link, please send us an email, as we are always looking for good resources to pass to our valued patients and visitors to our website. We hope you find these sites helpful!

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