Dentures & Denture Care
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General information about Dentures
At Family Dental Care, we are able to make a variety of different types of dentures.
Over the many years of providing dental services, we have collected questions patients ask when they are considering replacing teeth and how to best manage the transition. We’ve put together some information about different types and tips that will help you get the most out of your dentures. New dentures can offer people many benefits including the chance to regain their confidence and enable them to eat the foods they enjoy. Getting used to having dentures in your mouth does take time, and you need to get used to it both physically and emotionally. Dentures are a very personal thing; no two people will have exactly the same experience, but some things are common in a lot of denture wearers’ lives.
So what exactly are dentures?
Dentures are an artificial replacement for natural teeth, made of acrylic and resin, special plastics and sometimes lightweight metal, which are designed to look just like the real thing. We can lose our natural teeth for a wide variety of reasons. It could be through injury, decay or gum disease. The need to replace teeth can happen at any age and is definitely NOT restricted to older people.
Types of Dentures
There are a few types of dentures. After a consultation with one of our dentists, they will know your needs and they will let you know which ones are right for you. We can also arrange for you to have immediate dentures.
Full, upper and lower dentures
A set of full dentures are used when all natural teeth need replacing. Upper dentures replace the top row of teeth and lower dentures replace the lower row of teeth. They are made from acrylic and can be designed with your choice of tooth, style and colour.
A partial denture will replace some missing teeth and it is kept in place by the natural remaining teeth and gums. The design will be determined by the health of the remaining teeth as well as the way the teeth touch or bite. They can be made from acrylic with metal clasps that hold the denture in place, or from acrylic with a cast metal (chrome) frame with teeth attached. The clasps and frame are integrated making it stronger, slimmer and easier for the patient to get use to the denture. It is also less prone to breakage.
What are immediate dentures?
Immediate dentures are dentures that are placed immediately after having teeth extracted. This requires planning in advance. An immediate denture may either be a full denture or a partial denture. The denture is manufactured by the prosthetist, and the day it is getting fitted, you come in to our practice, have the teeth removed and go straight to your appointment with the prosthetist and have the denture fitted.
Your gums and tissues need time to heal. Over time the denture will become loose. You will then need to reline your dentures in order for them to properly fit the new contours of the healed mouth.
To reline a denture, new base material is added to the side of the denture that sits up against the skin. This fills in any gaps caused by skin/gum shrinkage to help maintain a proper fit. Relines are mostly needed for immediate dentures but there can be other reasons like weight loss, ageing, disease or illness to have your dentures relined.
What are the benefits and disadvantages of an immediate denture?
The biggest advantage is that the patient does not need to go without teeth while the denture is being made and the denture may act as a Band-Aid to minimise swelling and control bleeding. Immediate dentures can help you eat and speak while your gums are healing.
The disadvantage is that the denture cannot be tried in, in advance.
Denture Advice and Tips
Insertion and removal
The dental prosthetist will show you how to put your dentures in and take them out. Feel free to ask him questions. Make sure you are comfortable with putting them in and taking them out before you leave the clinic. Remember, never use force to get your dentures in or out.
How to make dentures fit comfortably?
Some people who get new dentures, adjust to them straight away with very little concern. However, for most people it can take up to 3-6 months before they start to feel comfortable with their dentures. Using a denture adhesive can help you at this early stage to better adapt to wearing your dentures. Just a small amount, used according to directions, may help block irritating food particles from getting underneath your dentures, which may be responsible for the discomfort. Adhesives can make you feel more confident while eating, speaking and smiling.
Your new denture may feel strange, even if you have worn dentures before. This is normal and happens because your mouth takes time to adapt. First-time denture wearers often say that their dentures are too big, pushing their lips forward. This feeling is completely normal. The mouth is really sensitive and any changes will always feel a little odd but, once your mouth gets used to the dentures, this feeling will get less and less.
To begin with, make sure you are taking small bites of soft foods and chew slowly. Avoid chewy or hard food. If you have natural teeth, try to bite with them rather than the artificial ones. If possible, chew on both sides at the same time.
It will generally take around 2-4 weeks for your gums to settle after first receiving new dentures. As you’re getting used to dentures, feeling a slight soreness during this period is usually normal. If the soreness is severe it may help to remove the denture for at least part of the day. However, please wear the denture for a few hours before your appointment so he can work out where the adjustment is required. Remember, do not adjust or try to repair your dentures. Dentures should be well fitted and comfortable when you chew and your breath should be fresh.
Speaking with dentures
Talking with new dentures needs a little bit of time and patience to get used to. Through practice you’ll soon be chatting, laughing and joining in the conversation with confidence. Practice speaking aloud while you’re wearing your new dentures or partials to identify the words and sounds you need to concentrate on.
Read aloud from a book or magazine in front of a mirror. This will help you feel more relaxed when you’re talking. Before you speak, try biting down and swallowing as it helps set your denture or partials in place.
Caring for your mouth
- Rinse your mouth and the denture with water after each meal before replacing the denture
- Clean your natural teeth (using a separate toothbrush) twice a day using a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
- Remove any denture adhesives left over in your mouth
Traditionally it has been recommended that dentures be kept in a liquid overnight. However, it has been shown that allowing the denture to dry out at night is much more effective in reducing yeast colonisation. Therefore, our dentists advise our patients, after cleaning their dentures, to leave them out to completely dry overnight.
Caring for Dentures
- Food debris and plaque need to be cleaned from all denture surfaces daily
- Clean your dentures using a soft toothbrush and denture cleaning creams or foams. Standard toothpaste is not recommended because it leaves tiny scratches on the surface of the denture. These small scratches attract debris, plaque accumulates and subsequently calculus or tartar grows. These scratches provide areas that bacteria can hide and cause bad odour.
- Clean your dentures with cool or tepid water over a water-filled sink. Hot water may warp a denture. A small washcloth placed in the bottom of the bowl will ensure that your denture isn’t damaged if it falls
- Soak your denture daily for 10 minutes or so in a denture bath, using a denture cleansing tablet, then rinse thoroughly with water
- Do not soak your dentures in hot water or leave them in a hot car
- Do not use bleach on them
Your annual denture check-up
With proper care your dentures should last for many years. However, it is important you still visit our dentists at least once a year to make sure they fit properly. They will not only check your denture and any remaining teeth but also make sure the soft parts of your mouth, such as your tongue and cheeks are healthy too. These are important checks as our dentists can spot any infections, oral cancer or other mouth problems at an early stage. These checks are especially important for people who are, or have ever been, a smoker.