7 Things Everyone with Dentures Needs to Know26 September 2022
Whether you’re considering dentures, have recently had them fitted or have had them for years, it’s always good to know the best techniques to maintain them. Before we begin, let’s look at what dentures actually are and why they are an effective solution if you have suffered from tooth loss. We will then cover absolutely everything you need to know about having dentures, how this can positively impact your life and how best to care for them.
So what are dentures?
Essentially these are false teeth which can be made of acrylic, metal or nylon. They fit over your gums to hide any missing teeth, as well as helping you to eat and talk normally by filling any gaps. Gaps in the teeth can cause the teeth on either side of the gap to shift at an angle, which can potentially lead to further dental issues. In some cases your dentist may advise you that a full set of dentures may be a better solution, therefore replacing your entire set of teeth. There are two categories of dentures. A full set, which replaces either all of your upper or lower teeth, or partial dentures to cover the loss of a low amount of teeth. Fitting comfortably over your gums and jawbone, dentures can help you retain the feeling of normal teeth and reinvigorate your confidence with a whiter and brighter smile.
How and when are dentures fitted?
Over time, dentures will need replacing and so you may find that you need to have new dentures fitted. However if this is your first time wearing dentures, then they are usually fitted straight after teeth have been removed or if you have suffered tooth loss in an accident. In some instances your dentist may advise you that your gums may need time to heal before fitting dentures. In regard to partial dentures, these can often be clipped or fastened to your teeth which you can then remove when needed for cleaning.
So, when would dentures need replacing?
If you have dentures fitted straight after tooth loss, it is normal for the gums and bone to alter in shape as a result of this. Therefore dentures originally moulded for you after tooth loss may need to be realigned or remade after a few months.
As a general rule, even for the highest quality of dentures, they will need to be replaced after a period of around 7-10 years. There are a few tell-tale signs that indicate it’s time for a new set. These include;
1. Your Dentures Feel Loose, Or Are Falling Out
2. You’re Having Difficulty Speaking Clearly
3. Your Dentures Are Causing Discomfort
4. Your Dentures Are Damaged or Discoloured
Who do I need to see about creating dentures?
Your dentist will take measurements or moulds of your mouth, which a dental technician will then create bespoke to you. There is no one size fits all approach to dentures. A clinical dental technician can do the whole process for you, but we would always recommend seeing a dentist too to ensure the full health of your mouth is checked thoroughly.
Do I need to make any changes to my dental hygiene routine?
In short, no. You should continue brushing your teeth, gums and tongue with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, advisably in the morning and evening. You can read our top tips on maintaining your oral hygiene here.
How do I look after dentures once I have them?
How best to look after your dentures depends on what purpose your dentures are being used for, your dentist will normally advise you on the best course of action of when or if to remove your dentures. If you need to wear your dentures all the time, then this would not be applicable for you. However, if you have been advised you do not need to wear your dentures all the time or if you need to remove your dentures before going to sleep (this can help your gums to rest and heal) then we recommend that you keep them moist. Any type of container with water in can do this, but if this is not readily available then use a polythene bag with dampened cotton wool, or a denture cleaning solution. The dentures can dry out and warp in shape if this is not adhered to, which can lead to pain when attaching the dentures and potentially damaging your teeth.
Dentures, just like normal teeth will accumulate plaque and food residue so it is important to ensure you:
1. Brush your dentures as you would your normal teeth, but very softly, before soaking them in a cleaning solution.
2. Ensure you regularly use denture cleaning solutions to remove stains and bacteria.
3. Make sure you do this in a place where dentures are not likely to fall and break, as they can be fragile.
In cases where there has been an accident where your jawline has shrunk significantly you may also be advised to use dental adhesive to ensure your dentures are fixed correctly in your mouth, however normally your dentist will advise you if this is the case. You may find alternatively that your dentures fit more comfortably with adhesive.
In conclusion to taking care of your dentures, your dentures should last several years if you take good care of them. If you find that they no longer fit correctly or that there has been damage to your dentures you should book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible, alongside your regularly scheduled check-ups.
Eating with dentures
If you’re new to dentures and have recently had them fitted, we would recommend eating softer food types that have been cut into small pieces and chew slowly. Avoiding foods or substances such as chewing gum, or foods that are likely to stick to your dentures will prevent any damage. If you follow our earlier blogs then you might have seen our article on what sticky and sugary foods do your teeth, and the same applies to your dentures. Foods that are hard or have sharp edges should also be avoided, as this can potentially damage your dentures. Once you have had your dentures for a while, and have gradually become used to wearing them, you should slowing be more confident in what types of foods you’re comfortable eating, and which ones you should probably avoid.