Denture Questions & Answers

Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing dentures can be an overwhelming process when you have lots of questions. To help answer your questions we have compiled the most common questions we receive to help ease your mind and make your decision an informed one. Choose a category below…

  • All
  • General Denture Questions13
  • Partial Denture Questions7
  • Care & Follow up Questions9
  • All
  • General Denture Questions13
  • Partial Denture Questions7
  • Care & Follow up Questions9

Should I do anything special to care for my mouth?

Plaque removal and stimulated circulation are vital for healthy gums. We recommend that you get into the habit of removing your dentures and brushing your gums, tongue and the roof of your mouth with a very soft toothbrush once or twice a day. This contributes to the health of the tissue and the likelihood of success with your dentures. When eating, be careful not to bite off hard foods with your front teeth. This will result in irritation of the ridges and accelerate bone loss. A possibly long term effect may be that future dentures are harder to fit.

Are dentures affected by various medications?

Medications, both over-the-counter (non-prescription) and prescription can affect denture fit. For example, certain medications can cause dry mouth, a reduction of saliva in your mouth, making it difficult to swallow or chew. It is important to let your denturist know of any medications you may be taking, whether it be regularly or even occasionally.

Do I still need an annual exam with dentures?

An essential part of maintaining good oral hygiene is regular dental check-ups. Your dentures and tissues should be checked annually by your denturist. Damage to the oral tissues can occur without your being aware of it. Early detection and elimination of tissue inflammation is vital to minimize shrinkage of the supporting bone and tissue. By maintaining healthy gum tissue, your dentures will continue to fit properly.

Your denturist will also examine your mouth for looseness of the denture due to tissue changes, plaque, tartar deposits, and bite position (how evenly your teeth close together) as well as stains on the denture teeth. Your dentures remain the same, but your mouth is continually changing over time. It is important to have your denturist check on your oral condition to ensure that you maintain a well-fitting denture.

How often should I schedule denture appointments?

We will advise you about how often to visit for check-ups. Having your mouth checked on a regular basis to see if your dentures continue to fit properly is important for your overall health. We also examine your mouth for signs of oral disease, including cancer. With regular professional care, you can become one of the millions of people who wear their dentures with a smile.

Can I make minor denture adjustments or repairs?

Do not attempt to repair your dentures yourself. You can seriously damage your dentures and harm your health by trying to adjust or repair your dentures. A denture that is not made to fit properly can cause irritation and sores. A person without the proper training will not be able to reconstruct the denture. This can cause greater damage to the denture and may cause problems in your mouth. Glue should not be used on dentures. If your dentures break, crack, chip, or if one of the teeth becomes loose contact us. We can often make the necessary adjustments or repairs on the same day.

What’s the best way to clean and care for dentures?

You may use commercially available powders or tablets to clean your dentures, and a good quality denture brush. For daily brushing use dish soap or hand soap to avoid scratching the denture base. Do not use abrasive toothpastes. Hold them over a water-filled sink or a folded towel. After cleaning, rinse your dentures thoroughly in clear water. For metal partial dentures, be sure to read the instructions carefully on any cleaner that you apply. For dentures with soft liners, be sure not to exceed 20 minutes of soaking time. For smokers, a stronger professional strength cleaner may be available from your denturist. For those with plaque and tartar build-up on their dentures, see your denturist for an ultrasonic cleaning.

What not to do: avoid using boiling water, abrasive cleaners, or bleach as these will damage your dentures. For example, bleach has the ability to oxidize metal partials, turning them black. Bleach can also be absorbed into dentures, which may irritate your mouth.

Dentures can break if you drop them and warp if placed in hot water. If a denture becomes dried out, its shape may change.

Should I use a denture adhesive?

Dentures are custom made to fit your mouth and you shouldn’t need an adhesive for comfort. In an emergency, denture adhesives may be used to keep the dentures in place until you see the denturist. Long term use of a fixative can cause infections and bone loss in the jaw. Additionally, a poorly fitting denture may cause irritation and sores. This can happen if you have worn “immediate” dentures for some time. If your dentures begin to feel loose or cause pronounced discomfort, contact our office.

Should a denture be worn at night?

Generally, it is considered best to take out the complete denture at night. Studies have shown that taking out the dentures for at least eight hours during the day or night permits gum tissue to rest and allows for normal stimulation and cleansing by the tongue and saliva. This promotes better long-term health of gums.

How long should I wear my dentures?

During the first few days, you may be advised to wear the denture most of the time, including while you are asleep. After your mouth gets used to your dentures, you may be instructed to take them out before going to bed. This allows gum tissue to rest and promotes oral health. Generally, it is not desirable that the tissue be constantly covered by the denture. When you remove your dentures at night, it is best to store them in a small amount of soapy water or commercial denture cleaner to stop them from warping. This will also allow the denture to be disinfected. We will provide instructions about how long dentures should be kept in place.

Must I do anything special to take care of my mouth?

Brushing twice a day and flossing between your teeth daily help prevent tooth decay and gum disease that can lead to tooth loss. Take extra care when cleaning the teeth that fit under the denture’s metal clasps. Plaque that becomes trapped under the clasps will increase the risk of tooth decay. We will demonstrate how to properly brush and clean between teeth. Selecting a balanced diet for proper nutrition is important too.

Can I make minor adjustments/repairs to my partial denture?

A denturist constructs a partial denture to fit precisely to the shape of your mouth. Trying to adjust your partial on your own may seriously damage the partial or the remaining natural teeth. Using a do-it-yourself kit can damage the appliance. Glues sold over-the-counter often contain harmful chemicals and should not be used on a denture. If your denture no longer fits properly; if it breaks, cracks or chips; or if one of the teeth becomes loose, see your denturist immediately. In many cases, our office can make the necessary adjustments or repairs on the same day.

How do I take care of my partial denture?

Handling a partial denture requires care. It’s a good idea to stand over a folded towel or a sink of water just in case you accidentally drop the denture. Brush the denture each day to remove food deposits and plaque. Brushing your denture helps prevent the appliance from becoming stained. It’s best to use a brush that is designed for cleaning dentures. A denture brush has bristles that are arranged to fit the shape of the denture. Avoid using a brush with hard bristles, which can damage the denture.

Some people use hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid to clean their dentures, both are acceptable. Other types of household cleaners and many toothpastes are too abrasive and should not be used for cleaning your denture. At night, the denture should be placed in soaking solution or soapy water. Your denturist can recommend the proper method for keeping your denture in good shape.

Over time, adjusting the partial denture may be necessary. As you age, your mouth naturally changes, which can affect the fit of the denture. Your bone and gum ridges can recede or shrink resulting in a loose-fitting denture. Your denturist should adjust partial dentures that do not fit properly. Loose partial dentures can cause various problems, including sores or infections. See our office promptly if your denture becomes loose.

Will it be difficult to eat with a partial denture?

Replacing missing teeth with a partial should make eating a more pleasurable experience. It is recommended to start out by eating soft foods that are cut into small pieces. Try chewing on both sides of the mouth to keep even pressure on the denture. Avoid foods that are extremely sticky or hard. It is best to avoid chewing gum while you adjust to the denture.

How long should I wear the partial denture?

We will give you specific instructions about how long the partial denture should be worn and when it should be removed. Initially, we may ask you to wear your partial denture all the time. Although this may be temporarily uncomfortable, it is the quickest way to identify those denture parts that may need adjustment. If the denture puts too much pressure on a particular area, that spot will become sore. We will adjust your denture to fit more comfortably. As a general rule it is recommended that you to take the denture out of your mouth before going to bed and replace it in the morning. We will discuss the correct plan for your circumstances.

How long will it take to get used to wearing a partial denture?

For the first few weeks, your new partial denture may feel awkward or bulky. However, your mouth will eventually become accustomed to wearing it. Inserting and removing the denture will require some practice. We will provide you with instructions on how to insert and remove the denture, and how to best take care of your new partial denture. Your denture should fit into place with relative ease. Never force the partial denture into position by biting down. This could bend or break the clasps.

Why does my dentist recommend a partial denture?

It is important to maintain a healthy smile. You should replace any missing teeth. When teeth are missing, the remaining ones can change position, drifting into the surrounding space. Teeth that are out of position can damage tissues in the mouth. It may be difficult to clean thoroughly between crooked teeth. As a result, you run the risk of tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to the loss of additional teeth.

A removable partial denture fills in the space created by missing teeth. It also helps you to properly chew food, which is a difficult task when you are missing teeth. Removable partial dentures consist of a metal framework with plastic teeth and gum areas. The framework includes metal clasps or other attachments such as precision attachments that hold the denture in place.

My upper denture fits fine, so why am I having problems with my lower denture?

The upper denture generally forms a suction due to the coverage of the roof of the mouth which allows a more stable base for an upper denture. There is much less gum support in the lower jaw, and the lower denture may feel wobbly as it has to be balanced between your cheeks and tongue. After a little while you will learn the shape of your new denture and how to keep it in place.

Will my dentures need to be replaced?

Eventually, dentures will need to be relined, rebased, or replaced due to normal wear. Dentures may need to be replaced due to changes in the mouth that occur naturally over time. Bone and gum ridges can recede or shrink, causing jaws to align differently. Shrinking ridges can cause dentures to fit loosely. Poorly fitting dentures can cause health problems including sores and infections. A loose denture also makes chewing more difficult and may change your facial features. It’s important to replace worn or poorly fitting dentures before they cause problems.

Should relined dentures still fit loosely?

There are many reasons dentures can seem loose. For example, if the teeth don’t come together in a balanced bite, your dentures will tip or rock when chewing food. If the denture is extended too deep into the soft tissue or infringing into the muscles, the muscles will actually move the denture about while eating or talking. If the denture is too short, the key areas of the mouth won’t be covered, which means the denture won’t stay in place. The amount of bone structure in your mouth and the amount of saliva you produce may affect the fit of your denture. Loose dentures could also be the result of health issues.

Will a reline make my dentures as good as new?

If your denture teeth are very worn or if the bite relationship of your dentures is not correct, you may experience looseness and/or irritation of your mouth. Relining the denture will not correct these problems. A reline has nothing to do with how the teeth come together. It only corrects the fit against the tissues of your mouth. Our office can evaluate the condition of your dentures and determine if a reline is the best course of treatment.

Can I replace the lower denture or upper denture only?

It is always recommended that the upper and lower dentures be made as a set for the best results. It is not possible for the new denture teeth to accommodate the existing older denture because it will lead to the grinding of the new teeth to match wear on the older denture. This will also prevent the ability to create a balanced bite allowing a stable denture for chewing.

How long do dentures last?

Your dentures will not last indefinitely. Even with conscientious care, denture teeth can lose their natural appearance and chewing ability due to chewing, brushing, and age. Replacement should occur every five to ten years. The tissue in your mouth undergoes constant change. Therefore your dentures will require adjustments and relining periodically in order to continue to fit perfectly. It is important to visit our office at least once every year so that any corrective measures may be taken and avoid serious problems. Be sure to see your denturist at the first sign of persistent irritation no matter how minor you feel it might be.

What is a post-immediate denture?

Post-immediate dentures are usually made 3 weeks to 3 months after the natural teeth have been extracted. As the healing process continues, the oral tissue in your mouth (gum and bone) will continue to become smaller and temporary liners or tissue conditioners may be required to ensure a comfortable fit.

During the healing period, postoperative instructions from our office must be followed. Regular check-ups and maintenance are required to ensure healing. The healing of the bone takes approximately six months to one year. After one year, the post-immediate denture will require a permanent reline or rebase to change the fitting surface of the denture to accommodate the changes.

What is an immediate denture?

Immediate dentures are just that – immediate. They are made prior to the extraction and can be inserted immediately after the removal of all teeth. To make this possible, the denturist takes measurements, impressions and models of the patient’s jaws during a preliminary visit.

Immediate dentures are a temporary measure so that the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. As the healing process occurs, the oral tissue in your mouth (gum and bone) will shrink to a much smaller size due to the closing of the tooth sockets. This contraction of oral tissue may require you to have several adjustments made to your immediate dentures. Temporary liners or tissue conditioners may be required to ensure a comfortable fit.

During the healing period, postoperative instruction from our office must be followed. Regular check-ups and maintenance are required to ensure ideal healing. The healing of the bone takes approximately six months to one year. After one year, the immediate denture will require a permanent reline or rebase to change the fitting surface or the denture to accommodate the changes.

What is a replacement denture?

Often patients have been wearing dentures for many years. Eventually all dentures wear out and the mouth changes. Wearing down of the tooth surfaces combined with changes in the bone and gums supporting the denture result in a need for replacement. With proper care, your dentures should remain serviceable for five to ten years.

Will dentures change how I speak?

The pronunciation of certain words may require practice. It will help to read out loud and repeat troublesome words. Occasionally, your dentures may slip while you laugh, cough or smile. Reposition your dentures by biting down and swallowing.

Will I be able to eat with my dentures?

While not all denture wearers can eat everything they would like, most have very few restrictions in their diet. Eating will take a little practice. Begin with soft foods cut into small pieces. It is important to chew slowly using both sides of your mouth at the same time. This will prevent the dentures from tipping. As you become more comfortable with chewing, add more foods until you return to your regular diet. Continue to chew food using both sides of your mouth at the same time. Be cautious with hot or hard foods and sharp-edged bones or shells.

Will dentures change my appearance?

Dentures can be made to closely resemble your natural teeth so that little change in appearance will be noticeable. Dentures may even improve the look of your smile and help fill out the appearance of your face and profile.

What is it like to wear a denture?

When transitioning from natural teeth to a denture or to replacement dentures you may experience an awkwardness for the first few weeks until you become accustomed to them. The dentures may feel loose while the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place. It is not uncommon to experience minor irritation or soreness. There may be an increase in saliva flow. As your mouth becomes accustomed to the dentures, these problems should diminish. Follow-up appointments are generally needed after a denture is inserted. To correct any irritation or soreness, contact our office.

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