What a relief!
After weeks, months, maybe even years of missing teeth, you now have a new set of dentures and you can eat, smile and kiss again with ease! Now you just need to take care of your new teeth so they will last for years.
Dr. Everet Lake, a Coast Dental dentist in Zephyrhills, FL, offers these helpful tips for people with removable dentures:
- Wear them as much as possible during the day. This helps prevent further bone loss.
- Don’t lose them! This might seem obvious, but a lot of people misplace their dentures. A common mistake: Wrapping the denture in a napkin and then throwing it out or leaving it behind at a restaurant, Dr. Lake said.
- Don’t leave them near pets! “I’ve had patients put them down on a table and the dog eats them,” Dr. Lake laughed. “They bring in the dentures with the dog’s teeth imprinted on them.”
- Clean or handle your denture when there is a soft surface, like a basin of water or a folded towel, beneath your hand in case you drop it. Otherwise, the fall could break the prosthesis.
- Rinse after eating. Holding your removable denture under running water for a minute will help remove food and debris. Failing to do so can lead to infection of the soft tissue under the denture.
- Don’t let your dentures dry out. If they become dry, they can warp. Always store them in a container with enough water to cover the dentures.
- Don’t soak the dentures in hot water. Only soak them in cool or lukewarm water, Dr. Lake said. Hot water can melt the plastic and affect the shape.
- Use a very soft toothbrush and toothpaste made especially for removable dentures when you clean them. Hard-bristled brushes and regular toothpaste can be abrasive and create rough patches on your dentures. The rough patches can attract more bacteria and stain more easily, Dr. Lake said. If you have a cosmetic partial, also called a flexible partial, then you should use special cleaning agents and a sonic cleaner to clean the prosthesis instead of a toothbrush and toothpaste. Using a toothbrush, even a soft-bristled toothbrush, should never be used on a cosmetic partial because it removes the polish and roughens the surface.
- Clean your dentures twice a day using the method recommended by your dentist. Add a cleaning solution at least three times a week. There are several denture-cleaning tablets to choose from; ask your dentist for a recommendation.
- Make sure your dentures fit correctly. “There are drawbacks, just like with any other prosthesis,” said Dr. Lake. “If you have a fake leg, you cannot walk the same way. With a denture, your style of eating will change. More than likely, you will have a sore spot, especially if you are a first-time denture-wearer. Patients should always return to their dentist within 24 to 48 hours of getting their denture to see if any adjustments are needed.”
Part of your denture care involves caring for your mouth and gums, Dr. Lake said. It’s important to take out the removable prosthesis at night to give your gum tissue a break from the pressure of wearing the denture all day. Also, a soft toothbrush should be used twice-daily to brush your tongue and gums. Brushing removes plaque and stimulates circulation, which helps keep the gums healthy.
Your personal hygiene, diet and habits, including teeth-grinding, can all influence how long your dentures will last. Typically, if you take care of them correctly, your new set of teeth should last you five to eight years, Dr. Lake said