At The Berkshire Dental Laboratory in Reading we have many years of experience and expertise when it comes to new dentures and provide an excellent after care service. The main questions that patients ask are ‘Should I take my teeth out at night?’ and ‘What is the best way to clean my dentures?’ and ‘How should I store my spare pair of dentures?’
Should I take my teeth out at night?
It is advisable to take your teeth out at night as this gives your gums a chance to recover and rest. Your denture is basically plastic and has absorbent properties so it will soak up the bacteria in your mouth. Whilst you may be advised to wear your new denture almost constantly during the first two weeks it is considered best practice to remove it at night. Research has shown that removing the denture for at least eight hours during a 24 hour period allows the gum tissue to rest and the roof of your mouth to breathe and allows normal stimulation and cleansing by the tongue and saliva. This helps maintain healthy gums. I have experienced a client who required an emergency repair after his lower set came out whilst sleeping and he rolled over it so there is a another reason not to wear them at night!
I do have some patients who say they can’t sleep without their teeth in because it feels strange or they snore or they just feel too self conscious not to leave them in. If this is the case I usually suggest they remove their teeth for as long as is possible every day, perhaps when in the shower or getting dressed. Your dentures should be carefully cleaned each day so this could be an opportunity to give them a brush and put them in a cleaning solution. Taking them out for periods of time each day, in conjunction with good oral hygiene, helps reduce the risk of getting infections.
What is the best way to clean my dentures?
When you clean your original teeth you are advised to start at the same point and work your way round, cleaning all the surfaces of each tooth, twice a day. Well a denture is no different! Get a good brush, the ones specially designed for dentures are best. To be effective your toothbrush needs to be changed every 3-6 months or when the bristles become splayed out. Brush the polished side and the area that fits against your gums, paying particular attention to all those spaces between the teeth and other hard to reach parts.
For brushing, a good liquid soap or washing up liquid is very effective, it cleans your dishes so why not your denture! Denture cream and toothpaste are also good. Toothpaste can be a little abrasive but, in my experience, with dentures made from modern acrylics and brushed gently with a soft brush, it does little damage. Denture soak tablets can work well, but they do have a tendency to bleach the colour from the acrylic, so please ensure you read the instructions carefully.
There are ultra sonic cleaners on the market that will help with cleaning your denture. They work by causing little shock waves that disturb and remove any debris and you can use your usual denture cleaner with them.
Using a disclosing tablet is a good way of telling if you are cleaning the whole surface and not missing any areas. After you have cleaned your denture just pop it in a cup with a disclosing tablet then any areas you have missed will be highlighted. This will help you to ensure the whole denture is thoroughly clean.
For a deep clean that you can do at home fill a container with half cool tap water and half white vinegar or baking soda. Give the combination a mix and leave the dental appliances in the container for 20 – 30 minutes, finally brush as usual. The tartar that builds up on your dentures is a lot like limescale so this will help soften it up before brushing.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Remember to rinse your dentures before placing them back into your mouth or you will be left with an unpleasant taste in your mouth!
Of course you can visit us at the Laboratory for a polish. A high gloss surface prevents food sticking to them and keeps them in tip top shape.
How will I know when I need new dentures?
Over time our facial features change which makes the fit of the denture change and it can become uncomfortable or unnatural looking.
Dentures are used every day so they get worn. This is particularly noticeable on the back teeth as they become flat and smooth.
As a rule of thumb if your dentures are over 8 years old it could be time to consider a new set.
Most denture wearers require a reline every 2-3 years as the fit deteriorates. Relining means the fitted surface of the denture is resurfaced.
It is always better to get a new set before the old set becomes completely worn and unwearable as you then have a good spare.
How should I store my spare pair of dentures?
I often hear that you should leave your dentures in water to prevent warpage but in my experience they don’t warp it is more that the mouth changes slightly. We have had study dentures in the Lab for years out of water with little or no effect on the plastic. I would advise you give your spare set a really good clean, pat them dry and put them in a plastic tub so they don’t get broken. Always keep your dentures in a good storage box out of the way when not in use. I have a steady stream of patients with dentures that need repairing or replacing as the family dog has taken an interest in them!
And finally …
I would like to draw your attention to something interesting I often see. When looking at a set of dentures that have a very worn tooth surface and, when looking at them in the mouth and being unable to repeat a position that would cause this wear, I ask the patient if they eat mints. They invariably say yes and ask how I know, I say mint abuse!
Eucalyptus oil is used in a lot of mints and it will act as an acrylic solvent so you often get the contact between the teeth worn away in an unusual manner.
To find out more about our range of services contact BDL on 0118 979 7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.