The Fitting and Care of Dentures
Whole or partial dentures remain the gold standard for replacing most or all of a row of teeth. Modern technology has given us the ability to create more realistic, better-fitting, more stable and more functional dentures than any point in the past.
Types of Denture
Different types of dentures are employed depending on the needs and budget of the patient.
- Partial dentures
Partial dentures fill the space left by several, usually adjacent missing teeth. They’re secured in place with clasps that attach to nearby natural teeth.
- Whole dentures
Whole dentures replace an entire arch of missing teeth. They can replace either the upper or lower teeth, or all of your teeth together.
- Immediate denture
An immediate denture is placed during the same appointment where the teeth are extracted. These allow the patient to avoid a period without teeth, and are often used as temporary dentures.
Over-dentures are dentures that fit:
- Over the top of remaining teeth
- Over tooth roots that have been treated by root canal
- By connecting to dental implants.
The remaining teeth or dental implants act as the anchor points to secure over-dentures.
Making and Fitting Dentures
Dentures are made of artificial teeth bonded to a plastic base designed to blend in with the gums. Different materials are available depending on the patient’s budget and the exact restoration needed.
Regardless of the type of denture or the material used to make it, the process for creating and fitting the dentures is much the same.
To create the dentures, the dentist first makes an impression of your dental arch and remaining teeth, if any. This impression is sent to a lab where the dentures are fabricated to the dentist’s specifications. The shape and colour of the artificial teeth can be closely matched to any remaining natural teeth you might have.
After the denture is made, there will be an initial fitting. This fitting is to make sure the denture sits properly in the mouth. If any adjustments need to be made to ensure a better fit, the denture is sent back to the lab.
Once the final version is made there will be a period of adjusting to the dentures. It might feel uncomfortable, or feel that it’s crowding your mouth. You may notice increase saliva production. Some patients will find they have difficulty talking, while others find their speech improves with the presence of more teeth.
All of these discomforts are normal and will pass as you wear the dentures more and get used to them being in your mouth.
Cleaning Your Dentures
Much like your natural teeth, dentures should be cleaned either after each meal, or at least twice a day.
Remove the denture and rinse away food particles in warm or cold water. Do not use hot boiling water, as it can make the denture warp and become unusable. Brush the inside and outside of the denture with a soft brush and an unperfumed, mild soap or other approved denture cleaning product. Avoid toothpaste, as many brands are abrasive and can deteriorate the denture over time.
For partial dentures, take extra care when cleaning your remaining natural teeth. Your dentist can provide information on how best to brush and floss remaining teeth to keep them healthy.
Along with hot and boiling water, please avoid the following when cleaning your dentures:
- Methylated spirits
- Strong chemicals
Living With Dentures
Your dentist will show you how to place and remove your dentures when you receive them. Make sure you feel comfortable doing this yourself before you leave the appointment.
Whether you’ve had dentures before, or are getting your first set, there will always be an adjustment period where the dentures may feel uncomfortable. Your mouth needs time to adapt to the dentures.
That being said, while discomfort is normal, soreness is not. If you develop soreness under the denture, arrange an appointment with your dentist. Your denture may need to be adjusted to better sit over your gum.
Eating and Speaking
Eating and speech are predictably the two things most people will find affected by their new dentures.
Learning to eat with dentures will take some time and practice. You will be placed on a soft food diet to begin; gradually, you’ll be able to eat more varied foods, starting with small cut up pieces and slowly introducing larger and larger portions. Sharp or hard foods, such as nuts and raw carrots, should be avoided, as should sticky foods like caramel and toffee.
Many denture wearers find that speech seems to sort itself out after one to two weeks as your mouth adjusts to the dentures. If you notice your dentures “clicking” when you talk, you may need to speak slower. If your dentures slip when you speak, gently bite down on them and swallow to bring them back into position.
Even patients who have no teeth remaining need to continue to care for their oral hygiene. This is best done with a wet cloth or face washer gently rubbed over the gums where the dentures sit. This will prevent build ups of food that may feed bacteria.
Dentures can break very easily; it’s important to be careful when handling them to keep them safe.
When handling and cleaning dentures, do so over a towel, cushion, or other soft surface to protect them should they fall. Brush them gently with a soft-bristled brush.
Should your dentures break, contact your dentist immediately. Do not wear broken dentures, and do not attempt to mend them yourself.
Ideally dentures should be removed at night to give your gums a chance to rest. After cleaning them at night, place the dentures in water or a cleaning solution. Do not allow the dentures to dry out, as this can make them warp and require adjusting.
Regular Check Ups
It’s important to attend regular checkups with your dentist when you have dentures. They will check the health of any remaining teeth, your gums, and whether the denture requires any adjusting. They can also give you advice if you’ve had any troubles with your dentures since your last appointment.
The frequency of your checkups will be determined by your dentist based on your situation. Putney Dental Care can assess your case and provide you with quality dentures.