What are dentures?
Dentures are designed to replace missing teeth and are ordinarily constructed from a natural-looking resin which is fixed to a base made of plastic. The two models commonly available are complete dentures, for replacing an entire arch of teeth, and partial dentures, which use metal clips or clasps and are fitted around the neighbouring teeth.
Will they change my appearance?
Recent developments in dental technology mean modern dentures have a natural look and will not be noticeable to most people. They will be custom-made to match the patient’s remaining teeth to ensure their appearance is not drastically altered.
Will they feel uncomfortable?
There will be an initial period where your new denture feels odd and slightly uncomfortable. This will not be reflected in the appearance of the dentures as they will have been designed to your individual specifications.
Also, in the early stages, there may be more saliva production than normal. This will return to normal fairly quickly. The adjustment period will be different for each person, but once it is over you will be able to speak, eat and smile as before.
Will I be able to speak normally?
You may need to practice saying certain words at first. The best way to do this is by reading aloud and then repeating any words that you have difficulty saying. With time you should be able to speak normally. Using denture fixative can initially help by giving you a confidence boost.
What can I do to aid adjustment?
Eating while wearing dentures will take some practice to begin with. The structure of the mouth is unique to each person and these differences will affect the stability and retention of a set of dentures. Also, the amount of saliva produced will change depending on the degree of suction keeping the denture in position.
The lower denture may be especially challenging to wear in the early stages, but practice will help to remedy this. It is useful to use denture fixative to improve stability and retention.
Can I still eat out?
Your new teeth should not restrict you in any way once you grow used to them and you will be able to eat normally. In the beginning, it is wise to stick to soft foods and cut them into small pieces while getting used to wearing dentures. It is also helpful to have smaller mouthfuls and to chew slower than you would normally.
When the food is in your mouth you should split it into two parts and chew one at each side of the mouth, towards the back. This will avoid placing too much pressure on the dentures and should help them to stabilise. In terms of hard, chewy foods such as apples, toffee, crusty bread and nuts, they can be consumed if denture fixative is used. You can choose between using a flavoured or unflavoured one.
What is denture fixative?
Although dentures are designed to fit well they will not be able to replicate the same biting surface as normal teeth. The use of fixative will dismiss any concerns you have about eating and can be useful even if your denture fits well.
How does it work as an adhesive?
Denture fixatives develop their adhesive properties through a reaction with saliva. The ingredients will start to work in partnership to keep the denture in position, reducing the chances of your new teeth shifting out of position.
You can even eat hard foods like apples and you will have more confidence in how you speak. With the use of denture fixative you can even go swimming without an ounce of worry—swimming would normally be risky as water may get in the mouth and risk suction loss of full dentures.
How does it work as a barrier?
Fixatives work by preventing any seeds or pips from getting stuck between the gums and dentures. They expand to ensure gaps are filled and access to food debris is blocked. You will then be able to eat the foods you want without any worry.
How does it help my bite?
Using a fixative increases your capability of biting without your fake teeth becoming dislodged, as well as giving you the extra confidence to eat what you want.
How does it stop gum irritation?
The fixative material acts as a layer of support between the gums and dentures to ensure they do not rub together. They also reduce any effects of localised pressure for increased comfort during wear.
How do I clean my denture?
They should be brushed with special toothpaste and then dried thoroughly. You should then apply the denture fixative in short strips measuring half an inch. For the most effective results, try various quantities and positions of the fixative to see what works best for you.
In general, you will find that less is more when applying the fixative, so using small dots may be the best way. It is vital that it does not start to ooze out; if oozing does occur you should use less fixative next time.
How is the fixative used?
- It is a good idea to rinse the mouth prior to inserting the dentures for a quick grip.
- You should then press the denture securely in place for a few seconds and wait a few minutes before you eat or drink.
- When the teeth need to be removed this can be done simply, after which you should gently brush using warm water to make sure the remaining fixative is removed.
How do I care for my dentures?
The appliance should be cleaned twice daily just like natural teeth. In particular, the gums and the adjacent teeth should be cleaned thoroughly because as these are the areas where any plaque or food debris are likely to collect
How should they be cleaned?
Ask your dentist about the best way to clean your appliance if unsure. It is important to remove the denture from the mouth before cleaning as this will allow you to do a more thorough job. You should also remember to handle the teeth with care after removing them as they are extremely fragile. When you brush them do so over a sink full of warm water as this will help to stop them from breaking if you drop them.
The primary aim of cleaning is the removal of plaque as this poses the risk of gum disease. Brushing has the further advantage of getting rid of food debris which merely soaking the dentures would not achieve.
Standard toothpastes can be harmful to dentures as they tend to be too abrasive for the polished surfaces. You should try to use one of the specialist toothpastes as these will leave a clean, fresh feeling without any harm.
For partial denture wearers, particular care should be taken in cleaning the remaining natural teeth and maintaining a good standard of oral hygiene.
What is soaking?
Although brushing while using special cleaning toothpaste is more effective than just soaking the teeth, some wearers find it preferable to soak the dentures in a special cleaning solution. You should use a tablet or powder from a known-brand with lukewarm water if you do opt for the soaking method.
Fake teeth should not be soaked for over 10 minutes if they contain any metal parts, and should not be soaked for a length of time in boiling water as this can cause bleaching or discolouration.
The majority of soaking brands will recommend that you brush and soak for the plaque and food debris to be thoroughly removed.
Will I still need to see a dentist?
The materials that make up dentures are softer than those of natural teeth and will eventually need to be replaced. In addition, your mouth will change shape once any teeth have been taken out or after you lose weight. You should have a dental appointment at least once every year to ensure your dental structure remains functional. Partial denture wearers should have an appointment once every six months.