Dentures are prosthetic devices that are used to replace missing teeth and are supported by the soft and hard tissues of the oral cavity. They are commonly used by individuals who have only a few, or no, natural healthy teeth. Dentures are custom made by either your dentist or a denture specialist. This is done by taking impressions of your mouth and teeth in order to make a model, which is then used to create your dentures.
Dentures come in two types: complete and partial.
Complete dentures, also called “full dentures”, are used when all of your natural teeth are missing. Complete dentures are removable and are held securely in place using suction. Complete dentures come in two forms: immediate dentures and conventional dentures.
If you are having trouble with your dentures, your dentist may suggest overdentures as an alternative. Overdentures are removable dentures that fit over your remaining natural teeth, or over dental implants. If you have some natural teeth left they will need to be filed down and reshaped to accommodate the overdenture. If you do not have any natural teeth left your overdentures will need to be secured using dental implants.
Partial dentures, also called “partials”, may be used if your remaining teeth are not strong enough to support a bridge, or if you are missing more than just a few teeth. Partial dentures consist of one or more artificial teeth held in place by clasps which attach to your remaining natural teeth. Unlike a dental bridge, which is permanent and can’t be removed, you can remove your partial denture for cleaning and overnight storage.
Just like natural teeth you need to clean your dentures at least twice per day. This prevents plaque and tartar from building up on your dentures, causing stains and bad breath. Plaque and tartar can also spread from your dentures to your natural teeth and gums, causing cavities and gum disease.
Before you begin, you should place a folded towel in front of you, or fill your sink with water. This will help ensure that your dentures don’t become damaged if you accidentally drop them while cleaning them.
Remove your dentures from your mouth and run them under water to remove any loose food particles. Take care not to hold your dentures too tightly: squeezing your dentures can damage them.
Use a wet denture brush or a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your dentures using a mild soap or denture cleaner. Regular toothpaste and household cleaners are too abrasive, and should never be used to clean your dentures.
Gently brush all of your denture surfaces, paying close attention to clasps and other tight crevices where bacteria can collect. Be careful not to bend your clips or damage any plastic areas. While you are cleaning your dentures, look for cracks. If you find any cracks you should take them to your dentist or denture specialist for repair.
While your dentures are out, you should also clean and massage your gums. If you find that a toothbrush irritates your gums, you can use a finger wrapped in a clean, damp cloth instead.
When you have finished brushing your dentures, you should rinse them thoroughly with clean water before returning them to your mouth. If you have any questions about caring for or cleaning your dentures, you should speak to your dentist.
You should always remove your dentures overnight. This gives your mouth a chance to rest. To store your dentures overnight place them in a glass of warm water, either with or without denture cleanser. If your dentures have metal clasps, you should soak your dentures in warm water only, since other soaking solutions can tarnish the metal.
Whenever you are not wearing your dentures, you should store them in water to keep them from drying out or warping. You should never soak your dentures in hot water.
Your mouth is always changing, which means they may need to be adjusted or relined to ensure they still fit properly. You should visit your dentist at least once a year so that they can check your mouth and your dentures. Poorly fitted dentures can cause denture sores, which make it more difficult for your dentist to spot serious conditions such as oral cancer.
Regular dental exams help your dentist track your oral health, look for oral cancer and other potential problems, and ensure that your dentures continue to fit properly.
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