The Importance of Oral Health When You Have Dentures

As many of you know, dentures are a removable device that can replace missing teeth and help restore not only your smile but the ability to chew and speak with ease. If you've lost your natural teeth, whether from gum disease, tooth decay, injury, or one of the other many reasons this can occur, replacing missing teeth can benefit your appearance and your health. This is because dentures allow you to eat and speak better than you are normally able to without them, these things are often overlooked and taken for granted but remain a problem for many people today. 

When you lose all of your teeth it can cause your facial muscles to begin to sag, making you appear older. Dentures can help fill out the appearance of your face and profile. They can be designed to closely resemble your natural teeth so that your appearance does not alter much and you feel comfortable. Dentures may even improve the look of your smile depending on the condition of your teeth prior to losing them. 

There are a variety of types of dentures available, we've listed the most popular versions below: 

Types of dentures:

  • Conventional.  These are fully removable dentures made and placed in the mouth after the remaining natural teeth have been removed and gum tissues have healed, which in some cases may take several months. 
  • Immediate. These removable dentures are inserted on the same day that the remaining teeth are removed. Your dentist will take measurements and make models of your during a preliminary visit. This way you don't have to be without teeth during the healing period but you may need to have the denture relined or remade once your jaw and mouth have fully healed. 
  • Overdenture. Sometimes, when the teeth can be saved or preserved and remain attached to your jawbone and actually help provide support and stability for the overdenture. This fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth after they have been prepared by your dentist. Implants can also serve this same function.

It's normal for new dentures to feel awkward for the first few weeks until you become adjusted to them. The dentures may feel loose while the muscles of your tongue, jaw, and cheek learn to keep them in place. It's certainly not unusual to experience minor irritation or soreness as you become accustomed to the device. You may find that saliva flow temporarily increases as your mouth regulates to the dentures. As your mouth adjusts, these problems should go away. A follow-up with your dentist is generally needed and recommended so that the fit can be checked and adjusted if needed. If any problem is persisting, be sure to consult with your dentist. 

Even if you wear full dentures, you still must practice good dental hygiene. Do this by brushing your gums, tongue, and the roof of your mouth every morning and evening with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures to stimulate circulation in your gum tissues and help remove any plaque or debris that could be sticking to your gums. 

Like your teeth, your dentures should also be brushed daily to remove food particles, debris, and plaque. Brushing also can help keep the artificial teeth from staining. Tips for keeping your dentures looking good: 

  • Rinse your dentures first before brushing to remove any loose food or debris. 
  • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and a non-abrasive cleaner to gently brush all the surfaces of the dentures so that they don't get scratched. 
  • When brushing, cleaning your mouth thoroughly - including your gums, cheeks, the roof of your mouth, and tongue to remove any plaque. This helps to reduce the risk of oral irritation and bad breath. 
  • When not wearing your dentures, put them in a safe and secure place, covered in water to keep them from warping. 
  • Occasionally, denture wearers may use adhesives that come in many forms like creams, powders, strips, or liquids. If you use one of these products, be sure to thoroughly read the instructions and use them exactly as directed. Your dentist can recommend appropriate cleaning and adhesive brands but look for products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. These have been extensively evaluated for safety and effectiveness so they are usually the best pick. 

If you have any questions about your dentures, or if they stop fitting well or become damaged, contact your dentist. Be sure to schedule regular dental checkups, too. The dentist will examine your mouth to see if your dentures continue to fit properly. Do you have any tips you recommend for denture oral health and upkeep? Send them our way! We love to hear from you! 

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