Getting used to and caring for your denture or partial
For the first few weeks, a new denture may feel awkward or bulky. However, your mouth will eventually become accustomed to wearing it. Inserting and removing the denture will require some practice. Your denture should easily fit into place. Never force a partial denture into position by biting down. This could bend or break the clasps.
If you had an immediate denture, you will be asked to wear it for the first 24 hours. If you take it out early and swell, you may not get it back in. Whether you wear a complete denture or partial, if it puts too much pressure on a particular area, that spot will become sore. Your denture can be adjusted to fit more comfortably. Other than the first 24 hours for an immediate, it is best not to sleep in your denture or partial.
When it comes to eating with a full denture, start out with softer foods that are cut into small pieces. Chew on both sides of the mouth to keep even pressure on the denture. Avoid sticky or hard foods, including gum. One of the easiest ways to remove a full denture is to grab it by the front teeth and pulling them outward, forcing the back of the denture down. Unfortunately that is the same action used when biting into corn on the cob or an apple; it may move on you. Eating with a denture is better than no teeth at all, but remember, it will never be as good as natural teeth. If you want more stability consider implants to secure it.
Have you ever knocked over a glass, maybe even onto the floor and it didn’t break and then the next time it shattered into many pieces. Well your denture may do the same thing. It’s best to stand over a folded towel or a sink of water when handling your denture, just in case you accidentally drop it. Brush the denture (preferably with a denture brush) daily to remove food deposits and plaque, and keep it from becoming permanently stained. Avoid using a brush with hard bristles, which can damage the denture. Look for denture cleansers with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. If you wear a partial, remember to pay special attention to cleaning teeth that fit under any clasps or that are right up against the partial. Plaque that becomes trapped under the clasps will increase the risk of tooth decay. Hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid to clean dentures is also acceptable. Other types of household cleaners and many toothpastes are too abrasive and should not be used for cleaning dentures. A denture can distort slightly if it dries out. At night, the denture should be placed in soaking solution or water. However, if the appliance has metal attachments, they could be tarnished if placed in soaking solution, read the package instructions and never soak a metal partial in bleach. Tartar will build up on anything kept in the mouth long enough. You can soak dentures and partials in vinegar to help soften and loosen it then it can be brushed away.
Even with full dentures, you still need to take good care of your mouth. Every morning brush your gums, tongue and palate with a soft-bristled brush before you put in your dentures. This removes plaque and stimulates circulation in the mouth. Selecting a balanced diet for proper nutrition is also important for maintaining a healthy mouth.
Over time, adjusting the denture may be necessary. As you age, your mouth naturally changes, which can affect the fit of the denture. Your bone and gum ridges can recede or shrink, resulting in a loose-fitting denture. Loose dentures can cause various problems, including sores or infections. Dentures that do not fit properly can be adjusted. Avoid using a do-it-yourself kit to adjust your dentures, as this can damage the appliance beyond repair. Glues sold over the counter often contain harmful chemicals and should not be used on a denture.
If your denture no longer fits properly, if it breaks, cracks or chips, or if one of the teeth becomes loose, see your dentist immediately. In many cases, dentists can make necessary adjustments or repairs, often on the same day. Complicated repairs may require that the denture be sent to a dental laboratory.
Over time, dentures will need to be relined, rebased, or remade due to normal wear. To reline or rebase a denture, the dentist uses the existing denture teeth and refits the denture base or makes a new denture base. Dentures may need to be replaced if they become loose and the teeth show signs of significant wear.
Some people worry about how dentures will affect their speech. Consider how your speech is affected when you have a number of your natural teeth missing. Pronouncing certain words may require practice. Reading out loud and repeating troublesome words will help. If your dentures “click” while you’re talking, speak more slowly. You may find that your dentures occasionally slip when you laugh, cough or smile. Reposition the dentures by gently biting down and swallowing. If a speaking problem persists, consult your dentist.
Denture adhesives can provide additional retention for well-fitting dentures. Denture adhesives are not the solution for old, ill-fitting dentures. A poorly fitting denture, which causes constant irritation over a long period, may contribute to the development of sores. These dentures may need a reline or need to be replaced. If your dentures begin to feel loose, or cause pronounced discomfort, consult with your dentist immediately.
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