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How to Care for Dentures

What are Dentures?

Dentures are a type of removable prosthetic device used to replace missing teeth. Commonly referred to as false teeth or artificial teeth, dentures are typically made of acrylic resin or a combination of acrylic resin and other materials including porcelain or metal.

Dentures aftercare tips

Types of Dentures

There are two main types of dentures: full dentures and partial dentures.

  • Full dentures, also known as complete dentures, are used to replace all of the natural teeth in an arch (either the upper jaw or the lower jaw). They consist of a set of artificial teeth mounted on a gum-colored base made of acrylic resin. The base of the denture is held in place by suction or a small amount of denture adhesive.
  • Partial dentures, on the other hand, are used to replace only a segment of the natural teeth in an arch. They consist of a set of artificial teeth mounted on a gum-colored base, with metal clasps that attach to the remaining natural teeth for stability. Partial dentures can be removed for cleaning and maintenance.

Why Denture Care is Important

Approximately 10% of people aged 65 or older in the United States wear dentures. Following proper denture aftercare guidelines is an important part of maintaining your oral health, along with protecting the investment of your new natural tooth alternatives. While dentures may take some getting used to, keeping them in good shape and avoiding common problems such as irritation, staining, and bad breath is not difficult.

Differences Between Dentures and Natural Teeth

Dentures are not the same as natural teeth. Dentures are made from acrylic resin or a combination of acrylic and metal, resting on the gums in place of missing teeth. Because dentures are not living tissue, they do not require the same care as natural teeth. Dentures are not immune to regular cleaning, however, as it’s essential to remove bacteria and food particles while preventing staining and bad breath.

6 Must-Know Denture Care Tips

Follow these steps to keep your dentures clean and healthy while avoiding common problems.

1. Clean Dentures Daily

Just like natural teeth, dentures need to be brushed daily to remove food particles and bacteria. When brushing use a soft-bristled toothbrush or denture brush to gently scrub the surface of the dentures, being careful not to damage the plastic or bend the metal attachments. You can use toothpaste specifically designed for dentures, or a mild hand soap or dish detergent. Avoid using toothpaste with abrasive particles, so as not to scratch the surface of the dentures.

2. Soak Dentures Overnight

Dentures should be soaked in a denture-cleaning solution or warm water every night. This helps to keep the dentures clean and prevent them from drying out and becoming brittle. Be sure to use a cleaning solution specifically designed for soaking dentures, and follow the manufacturer's instructions for the recommended soaking time. You can also use white vinegar or mouthwash as a soaking solution, but avoid using bleach.

3. Rinse Dentures After Eating

After eating, it's important to rinse your dentures thoroughly to remove food particles and bacteria. Rinsing helps prevent staining and bad breath. Be sure to use nothing warmer than lukewarm water when rinsing, as hot water can dentures to warp and lose their shape.

4. Handle Dentures Carefully

Dentures are delicate and can break easily if dropped or mishandled. When handling your dentures, hold them over a soft surface, such as a towel or a sink filled with water to be safe.

5. Visit the Dentist Regularly

It's important to visit your dentist for regular check-ups, even if you have dentures. Your dentist will check how your dentures are fitting and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that they are comfortable and functioning properly. Your dentist can also help to identify any problems, such as staining, wear, or damage, and recommend the best course of action to restore your dentures.

6. Avoid Certain Foods

While wearing dentures, you should avoid foods that make chewing difficult or cause the dentures to come loose. These foods include sticky or chewy foods, such as caramel or gum, and hard or crunchy foods, such as nuts or popcorn. It's also a good idea to avoid foods that are very hot or very cold, as these can cause the dentures to expand or contract, leading to potential discomfort.

Partial vs. Full Denture Care Differences

For partial dentures, it is important to brush the natural teeth, gums, and partial dentures daily to remove plaque and food particles. A soft-bristled toothbrush and a non-abrasive cleaner are recommended. The partial dentures should be removed at night and soaked in a denture-soaking solution to kill bacteria and be freshened for the next day. Any natural teeth should also be brushed and flossed as usual to maintain oral hygiene.

Full dentures should also be brushed daily to remove plaque and food particles, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a non-abrasive cleaner. In addition, the gums and tongue should be cleaned to stimulate circulation and remove plaque. Full dentures, much like partial dentures, need to be soaked in a denture solution. Give your gums time to rest at night by not wearing dentures.

Frequently Asked Questions on Denture Care

How do I take care of dentures?

  1. Brush daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive cleaner
  2. Rinse thoroughly after eating
  3. Soak in a denture-soaking solution overnight
  4. Handle with care and store in a safe place
  5. Avoid using hot water or harsh cleaners
  6. Schedule regular dental check-ups
  7. Contact your dentist for adjustments or repairs if needed
  8. Maintain good oral hygiene

What should I soak my dentures in at night?

Dentures should be soaked overnight in a denture solution to kill bacteria and freshen the appliance for the next day. Commercial solutions such as Polident and Efferdent are recommended. Alternatively, warm water with a mild detergent or white vinegar can be used. It is important to rinse the dentures thoroughly before wearing them. Follow the instructions on the product label for recommended soaking time and concentration.

Do you soak dentures in hot or cold water?

If you do choose to soak your dentures in a water-mixed solution, avoid using any water hotter than lukewarm. Hot can cause your dentures to warp and become misshapen, making them uncomfortable. Cold water is acceptable, as it prevents warping.

How long can you leave dentures in water?

You can leave your dentures in water for as long as you’d like. Nothing extreme such as several weeks of the course. It is wise to store your dentures in a denture-soaking solution or a water mix solution overnight to remove any bacteria buildup and replace the solution each night.

How many hours a day should I wear my dentures?

Dentures need to be worn for at least 8 hours a day. This is to allow your gums and jawbone time to adjust to your new teeth and prevent any sore spots. Be sure to take your dentures out at night and soak them in an appropriate solution for cleaning.

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