Dentures are prosthetic dental appliances, provided to dental patients who have missing teeth.
Partial dentures are usually fabricated using suitable dental alloys such as Cobalt Chromium or Nickel Chromium; complete dentures are fabricated from a group of “plastic” materials known as dental acrylics. While both partial and complete dentures serve as an excellent form of tooth replacement, it is imperative that they be looked after with utmost care and respect. Otherwise, their service life is drastically reduced, especially in the case of plastic or acrylic dentures, which are highly susceptible to degradation if not properly cared for.
Handle With Care!
Although the acrylic dentures possess sufficient resistance to fracture against compressional forces, they can easily break if dropped. Standing over a carpeted floor, or a water filled sink, can help reduce chances of accidental dropping and fracture.
Dentures Need Brushing Too!
While brushing your teeth at least twice daily is an excellent way of maintaining, good oral hygiene and preventing teeth against caries, it is equally important that you clean your dentures regularly. This is because the bacteria and other germs in your mouth can get attached to the dentures, and can eventually result in various dental pathologies. Using a soft brush to clean your dentures, without applying a toothpaste, has been shown to be quite effective in keeping your dentures clean.
Soaking Your Dentures Overnight
Dentures should be soaked in water, or a mild denture cleansing agent, during the night or whenever they are not being used. However, it must be remembered that the temperature of the water should not be too high, as it may distort the plastic material and alter the fit of the dentures. In case denture cleansers are used for soaking overnight, manufacturer recommendations should be followed carefully. Furthermore, they should be rinsed with water, prior to being worn, after immersion in a cleaning solution.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Scheduling regular appointments with your dentist will not only help in detection of any problems related to denture wearing, but in discovering issues in your appliance that might need repair or replacement. It should be emphasized here that small faults in your dentures can be fixed in the dental labs, whereas major faults may require creating a new fitting surface of the dentures or providing new ones to the patient.
What NOT to do:
- Use of bleaching agents – if dentures are not cleaned properly, they have a tendency to become stained over time. Many patients would consider removing those stains by using bleaching agents manufactured for tooth whitening. This is not a good idea. Acrylic is colourless in appearance, and manufacturers have to add a pink dye to make them look more “lifelike”. Using a bleaching agent on your teeth can result in removal of the dye, making the dentures clear in appearance.
- Placing them in open air – whenever not in use, dentures must be soaked in water. If left in the open air, they are liable to undergo a dimensional change as a result of dehydration. The ultimate result is poor fitting artificial teeth.
- Using abrasive toothpastes – toothpastes, especially those marketed as whitening products, contain heavy amounts of abrasive fillers, and tend to roughen the surface of the denture. This can not only lead to bacterial attachment and subsequently, dental infections, but also a gradual reduction in strength as a result of excessive water uptake. Therefore, dentists advise not to use a toothpaste for cleaning dentures.
Research has shown that dentures can function well for up to 10 years or more, provided the necessary precautions regarding their handling and care are kept in mind.