Dentures & Prosthetics
Dentures generally refers to the replacement of an entire arch of teeth with a removable appliance with either plastic or porcelain teeth on it. If there are a few teeth left, then it is referred to as a Partial Denture. This will either have acrylic base holding it in place, or it will have metal clasps to secure it to the adjacent teeth. Generally when a denture is placed for the first time, it takes a while to get used to it, since it is a foreign body in your mouth.
People who use dentures need to maintain good oral hygiene just as if they have their own teeth. Dentures require cleaning and the tissue they fit on should be periodically checked by their dentist to make sure they are fitting well. Poor fitting dentures can cause sore spots, ulcerations or other problems. After a denture has been in the mouth for several years, the shape of the ridges might shrink over time. As a result, often dentures need to be refitted, relined, or remade. This is often done after every 5-10 years.
What to expect
New denture wearers can expect that the dentures will make their mouth feel “full”, the tongue feels crowded and they may find that they build up saliva quicker. If a person had dentures made when they were young, often the ridge gets preserved and then dentures sometimes seem to hold in stronger. If you bite your cheek or the dentures “clack” when you talk, then you should have them checked quickly. It is advised to start your new eating habits by cutting your food into smaller portions and eat softer foods until you get used to them. If possible, split the food up into two halves and chew evenly on both sides to avoid “rocking” the denture while it is first fitting in. Keep the food in the back rather than in the front of the denture. Sucking on a mint or small candy can help prevent gagging that may also be common when first getting used to a new denture.
Proper care of your Denture
Dentures should be brushed daily just like you would brush your natural teeth to avoid plaque build-up. Even though you won’t get a cavity on the denture, you can build up plaque that can cause odor, or build-up which can lead to ill-fitting dentures. The roof of the mouth has little ridges in it also which can trap plaque as well, and if dentures are not removed for cleaning, then the tissues can get irritated, red and raw. You should use a mouthrinse as well as gently brush both your tongue and roof of your mouth. It is better to wear your dentures at night, especially during the first few weeks to help your mouth adapt to them.
What not to use
A denture is made of acrylic and therefore needs to properly handled. It should not be dropped or left in the direct sunlight for long periods of time. The moisture helps to keep it somewhat pliable. Do NOT use bleach, toothpaste, vinegar or soap on a denture as these can scratch or discolor the denture. In addition, NEVER use a hard bristle brush or a wire brush on the teeth. the little scratches that can result in that will harbor bacteria and plaque. When you aren’t wearing your denture, you should keep it either in a tub of water or in the plastic container to avoid it getting dirty or dried out.
From time to time, especially with either new or immediate (after teeth extractions) dentures, there is a time for the tissue to adapt to the denture as well as for the patient to get used to wearing the denture. It is advised to only use adhesives only if necessary. They are very useful when needed to assist a denture fit properly. If a denture is an immediate denture and the tissue is still healing from where the teeth were, then it is likely that the denture will not fit well for a couple weeks. The first week, the tissue often swells from the extractions and then the second week, the tissue tends to shrink from the healing and not having a tooth in the area. As a result, it is impossible for a denture to fit BOTH conditions snuggly. For immediate dentures, it is usually advised that a reline is done after a few months to allow the tissue to finish healing. If you need to use an adhesive, many dentists suggest using a LIGHT amount of a powder first to see it that can help create the necessary SEAL that you need to help the denture hold in place.
617 West Huntington Drive, Monrovia, Ca.
1 (626) 599-2000