Dentures are prosthetic devices used to replace missing teeth. They are supported by the gums, palate, underlying bone and in some cases prepared roots and dental implants. Tooth loss is not a consequence of aging, if the teeth and gums are kept healthy they can last a lifetime. It must be remembered that dentures are not a substitute for teeth, they are a substitute for no teeth and cannot be expected to work as well as natural teeth, much like an artificial limb cannot be expected to function like a natural one. In saying that, modern techniques of denture fabrication can create prosthesis that not only look almost indistinguishable from natural teeth but function incredibly well and allow the patient to have a similar diet to individuals with natural teeth. Recent studies have shown that implant or root retained dentures, especially lower dentures have significant advantages over regular dentures. For this reason, we always offer this as a treatment option when dentures are necessary. The video on the right hand side of the page gives a visual description of some of the possible implant retained denture procedures.
On receiving a new pair of dentures, there is always going to be a period of adjustment. The mouth may feel more "full" then usual and the surrounding muscles will need to learn the necessary motions to help retain the dentures. Speaking with the new dentures is usually not a major problem if the dentures are properly made and learned quickly enough with a bit of practice. Eating with dentures is possibly the most difficult skill to master. Some patients will learn in 3-4 weeks where others may take 6-12 months, the key to success being perseverance. Patients are advised to start with soft foods like boiled eggs, soft cooked vegetables and tender ground meat, graduating to harder foods as you begin to feel confident with your dentures.
Dentures should be left out of the mouth for 6-8 hours each day. Therefore it is recommended that denture patients sleep without their dentures. Leaving the dentures out of the mouth allows a normal flow of blood to the tissues covered by the dentures and allows the tongue and saliva to exert a cleaning effect on the tissues. When out of the mouth, dentures should be kept in water or a denture cleansing solution such as Sterident.
Dentures should be cleaned each morning, after each meal and before bed. The easiest way to clean your dentures is to brush them with warm water and Fairy Liquid. At night, soaking dentures in immersion cleaners such as Sterident or Milton cleans areas that cannot be cleansed with a brush, eliminates odours from the denture and loosens up stains so they can be removed by brushing.