Dentures

If you have lost some or all of your teeth, dentures can replace your missing teeth and improve your quality of life. With a little practice, dentures can make eating and speaking easier. You can smile freely without feeling embarrassed.

Dentures can be made to look like your natural teeth. Full dentures may even give you a better smile than you’ve ever had! Dentures also help you to look more youthful as they support the cheeks and lips so the facial muscles do not sag.

As with all new and critical periods, you may encounter moments of anxiety and worry at first. This is understandable and it is only natural that you will experience minor annoyances and adjustments at first. We at Summit Dental realize this and in order to help you overcome these problems and enable you to more quickly enjoy your artificial dentures, we have prepared this handout.

Immediate Dentures

Some patients may have the option to get immediate dentures. These dentures are made before the remaining teeth are removed. Once the denture has been made by the lab, the remaining teeth are extracted and the denture is placed right away. The benefit of immediate dentures is that the denture wearer does not have to go without teeth during the healing time. The downside is that while the gums heal and shrink underneath the denture, a process that can take 2-6 months, the fit of the denture will loosen over time. To counter this, the dentures will need to be adjusted and relined (see below) more often. In some cases, a new denture needs to be made after the healing is complete. This can also be a good idea as the old denture can be retained as a spare.

You should not remove your denture for the first 24 hours. It will act as a bandage to protect the extraction sites and helps control bleeding and swelling. After three days of healing, you may use a denture adhesive if you desire. It may be difficult to eat at first because of the soreness of the gums, but a soft diet with lots of liquids will keep your strength up until you are able to chew more solid foods.

Getting Used to Dentures

A new denture is uncomfortable for the first several weeks. It may feel loose while the muscles of your cheeks and tongue learn to hold it in place. Additionally, saliva may increase and you may feel minor irritation or soreness. You may bite your cheeks or tongue as you learn to use your new denture. It takes practice and patience to eat with dentures so start with soft foods cut into small portions. Chew slowly and use both sides of your mouth at the same time to keep the denture from moving out of place. Don’t bite with your front teeth as this causes your denture to tip and come loose. As you adjust to the denture, add other types of foods until you’re back to your normal diet.

Speaking with a new denture takes time and practice. Read aloud and repeat difficult words in front of the mirror. Speak slowly to help reduce muffled, blurred or thickened speech. You may lisp or whistle your “s” when you first try to talk. Your denture may sometimes slip out of place when you laugh, cough or smile. Put it back in place by gently biting down and swallowing.

Relines

A loose denture makes it harder to chew and may cause irritation, sores, or infection in your mouth. If your denture is loose, return to our dental office so we can check it. You may need a temporary “soft” reline or a laboratory “hard” reline. A temporary soft reline is done in the office while you wait. It is usually done during the healing phase. A soft material that bonds to the underside of the denture is added to improve the fit. This material helps keep the denture close and comfortable. It is removed when a laboratory hard reline is needed. Most people are ready for a permanent laboratory hard reline in six to eight months, when the healing has completed. You need to leave your dentures with us for up to eight hours. The process involves removing any temporary soft reline material and making an impression of the space between your gums and the denture. A permanent hard reline is then made with the same type of material used to make the pink portion of your denture. A reline generally does not change how the denture or your face looks.

Home Care

Dentures, like natural teeth, must be cleaned to keep your mouth healthy and odor free. Brush the surfaces of your denture inside and out morning and night. Brush with the solution from denture cleanser soaking solutions, liquid soaps, or special toothpaste designed for dentures. After the first night, store your dentures in water or denture cleanser soaking solution when you are not wearing them. This helps keep the shape and prevents drying out. Please don’t adjust or repair a denture yourself as you can permanently damage the denture and cause harm to the tissue in your mouth. Don’t use hot water on the denture as it can cause it to warp. Don’t use scouring powders on your denture, as they can remove the denture materials or roughen the surface. Don’t use abrasive cleaners or bleach to remove stains. They can change the color of gum-colored acrylic.

Denture facts

A lower denture is never as “tight” as an upper denture. The lower denture doesn’t have the suction to keep it in place like the upper one does. The lower denture is held in place by the muscles of the lips, tongue and cheeks. It should not pop out of place, but it does not have a tight feeling. It usually takes 4-5 times longer to master a complete lower denture compared to an upper denture.

Getting used to a denture takes time and patience. Remember, your gum tissue changes, not your denture. For some patients, many visits to the dentist for adjustments are needed. A big gain or loss in body weight can also change the fit of your denture.

Lastly, a yearly check-up is recommended in order to examine the oral tissues, perform an oral cancer screening, and clean your dentures.