Caring for Your Dentures

Dentures can replace all or just some teeth. When dentures replace all your teeth, we call them “complete dentures”. Complete dentures rest on the gums over the jawbones. Dentures may be attached to dental implants that are anchored in your jaw.  A “partial denture” replaces only some teeth and usually attaches to existing teeth via a crown or dental implant.

Caring for your dentures properly will extend their life and improve your experience wearing them. To make your dentures last longer and fit better, care for them and follow these guidelines:

Clean dentures daily. Brush your dentures daily, the same way you brush your teeth. You will not use toothpaste or a typical toothbrush when you brush them. Instead, use a soft-bristle denture brush specifically designed to clean dentures. Be careful not to bend any denture attachments while brushing all surfaces of the dentures, and rinse well when you clean. Be sure to rinse your dentures after each meal as well. Specialized denture cleaners can be used to soak your dentures, but you still need to brush your dentures every day to remove plaque.

Handle dentures with care. Handle your dentures carefully when removing them so that you don’t damage them. Place a folded towel in the sink or fill the sink with water before you remove or handle your dentures. Your dentures may break if you drop them into an empty sink. Soak your dentures in cool water or denture cleaning solution when you aren’t wearing them. Avoid using very hot water when cleaning or soaking your dentures to avoid warping or damaging them. If your dentures have metal attachments, take care to avoid any denture cleaning solution that might tarnish the metal.

Always remove dentures (full or partial) at night. This gives your gums a chance to rest and prevents damage to your dentures or your mouth.

Removing Your Dentures

  1. Swish some warm water or mouthwash in your mouth.
  2. Place a towel in the sink or fill the sink with warm water so that your dentures won’t break if you drop them.
  3. Place your thumb against your front teeth and press upward and slightly outward toward your nose to remove the top denture.
  4. Pull slowly on the lower denture with a rocking motion to remove it.

Your dentures can be used for 5-7 years if you take good care of them. You will want to see your dentist every 6 months to insure proper fit and maintain the condition of your dentures. Your dentist will also check for irritation or gum disease so that it can be treated immediately and before it affects your ability to wear the dentures.

Cleaning Dentures

Plaque can accumulate on your dentures in the same way that it does on your natural teeth. Removing and cleaning them every day will keep them shiny and white and prevent them from becoming dirty or dull. You can also eliminate the chances of unpleasant odor by cleaning daily with a denture brush and soaking them in a specialized denture cleanser.

  1. Fill your sink with water to avoid damaging the dentures if you drop them.
  2. Begin by rinsing your dentures with warm water to remove any food particles.
  3. Use a cleanser specifically created for dentures. Toothpaste, bleach, vinegar or soap can damage your dentures. Scratched and damaged dentures can harbor plaque bacteria and develop an odor. Whiteners and harsh cleaners like bleach can cause damage to dentures, and will often turn the pink part of your dentures white.
  4. Use a moistened denture brush (NOT a toothbrush) to clean all surfaces of your dentures. Brush gently – brushing too hard can damage plastic and metal parts. Use clean, warm water (NEVER hot or boiling water) to clean your dentures.
  5. Use a fluoride toothpaste to brush your gums and natural teeth before reinserting your dentures to maintain good oral health and stimulate circulation in the mouth.
  6. Rinse with mouthwash after brushing to help reduce bacteria and maintain fresh breath.

Do you still have questions? Visit the American College of Prosthodontists Denture FAQs page for more information, or give us a call – we’re glad to help!