Most people would be surprised to discover that the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends replacing a denture every 5 to 7 years. Although dentures are durable, they won't last forever and as dentures age they become more porous and capable of housing harmful and odor causing bacteria. The side effects associated with wearing dentures older than 7 years are numerous and range from accelerated resorption of the gums, to headaches and bad breathe. Since the mouth is in a constant state of change a replacement denture every 5-7 years also helps to maintain a healthy natural appearance.
Caring For Your Dentures
Your dentist is the most qualified person to tell you when your dentures need replacing. An annual checkup with your dentist, who will inspect and clean your dentures, can prevent many problems from getting out of hand. Following are just some of the signs that indicate your denture needs attention:
- Does not adhere to your gums as well as it used to; softening of the gum
- Loose fitting; does not cut food very well; more laborious chewing
- Causes discomfort or pain; headaches, ear aches, neck pain and joint problems
- "Crumpled" mouth; prematurely old face
Proper denture care is very important. Denture wearers should rest their mouth daily by removing their prosthesis overnight, whenever possible. Our staff is trained to support you in proper denture care. We recommend a thorough exam of both your dentures and the tissues that support your dentures each and every year.
Soft Liners (For Sensitive Ridges)
Occasionally, no matter what measures are taken to adjust the fit of your dentures, they become loose shortly after adjustment and wearing them causes discomfort and pain. Usually, what causes this to happen is the result of gum resorption. Gum resorption occurs through the natural process of aging, or after natural teeth have been extracted. The bone that used to hold your natural teeth begins to retreat taking the upper and lower denture along for the ride. A soft based denture will usually help to alleviate the discomfort associated with wearing your dentures during the resorption process.
Normally used for discomfort of the lower gum, a soft liner is installed through a heating process directly into the lining of the denture. Made of a more porous material, the soft base adheres better to whatever remains of your gum, provides more stability for your denture and is less of an irritant to your gum tissue.
It's important to remember that the soft base will not stop the resorption process. In fact, the shape and thickness of your gum will continue to change over time. As such, to ensure that your soft base denture continues to provide support over time, you should have them checked at least yearly and replaced when necessary. Your dentist will also be able to recommend effective cleaning products for the more porous lining material that can be more difficult to clean.
Relines (Same Day)
The denture you are wearing today was made and adjusted to fit your mouth at a particular time in your life. As mentioned above, through the process of resorption, your mouth changes considerably over time. A reline is a procedure used to re-fit the surface of a denture to any changes that have occurred. This is done by placing a new acrylic base into the denture, thus duplicating the new shape of the oral structures in the mouth. A reline can bring back suction, comfort and stability, and will help prevent food from going under the denture.
A reline is usually required every two to three years and is performed on the day you visit the office. Those who wait too long to reline their dentures are at a greater risk of experiencing a condition known as papillary hyperplasia. Papillary hyperplasia is an overgrowth of tissue that occurs in an attempt to fill in the gaps caused by ill fitting dentures. Although this sounds desirable, the tissue is too soft and flabby to provide adequate support and stability for the denture. Unless surgically removed, even a new denture will experience stability problems when placed over this flabby tissue.
The ideal denture brush has soft bristles and can reach every crevice in your denture. For cleaning, use a non-abrasive paste or gel, or even a mild soap is appropriate. Gently brush your denture over its entire surface after every meal. Pay particular attention to the interproximal spaces (between the teeth) and to the areas that come in contact with your gums.
Brushing too vigorously, using an abrasive paste or gel, or using a hard bristle brush can lead to the dulling of your artificial teeth, premature wear and tear of your dentures, or the thinning of its acrylic lining. Scratched denture material is more difficult to maintain due to the ease at which it becomes stained from trapped food particles.
We also recommend that you gently brush your tongue, your gums and the roof of your mouth with a moistened, soft-bristle brush. This daily massage stimulates your circulation, tones your gum tissue and rids the mouth of bacteria.
You should always brush your dentures over a sink full of water or one that is lined with a facecloth or towel. This will help to prevent damage if you accidentally drop your denture during the cleaning process.
Rinsing, Polishing and Soaking
Always rinse your denture thoroughly under warm water before putting it back in your mouth or placing it in soaking solution. Making this a habit will help prevent you from inadvertently swallowing any residual cleaning solution, and will help you avoid contaminating your soaking solution. We recommend that you rinse your mouth frequently to eliminate bacteria. This will also help to keep your breath fresher for a longer period of time.
Using specialized buffing tools, the dentist or denture lab technician can polish your denture to restore its original glossy finish, while eliminating the tough stains that elude regular maintenance. An economical procedure that takes only a few minutes to complete, polishing is recommended once or twice a year as needed.
Prolonged exposure to air can cause the material that is used to make your denture become discolored, dry and brittle. As such, when you remove your denture for the night, place it in a covered receptacle that is filled with warm water or a special soaking solution that is made for this purpose. Never use bleach to clean or soak your denture. Bleach can weaken the structure of the denture and discolor the acrylic.
Contact our office for more information about Dentures.