Types of dentures
Dentures are used to replace missing teeth due to tooth decay, gum disease, or trauma. Dentures are designed to look like natural teeth.
A full denture is worn by people who have all their teeth removed from the top or bottom jaws or both. A full denture is made of acrylic.
A partial denture is a removable acrylic plate with teeth attached to replace one or more missing teeth. The denture is held in place with metal clasps that rest on some of the remaining teeth.
Wearing new dentures
If you are wearing new dentures:
- It may take several weeks before your dentures feel comfortable, allow yourself time to adjust.
- If you are wearing dentures for the first time, they will feel different to your natural teeth.
- New dentures will feel different to your old dentures.
- You may find you produce more saliva than usual, but this will settle with time.
You may find it more difficult to eat when wearing new dentures. While you adjust, it can help if you:
- Eat soft foods.
- Chew using both sides of your mouth as equal pressure will help to keep the denture in position.
- Cut food into smaller portions, let the knife and fork do the work for you.
- Rinse your denture and mouth with water after eating.
You can maintain good oral health by keeping your dentures, any remaining natural teeth and mouth clean.
Like natural teeth, dentures attract plaque, can get stained and collect food particles that cause bad breath and irritate gums.
Cleaning your dentures
To clean your dentures each day:
- Remove your dentures first.
- Place a face washer in the bottom of the basin or hold your dentures over a plastic container so they don’t break if you drop them.
- Brush your dentures with a soft brush morning and night.
- Use soap and cold water, then rinse well.
- If you have a partial denture, take care not to bend the clasps.
- Rest your gums at night by leaving your dentures out.
- Clean your dentures and leave them in cold water overnight.
- Brush your gums and tongue.
- Brush any remaining natural teeth with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste morning and night.
In addition, you can keep your dentures clean and in good condition by soaking them once a week in water and white vinegar (half and half) for three to four hours, or in water with a denture tablet. (Note: brush and rinse your dentures before and after soaking).
Denture pressure or sore spots
If your denture is causing pressure or sore spots:
- Contact your dental clinic to see if your dentures may need adjusting.
- Do not attempt to adjust the denture yourself.
- Rinse your mouth with warm salty water.
- Leave your denture out as much as possible.
- Ask your dentist or pharmacist about gel for pain.
- Wear your dentures for 24 hours prior to the dental appointment so sore spots are more easily identified by the dentist.
- Contact the dental clinic if ulcers do not heal after 10 to 14 days.
If your denture is not fitting well, you can ask your dentist or pharmacist about adhesive products that may help stabilise the denture.