Dentures can be used to replace all or just some of your teeth. When a denture replaces all your teeth, they are referred to as “complete dentures”. Complete dentures rest on your gums over your jawbones. Some dentures are attached to dental implants that are anchored in your jaw. “Partial dentures” replace only some teeth and usually attach to existing teeth via crowns or dental implants.
How you care for your dentures will determine how long they last and how pleasant your experience wearing them will be. To make your dentures last longer and fit better, take proper care of them and follow these guidelines:
Clean your dentures daily. You should brush your dentures the same way you brush your teeth: every day. The only difference is that you will not use toothpaste and a typical toothbrush when you brush them. Use a soft-bristle denture brush that is specifically designed to clean dentures instead. Be careful not to bend the denture attachments as you brush all surfaces of the dentures, and rinse well when you are cleaning. Be sure to rinse your dentures after each meal as well. Specialized denture cleaners can be used for soaking, but you will still need to brush your dentures every day to remove plaque.
Handle your dentures with care. When removing your dentures, be careful to handle 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. If you drop your dentures into an empty sink, they may break. Soak your dentures in cool water or a denture cleaning solution when you aren’t wearing them, and avoid using very hot water when cleaning or soaking to avoid warping or damaging the dentures. If your dentures have metal attachments, be careful to avoid denture cleaning solutions that can tarnish the metal.
Always remove your dentures (full or partial) at night. This gives your gums a chance to rest and prevents damage to the denture or your mouth.
Steps to Remove Your Dentures
- Swish some warm water or mouthwash in your mouth.
- Place a towel in the sink or fill the sink with warm water to avoid breaking your dentures if you drop them.
- Place your thumb against your front teeth, press upward and slightly outward toward your nose to remove the top denture.
- Slowly pull on the lower denture with a rocking motion to remove it.
You should be able to use your dentures for 5-7 years if you take good care of them. See your dentist every 6 months to insure proper fit and maintain the condition of your dentures. Your dentist will also want to check for irritation or gum disease so that it can be treated immediately and allow you to continue to wear the dentures.
Cleaning Your Dentures
Just like natural teeth, plaque can accumulate on your dentures. Removing them and cleaning them every day will keep them bright and white and prevent them from looking dirty or dull. Cleaning daily with a denture brush and soaking them in a specialized denture cleanser will help eliminate the chances of odor.
- Fill your sink with water to avoid damaging the dentures if you drop them.
- Begin by rinsing your dentures with warm water to remove any loose food particles.
- Use a cleanser specifically intended for dentures. Toothpaste, bleach, vinegar or soap may cause damage to your dentures. If your dentures get scratched, they can harbor plaque bacteria and develop an odor. Whiteners and harsh cleaners like bleach can damage the denture, and will turn the pink part of the denture white.
- Use a moistened denture brush (NOT a toothbrush) to clean all the surfaces of your denture. Brush gently – brushing too hard can damage plastic and metal parts. Use clean, warm water (NEVER hot or boiling water) to clean your dentures.
- Use fluoride toothpaste to brush your gums and natural teeth before reinserting your dentures to maintain good oral health and stimulate circulation in the mouth.
- Rinse with mouthwash after you brush 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 discuss Dentures with us at Downtown Dental – we’re glad to help!