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CARE OF DENTURES AND DENTURE-BEARING TISSUES (GUMS)


Normally our natural teeth are lost due to decay, gum disease and inadequate patient dental education by the dentist.  After natural teeth are removed the bone support which was present around these teeth disappears.

 

It will take a certain period of adjustment to become acquainted with your new dentures.  If you have never worn dentures before, the adjustment phase will probably be longer than if you have had previous denture experience.  Your speech will be different because of the denture’s contours and the familiarity between your tongue and the dentures.  Overcoming difficulties in eating, wearing and speaking with new dentures can be accomplished only with practice and patience on your part.

 

Dentures should be very meticulously cared for as, should one’s remaining natural teeth.  Any denture (partial or complete) should be removed after every meal and at least rinsed thoroughly.  At least once per 24 hour period (usually just before bedtime) dentures should be cleaned thoroughly by scrubbing with a soft brush and mild hand soap.  The use of most commercial denture cleansers is of limited value.  Most do not clean dentures as well as a soft brush and mild hand soap.  The primary reason to use a commercial denture cleanser is to give the denture a better flavor when it is inserted.  While cleaning your dentures, always hold them over a sink half filled with water so if one is dropped, the water will break the fall of the denture and possibly prevent it from breaking.  After thoroughly cleaning your dentures, you should brush your gums and any remaining teeth with a soft brush.

 

Always remove your dentures and leave them out for at least six to eight hours per 24 hour period.  This permits the denture-bearing tissue to have the normal stimulation from the tongue and cheeks that it cannot receive while the dentures are being worn.  Also, continuous wearing of any type of denture can be damaging to the denture-supporting tissues and can cause more rapid loss of supporting bone.  When you remove your dentures for tissue rest, always allow them to soak in water.  Allowing dentures to dry out may cause slight shrinkage or warpage of the denture bases (pink plastic).

 

Front (anterior) teeth on dentures are mostly for speech and appearance. Biting (incising) should be done with a knife and fork on your plate, not with the anterior (front) teeth of your denture.  Incising with dentures will cause dislodgement of your dentures posteriorly (in the back).  Also, biting will generate more force and trauma on the gums and bone anteriorly, causing more abuse and more rapid loss of these denture-supporting structures.

 

Chewing on the posterior (back) teeth of dentures should be done on both sides at the same time (simultaneously).  Chewing on only one side at a time will cause your dentures to dislodge on the side opposite the chewing.  Also, excessive force may be applied to the tissue under the chewing side.  The opposite side of the denture from the functioning (chewing) side will rub up and down and can also cause discomfort.

 

Periodic examinations (at least once per year) are necessary for adequate care of the dentures and the tissue on which the dentures rest.  Periodic x-rays, even when complete dentures are being worn, may be necessary for a thorough examination.  Remember, the dentures do not change significantly in dimension after the initial wearing and adjustment period.  The denture bearing tissues do change continuously.  Thus, dentures cannot be expected to fit as well after they have been used for any extended length of time.  Areas which become sore or irritated on your gums are due to the changes occurring in your tissues, not changes in the denture(s).

 

Denture Cleaning

 

Daily: mild hand soap and soft brush

Weekly, or for more serious staining problems:

1 teaspoon of water softener (Calgon)

1 teaspoon of bleach (Clorox)

1 cup of water (at least 8 oz)

Allow the dentures to soak in this solution for 15-30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly prior to placing them back in your mouth.