Researchers predict that in a few years there will be a greater percentage of older people. When looking at it from an oral health point of view, this would mean more people would be needing dentures. Teeth are lost due to old age, tooth decay, gum diseases or even by accident or trauma. Dentures are recommended to maintain overall good health. Dentures replace natural teeth and function in the same way and support a person to achieve complete health. Losing teeth will affect the food habits of the person, these prosthetic devices help support a person in continuing his usual lifestyle and food habits.
There are different types of dentures used – complete and partial. Complete dentures are used when a person has lost all teeth on both jaws. Complete dentures are sometimes fixed to prosthetic devices to stay in place. They have a base to which the teeth are attached and this base rests on the soft tissues of the mouth. Partial dentures are used when the person has some of his/her natural teeth. The replacement teeth are attached to a metal framework or a base, sometimes clips are also used to keep them in position.
Dentures should not be thought as mere replacement to natural teeth. They offer other benefits to the wearer. When teeth are lost, the shape of the face changes. They would sag or look droopy as there are no teeth to support the cheeks. They give shape to the face and also support cheeks and lips. Speech is seen altered when a person loses teeth. Dentures help in making sure there is speech clarity and boosts the self-confidence of the person. A good proper routine and hygiene are important to maintain the ‘health’ of dentures. They need good upkeep and maintenance to ensure they are odour free and stain free.
Wearing dentures the correct way
It is important to know how to wear dentures properly. Some would have partial dentures or complete dentures. It is important to know the proper technique for wearing them – this can be discussed during dental consultations. Improper wearing and usage can cause discomfort and other dental concerns to the wearer. First time users will feel pain and uneasiness in using dentures. This is normal and would go away once they are adjusted to the new denture set.
Cleaning dentures daily is important. The same routine should be followed as for the natural teeth. They should be cleaned using a tooth brush. Food debris sticking on to the dentures can be cleaned properly using this method. Dentures can be soaked in a cleansing solution. This helps in removing the plaque build-up on them. It is good to remove dentures before going to bed each night. Gum and mouth can rest by removing them and it will also stop possible tooth grinding habit while sleeping. Denture cleaners are available in the market, these also help in thorough cleaning.
Cleaning soft tissues
Along with cleaning dentures, it is important to clean the mouth and soft tissues in the mouth. Using a soft brush to clean the roof of the mouth, tongue etc. is important. Cleaning mouth before wearing dentures is also important. Using the brush lightly to clean will help in increasing blood circulation in the palate and other oral tissues.
Like natural teeth, replacement teeth can also get stained. Food like berries, coffee, wine etc. would cause stains in the teeth. Taking care of food habits will also help in reducing stains in the dentures. Daily cleaning of dentures like natural teeth will keep the teeth bright and shiny. Dentures can be professionally cleaned to remove stains. There are cleaning solutions avoidable to help remove stains on the teeth.
The type of food one consumes also affects the health of dentures. During the initial stages of wearing dentures, soft food should be consumed. This will help in being comfortable with the dentures. Taking soft bites and chewing as normal is important. If extra force is put on the dentures, there are chances of them getting broken.
Everyday cleaning of dentures before wearing and also after each meal is needed. So is also using tooth brush for cleaning dentures. Besides this, it is recommended that dentures should be cleaned at least once a year by dental specialists. This helps in keeping them clean and plaque free. With age and time, there would be changes in the jaw shape. This will lead to the dentures becoming loose. This will need expert help from the dentists for obtaining a good fit. If dentures are not a proper fit they can cause infection and soreness on the gum lining.
Proper fit of dentures will be affected if there are other medical conditions. Wearing dentures will be difficult if wearer has arthritis. They would need help from family members or care givers to wear dentures correctly. Diabetes would also affect the health of gums. Gums would weaken and would be unable to support dentures. If the are other diseases, this should be discussed with dentists to ensure proper care for dentures.
Things to avoid
While it is important to follow good cleaning practices and good food habits it is equally important to avoid certain things to take care of dentures. Strong cleaning materials should be avoided for cleaning the replacement teeth. Care should also be taken when selecting tooth paste. For extra guidance, help can be sought from dentists. Bleaching agents should be avoided and should not come in contact with dentures as this will weaken the dentures and there would be a possible colour change. Using hot water to clean dentures should be avoided. If they break, best to avoid repairing them at home, take them to the dentist for proper care.