Whether you’re in the early stages of getting dentures or you know someone who has them, it’s common for people to have a lot of questions about the process. Modern dentures are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth when they’re cared for properly, but it can still be a daunting prospect to start wearing them. In our guide, we’ve compiled some of the frequently asked questions around dentures, from how to care for them to the difference between dentures, implants and crowns, to help you decide if dentures are right for you.
What are dentures?
Dentures are artificial teeth and gums which are shaped to fit your mouth for a secure and natural fit. They are created by your dentist to replace your natural teeth that either need to be removed or have fallen out. There are two types of dentures – full and partial – so they can either replace all of the teeth along your upper or bottom gum line or just a few missing teeth.
What are the advantages of wearing dentures?
There are several benefits to choosing dentures, but the primary reason is to improve the look of your smile by replacing lost or damaged teeth. They also help to support the structure of the mouth close to the cheeks and lips, as well as restoring the function of your teeth when you’re chewing, which enables you to maintain a healthy diet. Dentures provide a replacement solution if you’re suffering from pain or oral health issues, as they can be used to replace problematic teeth with a safe and aesthetic alternative.
Types of Dentures
Partial dentures are used in place of other tooth-replacement methods, usually, if the natural teeth surrounding the area aren’t strong enough to support the likes of a dental bridge. They can also be used if one or two teeth are missing or need to be replaced. Partial dentures are fitted to the gum line that they’ll sit on and attach to the surrounding natural teeth, which stops them from falling out. However, they can still be taken out to be cleaned or when you’re sleeping.
If you need full dentures, which are also referred to as complete dentures, these replace all of your natural teeth and they can be fitted to your top or bottom gum line and held in place either with an oral adhesive or through suction.
How Should I Clean My Dentures?
Whichever type of dentures you have, maintaining cleanliness is paramount. Although your dentures are made from artificial materials, they can still harbour bacteria, plaque and tartar just like regular teeth and gums, so they still need to be cleaned every day. However, the process of cleaning dentures does differ from natural teeth.
To clean your dentures, you first need to take them out of your mouth so you can rinse them under clean water to dislodge any food or particles that are trapped underneath the structure or on the gum line. You can then brush them with a soft toothbrush using a denture cleaner – don’t use regular toothpaste or electric toothbrushes, as these are too abrasive and can actually damage the surface of your dentures. When you’re finished cleaning them, rinse them with water again to wash away any residue.
You should also clean your gums and any natural teeth you have while your dentures are out of your mouth. Some people find that their gums are sensitive, making a regular toothbrush too harsh, so if this is the case, you can wrap your finger in a soft washcloth to clean the surface of your gums.
How Long Can Dentures Be Worn For?
Dentures are usually worn during the day and then removed to sit in a cleaning solution overnight, which keeps them free from bacteria. When you’re asleep, your gum tissue repairs itself so it’s worthwhile giving your mouth a break from wearing dentures overnight so that it can recover for better oral health. It’s worth speaking to your dentist about how long you need to wear dentures and how long you will need to keep them out for, as everyone is different.
Dentures versus Dental Implants: Which is Right for You?
There is sometimes confusion over the difference between dentures and dental implants. While dentures can be removed easily, a dental implant is permanent and can’t be removed. Anchors are surgically fixed to the jawbone and then once the gums are fully healed, the permanent dentures can be fitted to them. Since dental implants aren’t removable, they’re the closest option to regular teeth, so they can be a good choice if you don’t like the idea of having to take your dentures in and out each day.
Dentures are a cost-effective solution and give you the freedom to remove them whenever you need to. They’re also a better option for people with unhealthy or weak jaws. Dental implants, however, provide a comfortable and natural look, and you don’t need to worry about them falling out at any point. It’s worth speaking to a dentist about the options available to you to help you decide which is the best choice.
Can Dentures Be Whitened?
No, dentures can’t be whitened. The reason for this is that denture teeth are made from different material to natural teeth, so they don’t respond to whitening solutions or whitening toothpaste. While dentures can be cleaned or polished, they are made from acrylic that is made to a certain shade, which can’t be altered. In fact, teeth whitening chemicals can weaken denture teeth and could damage them, so it’s not recommended.
Can Dentures Be Reshaped?
If you’re finding that your dentures are uncomfortable or don’t fit as well as they did in the past, relining is an option. This is a simple process of reshaping the underside of the dentures to make them more comfortable.
Dentures can take some getting used to, but once you’re familiar with the process of cleaning and maintaining them, you’ll find them easy and comfortable to wear. If you’d like more information on dentures, contact Dental Healthcare Practice today and we’ll be happy to help.