Taking care of your dentures requires more than dropping them in a glass of water at night, so ask your dentist for any tips about caring for your specific dentures. However, some care instructions are generalized.
Even if you use an ultrasonic cleaner that dislodges food with sound waves, gently brush daily with a soft-bristled brush made specifically for dentures to remove food and plaque. This also helps prevent permanent stains. Hard-bristled brushes can damage dentures.
Be sure to rinse your dentures after every meal. If you wear partial dentures, remove and clean them before you clean your natural teeth.
Detailed Guide for Denture Cleaning
Rinse the denture/partial and brush away plaque and food debris regularly (once to twice a day). Place denture/partial into container of cleaning solution to continue the cleansing and disinfection process. Denture tablets for soaking are available at many stores and any brand will work, does not have to be expensive. (follow directions on container)
CAUTION: Dentures/Partials may be slippery and can fall onto a hard surface and break the pink acrylic and / or the denture teeth. Always clean dentures over a soft towel or over the sink with the basin half full of water.
CAUTION: Using a stiff or hard bristle brush on the denture can wear grooves in the acrylic and over time may cause the dentures to fit poorly. Be sure to use a soft bristle denture brush and wet the brush in warm water to soften the bristles prior to use.
While denture is soaking, use a dampened washcloth or very soft toothbrush, dampened with warm water (or salt water solution) to wipe the inside of the mouth. Making sure to wipe the ridges (where dentures sit), tongue, lips, cheeks and roof of the mouth. If you wear a partial, use a soft toothbrush and make sure to clean all the teeth and tissues in your mouth thoroughly. This should be done at least once or twice each day.
After denture/partial soaking, remove from solution. Using a moistened denture brush or regular soft bristled toothbrush with toothpaste, gently clean inside of denture, outside of denture and teeth. Use a mouthwash to give fresh taste and clean feeling.
Next, thoroughly rinse the denture/partial with water and re-insert into the mouth.
At night, it is recommended that you remove the denture/partial. This allows the tissue to breathe and heal by removing the pressure that is placed on the gums and tissues. Dentures/partials should be kept in water or mouthwash when out of the mouth to prevent drying out of the materials, which can cause distortion. If you are uncomfortable leaving them out at night, making sure to keep the mouth and denture/partial extremely clean is very important in maintaining healthy tissue.
Remember that the gum tissue is in constant state of change, but the dentures are not. Over time your dentures may loosen and need to be professionally adjusted or relined. Have a dentist check your dentures annually, as well as having an oral cancer screening examination.
Even with full dentures, it is important to brush your gums, tongue, and palate with a soft-bristled brush every morning before putting the dentures in. This removes plaque and stimulates circulation in the mouth. Pay special attention to cleaning teeth that fit under the denture’s metal clasps. Plaque that becomes trapped under the clasps will increase the risk of tooth decay.
If you wear a partial denture, be sure to remove it before brushing natural teeth.
Clean, rest, and massage your gums regularly.
Rinsing your mouth daily with lukewarm salt water will help clean the gums.
Eat a balanced diet to maintain proper nutrition and a healthy mouth.
Seeing Your Dentist
If you have dentures, your dentist or prosthodontist will advise you about how often to visit, but every six months should be the norm. Regular dental visits are important so that your dentures and your mouth can be examined to ensure proper denture fit, to look for signs of oral diseases including cancer, and to have teeth professionally cleaned.
Proper use and care of your dentures will help you to eat and speak with ease and look your best. Follow your dentist’s instructions and keep up with your cleaning routine.
Please share your experience or thoughts on denture care in the comments section below.
Deciding on and getting dentures can be a complicated, long process. Much depends on the current state of your teeth, so it’s a decision best made in consultation with your dentist. But, there are things you should know about opting for dentures before you make your choice.
“Getting and caring for dentures must really be done on a patient-by-patient basis,” says dentist Hadie Rifai, DDS. “There are many things that can be generalized for almost all dentures, but, overall, there really needs to be a dentist evaluation of the specific patient.”
In any situation, he says, you’ll be best served with an assessment by a general dentist or a prosthodontist – a specialist in dental prosthetics.
Why Would You Need Dentures?
According to Dr. Rifai, you should consider dentures mainly under two circumstances – periodontal disease (also called gingivitis) or extensive dental cavities.
In periodontal disease, the bone loss in the jaw is so extensive that teeth can’t be saved and are usually very loose. With dental cavities, the teeth are already so badly decayed that they must be extracted.
How to Choose Your Dentist
When it comes to selecting a dentist to examine your teeth and potentially fit you for dentures, you must be selective, Dr. Rifai says. Concentrate on four main aspects.
Experience: Choose someone who makes dentures as part of his or her regular practice.
Prosthodontist: This type of specialist goes through an additional three years of training in dental prosthetics. He or she will be well-versed in removable prosthetics, meaning your dentures will likely fit better and feel more comfortable.
Convenient location: Getting dentures isn’t a one-appointment process. It can take several visits to make the dentures, and you’ll need regular follow-up. Expect sore spots and needed adjustments during the first few weeks.
Cost: Don’t price shop and choose the lowest cost for your dentures. Well-made dentures can cost more than $2,000 per arch. Some dental offices advertise dentures for only a few hundred dollars, but those are typically poorly made and won’t fit properly, leading to sores and discomfort.
Pros and Cons of Dentures
As with nearly any dental procedure, there are positives and negatives to deciding to get dentures. Consider these points when making your choice:
If you’re missing some or all of your teeth, dentures can be a more affordable way to replace them instead of choosing implants.
In some cases, they can be more attractive and aesthetically pleasing than your natural teeth were or are.
And, if built and fitted correctly, they can improve cheek and lip support for a more pleasing profile.
Even though dentures can’t get cavities, they can still present challenges to daily life.
Chewing food isn’t as easy with dentures. In fact, dentures typically have 75 percent less chewing ability than natural teeth.
Frequently, patients who wear dentures complain they can’t taste food as well.
And, your first denture set won’t be your last – you typically replace them every five years.
Whether you’re considering dentures or recently acquired them, there’s a lot of information you’ll need to get from your dentist.
Here’s a list of questions to help make sure you get the answers you need.
Questions For Before You Get Dentures:
Are there different types of dentures? If so, what kinds are there? How do I know what kind I need?
Are there any advantages if I keep some of my teeth?
What will dentures feel like?
Will I be able to eat and drink the same foods and beverages I enjoy now?
Will foods and drinks taste differently?
Are there any foods I should avoid to prevent damaging my dentures?
Will I look different with dentures?
Will dentures hurt?
Will dentures affect my speech?
How long should I wear my dentures each day?
Are dentures easily breakable?
How much do dentures cost?
Questions For After You Get Dentures
How do I take care of my mouth now that I have dentures?
How do I clean my dentures?
Do I need to do anything special to take care of my dentures?
Will my dentures ever need to be replaced?
How often should I visit the dentist now that I have dentures?
My dentures don’t seem to fit my mouth very well anymore. Why?
Can I adjust my dentures myself?
Should I use a denture adhesive?
How much denture adhesive should I use?
What’s the proper way to apply denture adhesive?
Your First 30 Days Adjusting to Dentures
Day 1: Start by eating soft foods like mashed potatoes, puddings, and ice cream that are gentle on your gums. Many first-time denture wearers say eating soft foods that are gentle on your gums and teeth make the adjustment to dentures easier.
Day 2 to 14: Your mouth is adjusting to the new dentures; you will likely experience increased salivation. You might also experience sore spots in your mouth from the dentures. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water might help. If soreness persists, return to your dentist for an adjustment. Expect a longer denture adjustment and healing time if you recently had teeth extracted or are a full-plate wearer.
Day 15 to 29: You’re learning to talk and eat all over again, and the good news is that salivation and sore spots have lessened. This is the best time to start using a denture adhesive to improve the fit and feel of your dentures. Using a good quality adhesive such as Fixodent® will improve your confidence while eating and immediately improve the fit of your dentures.
Day 30: After about 30 days of denture wearing, you should be able to enjoy most of your favorite activities confidently. Remember to visit your prosthodontist on a regular basis to have your dentures checked. A denture replacement is usually recommended every 5 to 10 years.
At Any Point: If you’re continuing to experience discomfort during this 30-day adjustment period, please see your dentist, who can check the fit of your dentures. Expect a longer denture adjustment and healing time if you recently had teeth extracted or are a full-plate wearer.
A number of problems can arise with your dentures at any time during you adjustment period, and you should always consult your dentist if they do not improve.
Ill-fitting dentures. If your dentures don’t stay in place and fall or excessively move around your mouth, they can cause pain or inflammation in the gum tissue. An improper fit also means food can get trapped between the gums and dentures, leading to a potential fungal infection.
Pain. Discomfort and pain are quite common during the first days after post-denture delivery. Give yourself time to adjust to wearing, inserting and removing them.
Bad breath. If you don’t properly clean your dentures, they can develop a foul odor.
Helpful Videos For New Denture Wearers
Note: These videos are a little fuzzy and are produced by Fixodent, but compared to other videos I screened, I found them to be a helpful and realistic source for a new denture wearer. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.
Eating With Dentures
One of the things you probably look forward to the most about getting dentures is enjoying foods you love, such as steak, corn on the cob, and gooey frozen deserts.
But new denture wearers can find the journey back to eating steak frustrating. Biting and chewing often feel different than before. And the fear of having your dentures slip during a meal can be enough to keep you away from restaurants altogether.
Before you turn down that invitation to all-you-can-eat-ribs night, try these tips for eating with full or partial dentures. With a little practice eating with dentures, and with patience, you should be able to enjoy almost any food you like.
Don’t panic if you feel that food has “lost its flavor.” Right now, your mind is receiving strong signals from your mouth about your dentures, which overpower the messages from your taste buds. After you get accustomed to dentures, your mind will find a better balance and your sense of taste will improve.
As you adjust to new dentures, you might have trouble sensing hot foods and drinks. This is common. But be careful; you don’t want to burn your mouth.
Start with soft foods. Some good examples are eggs, fish, chopped meat, cooked vegetables, and puddings. As you gain more experience and confidence with dentures, try eating chewier foods, such as steak or celery.
Ease back into eating the foods you love with small quantities cut into smaller pieces.
If you’re planning to enjoy foods such as corn on the cob, which require more biting force, consider using a bit of denture adhesive to help your dentures feel more secure. Denture adhesives such asFixodent® can also help protect your mouth against dentures’ two hidden enemies, food particles and bacteria, that can cause bad breath.
When you put food in your mouth, chew half of it on the back-left side of your mouth and the other half on the back-right side. This will even out the pressure on your dentures.
Speaking With Dentures
If you’re new to dentures, you might wonder why something as simple as speaking seems so difficult and awkward. You also might be concerned that changes in your voice and speech will make your dentures more noticeable to others.
Adjusting to dentures means that, in time and with some practice, you will be able to speak clearly. At first your voice may sound odd because the sound reaches your ears through vibrations in the bones of the jaw and skull. Wearing dentures changes and increases the sound, but only you will notice this.
Here are the top tips for learning to talk with dentures:
Practice reading aloud with your dentures in to get used to saying common words and to give you an idea of how fast you can speak with ease.
These solutions to common concerns below will help you on your way to speaking confidently with your dentures:
Why are my dentures clicking when I talk?
Speak more slowly if you feel your dentures “click.” At first, the muscles in your lips, cheeks, and tongue will try to “kick out” your dentures, but in time they will adjust to them and help keep them in place.
Why am I having trouble pronouncing my S’s and F’s?
It takes time for your muscles to adapt to dentures, so practice speaking words that you have difficulty enunciating. Your pronunciation will improve over time as it becomes more natural for the muscles in your mouth.
Do I sound different to my friends?
At first, you may find pronouncing certain words requires practice, but reading out loud and repeating troublesome words helps. Dentures seldom interfere with speech, but you might feel like others are looking for a speech defect.
Let’s speak frankly about this. With your dentures, you’ll have to adjust to a new situation, but with a good adhesive and little practice, you’ll soon have the power to speak with confidence.
Using a Cream Adhesive
To apply adhesive:
1) Clean & Dry Dentures
2) Apply Adhesives in thin strips as shown above
3) Insert Dentures and hold briefly in place
DO NOT use more product than shown in diagram (for full dentures, not more than 6 strips or about 3 inches total length). If product oozes off denture in your mouth, you are using too much.
DO NOT use product more than once a day.
DO NOT use excess product for poorly fitting dentures.
Consult your dentist regularly to ensure you have properly fitting dentures. Poorly fitting dentures may impair your health.
Using a Powder Adhesive:
1) Clean dentures
2) Wet dentures
3) Apply powder in thin layer as shown on the bottle or carton
4) Shake off all loose powder
5) Insert Dentures and hold briefly in place
DO NOT use more than 1/4 teaspoon. Shake off excess. If powder comes off denture in your mouth you are using too much.
DO NOT use more than once a day. With proper use this bottle should last at least 9 to 10 weeks.
DO NOT use excess powder for poorly fitting dentures.
Consult your dentist regularly to ensure you have properly fitting dentures. Poorly fitting dentures may impair your health.
Suggestion – You may want to investigate some widely available, well-reviewed denture adhesives:
Thoughts, questions, tips? Feel free to comment below.