Adjusting to wearing a denture is not always easy for a patient. The dental team works together to assist the patient through the process of losing teeth and adjusting to a new prosthesis. A prosthesis is a term used for an artificial body part such as a leg or heart and is used in dentistry to refer to an artificial set of teeth.
Types of Dentures
There are different types of dentures such as the immediate denture, the interim denture and the conventional denture.
An immediate denture is a denture fabricated to be worn immediately after a patient’s teeth have been extracted. These dentures are inserted on the same day as the extraction with knowledge that there will be some bone remodeling after the extraction. The immediate denture will then be relined or rebased about six months later.
An interim denture is a temporary denture that is used initially until the long-term version is made. An interim denture is used for aesthetic reasons, mastication (chewing), occlusal support, etc. A conventional denture is the long-term, complete denture that the patient will wear permanently
Cleaning and Caring for Dentures
People who have dentures must know how to properly clean and care for them. A patient should clean his or her dentures several times a day, especially manually after eating and at bed time. Dentures should be cleaned by a chemical immersion overnight. Just like natural teeth, dentures build up plaque, tartar and food and it is important to clean them thoroughly.
Procedure for Cleaning a Denture by Immersion:
Place the denture in a special container used for only holding the dentures. Make sure it has a lid.
Use a tablet or denture cleaner and add warm water. Warm water promotes the action of the cleanser. Never use hot water because this can distort the plastic resin.
Follow the manufacturer’s directions to ensure correct dilution of the cleanser and time the denture should be submerged in the solution.
Make sure the denture is completely submerged in the solution and put the lid on the container.
After the denture has soaked, remove it, place it under running water and remove the now loosened debris and chemicals with a toothbrush. Do not use toothpaste, because some abrasives found in toothpaste could scratch the denture.
Empty the container and clean it daily. Also, mix fresh solution every day to prevent contamination and growth of microorganisms.
When you are not wearing your dentures, be sure that they are being soaked in water or cleanser. If they are left in the air, they can distort and become brittle and break.
If a person takes good care of his or her dentures, they can last for five to seven years, if not longer, before they need replaced. It is also important to have regular visits with the dentist to have the dentures examined and have the gingiva evaluated to look for areas that are being rubbed and callused. Although people do not think of calluses in the mouth, it is possible and in dental language is called keratinization.
Fun Fact: Without teeth, the body does not have a stimulus to keep the alveolar bone (the bone that holds the teeth in place, or tooth sockets) and the bone will naturally resorb or shrink. This is another reason why it’s important to have regular dental appointments – so the dentist can assess bone levels.
Take the extra time to take care of your dentures and your smile!