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Dentures are prosthetic devices used to replace missing teeth and are supported by the soft and hard tissues of the oral cavity. Dentures are most commonly used by individuals with few or no natural teeth left and are custom made by either your dentist or a denture specialist.

Each pair of dentures is unique and begins with your dentist taking impressions of your mouth and teeth, which are used as a model for your dentures.

Do you suspect you may need dentures? Speak to your dentist during your next appointment

Denture Types

There are two types of dentures: complete and partial.

Complete dentures, also known as “full dentures”, are used by individuals with no remaining natural teeth. Complete dentures are removable and remain securely in place using suction.

Immediate dentures are designed to be used while your conventional dentures are being made, and are made before any of your remaining natural teeth are removed. To create your dentures, your dentist will begin by taking detailed and accurate measurements of your mouth and jaw. These measurements are used to create an accurate model of your mouth. Once your remaining natural teeth have been extracted, your dentist will provide you with a set of immediate dentures so that you are not left without teeth during the healing process. Your mouth may need up to six months to fully heal, and during this time, your bones and gums may shrink. If this happens, you will need to get your immediate dentures relined to ensure they continue to fit you correctly.

Once your conventional dentures are complete, and your mouth has fully healed, you can retire your immediate dentures and wear your conventional dentures instead.

If you still have natural teeth, or are having trouble with your dentures, your dentist may suggest overdentures. Overdentures are removable dentures designed to fit over your remaining natural teeth or be supported by dental implants. However, if you have any natural teeth remaining, they will need to be filed down to ensure your overdenture fits correctly. If you have no remaining natural teeth, your overdentures must be supported by dental implants.

Partial dentures, sometimes simply called “partials”, are designed for patients whose remaining natural teeth are not strong enough to support a bridge or if you are missing more than just a couple of teeth.

A partial denture consists of one or more artificial teeth fused together and held in place using clasps that attach to your remaining natural teeth. Unlike a dental bridge, which is permanent and can’t be removed, partial dentures should be removed for cleaning and overnight storage.

Caring for Your Dentures

Just like your natural teeth, you must clean your dentures at least twice per day. Cleaning your dentures regularly prevents plaque and tartar from building up, preventing both stains and bad breath. Plaque and tartar can also spread from your dentures to your gums and remaining natural teeth, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.

Before you begin cleaning your dentures, it’s a good idea to place a folded towel down in front of you or fill your sink with water. This will help protect your dentures from damage if you accidentally drop them while cleaning them.

Next, remove your dentures from your mouth and rinse them with clean water to remove any loose food particles. Make sure you don’t hold your dentures too tightly, or you could damage them.

Use a wet denture brush or soft-bristled toothbrush to gently clean your dentures using a mild soap or denture cleaner. Never use regular toothpaste on your dentures; it’s much too abrasive and could scratch your dentures, creating tiny grooves where food particles and bacteria can collect.

As you gently brush all of the surfaces on your denture, make sure you pay close attention to your clasps and other tight crevices where bacteria can collect. Make sure you don’t bend your clips or damage any of the plastic areas of your dentures.

While you are cleaning, take the time to look for cracks or other damage. If you see any cracks take your dentures to your dentist or a dental specialist for repair.

Now that you have finished cleaning your dentures, you should clean and massage your gums. If you find that a soft-bristled toothbrush is too hard on your gums, you can use a clean, damp cloth wrapped around one of your fingers instead.

Once you have cleaned your gums and dentures, you should rinse your dentures thoroughly before returning them to your mouth. If you have any questions about cleaning your dentures, you should speak to your dentist.

You should never wear your dentures overnight. Removing your dentures before bed gives your mouth a chance to rest. You can store your dentures overnight by placing them in a glass of warm water, either with or without denture cleanser. If your dentures are made with metal clasps, you should avoid using denture cleansers, which can tarnish the metal.

Your dentures should be stored in warm water whenever you aren’t wearing them. This prevents your dentures from drying out and warping. Never soak your dentures in hot water.

Our mouths can shift and change over time, which means that your dentures may need to be relined or adjusted to ensure they fit correctly. Visiting your dentist at least once per year allows your dentist to check your mouth and your dentures. Poorly fitted dentures can cause denture sores, which are both uncomfortable and can mask serious conditions such as oral cancer.

Regular dental exams also allow your dentist to track your oral health and keep an eye on potential problems before they progress.

For more information about dentures, please speak to your dentist during your next appointment.

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