Nearly three quarters of all adults have at least one tooth missing. 6 out of every 100 have none of their natural teeth. At one time, it was often possible to see that someone was wearing false teeth, but such are the advances in dentistry that it’s much harder to see nowadays.
Given that dentures are made specifically for the wearer, they should always be comfortable to wear. However, it may take some time to become accustomed to them. You may be hesitant to smile, have to be extra careful about eating, and even speaking might feel a little strange at first.
Over time, your gums and your jaw change in shape. Dentures which are of a fixed shape may therefore become uncomfortable or loose. Your dentist should then be your first port of call, to see what can be done about it. It could mean a new set of dentures, otherwise you may start to develop sores which may become infected. However, it is sometimes possible to have your dentures relined, making them serviceable for some time to come.
When your dental prosthesis stops fitting properly, it’s sometimes possible to make adjustments to the plate to extend the life of the device – rather than having to get a new set of false teeth straight away. This process is know as ‘relining’.
Looking after your dentures
People who take out their dentures at night put them in water to stop them drying out, because dehydration may make them lose their shape. Recent guidance about cleaning dentures seems straightforward enough:
Keep them moist when not being worn and clean them properly or you risk staining, gum disease and decay to any remaining teeth, as well as halitosis (bad breath) or a strange taste in the mouth.
To ensure clean dentures, brush them daily with a non-abrasive cleaner, soak them daily/overnight in disinfecting cleaning tablets available over the counter and continue to have regular checkups at your dentist.
Your dentist or dental hygienist will be happy to show you how to clean your dentures properly and may provide you with a special brush or other instrument to help and make this easier. It is particularly important to know how to protect any soft lined dentures, as the lining has to have special attention.
Baking soda is a natural abrasive which is used in some toothpastes and can work harmlessly on your dentures as well. Mix two teaspoons of the baking soda with enough warm water to create a paste. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, scrub the paste all over your dentures and rinse well with water. Be sure to do this every day.
White vinegar is effective because it has a high acid content, so can act as a disinfectant which also removes plaque. Mix one part of vinegar with 9 parts of water if you want to soak your dentures overnight. Otherwise, it’s one part of vinegar with 1 part water and soak for just 10 to 30 minutes.
Brush both before and after soaking, and be sure to rinse your dentures thoroughly before wearing them.
This can help destroy bacteria, but be sure to check with your dentist as to the suitability of this before you try it. Dentures can be microwaved at 650 watts for 3 minutes just once a week. There is still a need to continue with daily brushing and cleaning. REMEMBER – microwaving is NOT suitable for any dentures with metal parts.
Be sure to create a soft landing for your dentures whilst cleaning and handling them, by doing so over a basin of water or a folded towel. This means that if they slip out of your hand or you drop them, they are less likely to break.
Any natural teeth should be brushed and flossed at least twice a day.
Contact your dentists if you notice clicking when you speak or eat, or if your dentures are starting to feel loose.
Please note that if you also have dental implants, these will not need to be replaced along with your dentures.
What is the alternative to dentures?It’s true that dentures are not necessarily your only choice. You can find out more by reading here about your options, and of course you can always contact us at TheMall. One of our experienced team will be happy to help you.