Whether this is your first experience, or you have been wearing dentures for years, a denture can have a significant impact on your life. One in five adults wears either full or partial dentures. Although it may seem a bit overwhelming at first, with a little patience and practice, you’ll soon feel as if your dentures are a natural part of you. Your dentures will be with you for a long time, so taking care of your dentures needs to be as important to you as taking care of your own teeth.
Why Might You Need Dentures?
- To improve function: chewing, swallowing, and speaking.
- To provide stability and support to the remaining teeth and avoid changes in the position of your teeth.
- To improve and maintain facial features by supporting lips, cheeks and other facial/oral structures.
Types of Dentures
Depending on the condition of your teeth you may need one of the following:
- Full dentures: missing all the teeth in the jaw.
- Partial dentures: missing only some of the teeth in the jaw.
What Can You Expect with Dentures?
If you are new to dentures, you should expect an adjustment period of several weeks to months. In addition:
- Speech may be affected but practice reading aloud and repeating troublesome words. That should help.
- Chewing will likely take some practice. Start with soft foods, cut into smaller pieces and chew slowly using both sides of your mouth at the same time.
- Slippage may occur upon laughing, coughing, or smiling especially with full dentures. Reposition the dentures by gently biting down and swallowing. Your dentist may also suggest using a small amount of denture adhesive.
- Taste may be affected especially in the case of full dentures covering one’s palate.
- Loss of sensation to extreme hot foods/liquids due to the insulating plastic denture base. Use care to not ingest anything too hot.
Caring for Your Dentures
Proper denture care is important for both the health of your dentures and your mouth.
- Never use regular toothpaste to clean your dentures. Either use a mild dishwashing liquid or denture toothpaste.
- Brush them with a specially designed denture brush as you would your own teeth daily.
- Place a towel down or a water-filled basin to brush your dentures over to avoid breakage if dropped.
- Never store your dentures away dry. Always store them in plain water to avoid drying which would likely warp them and negatively affect fit.
- Be sure to thoroughly brush all surfaces of the denture. Denture cleansing and soaking solutions can be used but only after removing all food particles with the denture brush. These solutions are intended to clean the areas of the denture that are not accessible to the brush bristles such as the very narrow areas between the teeth and the denture base.