Tips to choose, wear and care for your dentures by Dr Lai Juen Bin, Head and Senior Consultant at the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Changi General Hospital.
Do you wear dentures? If you do, you are not alone. Many denture wearers regard these removable appliances as a part of their lives they would like to ignore. However, your dentures also need constant care, just like contact lenses, beauty accessories and make-up.
Choosing your dentures
Although your dentist will recommend what’s best for you, you need to inform him what your needs are so that you get dentures that fit you well. Ill-fitting dentures can cause various problems with speech or eating. Also remember that the
same set of dentures is not meant to last a lifetime; you may need to reline them or get new dentures as and when necessary, for instance, when your gums recede or when your dentures break or chip.
- See your dentist regularly, just like you did when you had natural teeth.
- Ignore long-term gum pain or soreness. This may be caused by dentures that don’t fit properly, so ask your dentist to check them.
- Inform your dentist if you are on any medication that may give you a dry mouth.
- Try to repair your dentures yourself if they are giving you trouble. You could do more damage.
- Change your dentures when necessary. An average set of dentures has a lifespan of about five years.
Using your dentures
When you are introduced to a set of dentures for the first time, it
will take a few days to get accustomed to them. Your dentist may recommend that you wear them continuously for the first few days. Once you are used to them, you may remove them at night to rest your gum tissues.
- Practise talking in front of the mirror until you are confident with your dentures.
- Drink hot water as it may damage your dentures.
- Give yourself time to adapt to eating different types of food. Harder and bigger-sized foods may need to be eaten more slowly and carefully.
- Let your dentures affect your life – you can live a full life, even with dentures.
- Ensure you get sufficient nutrition if you find yourself eating less after wearing dentures.
- Eat with both sides of the mouth to even out usage.
Loose dentures are a common problem for people who wear a full set, especially if they have worn them for a long time. If you have loose dentures or are unable to adapt to denture wearing, do not despair. You can ask your dental surgeon about implant-supported dentures to make your denture-wearing experience more comfortable.
Cleaning tips for dentures
Dentures need to be
cleaned as regularly as natural teeth to prevent problems such as bad breath and staining. Plaque can also grow on your dentures, affecting their appearance. So keep your smile perfect via diligent maintenance of your dentures.
- Brush your dentures daily to remove food deposits and prevent staining.
- Clean or soak your dentures in hot water as it will cause warping.
- Stand over a folded towel or basin of water when removing or cleaning your dentures to prevent breakage in case you accidentally drop them.
- Clean your dentures with regular toothpaste as it contains ingredients that are abrasive to dentures. Use a denture cleanser instead.
- Keep them soaked in water or a denture cleanser when not in use to prevent them from drying out.