Are you thinking about getting dentures, or are you frustrated with your current ones? Depending on how many teeth you need to have replaced, a dentist may recommend either full or partial dentures.
Traditional full dentures replace a full arch of missing teeth and are removable. The upper denture typically has an artificial palate, which helps to stabilize the denture and provide structural support.
Traditional partial dentures are removable dentures that are placed when a person still has healthy teeth. Partial dentures typically have metal claps that attach to the remaining natural teeth. Some dentists offer metal-free partial dentures.
How long do traditional dentures last?
It is a common myth that dentures last a lifetime. While their duration varies from person to person, dentures only last 5 to 8 years. This is based on the wear and tear of the dentures themselves. With with the passage of time, the bones in the jaw tend to shrink (due to bone loss), causing the dentures to become loose and wobbly.
Aside from being embarrassing, ill-fitting dentures make chewing and talking awkward and can cause irritation to gums. If you are a denture wearer, you should schedule regular check-ups so that the dentist can assess the condition of your dentures. Your dentist will determine whether your dentures should be readjusted or replaced altogether.
What are the signs that dentures need to be replaced?
Here are a few signs:
- loose, wobbly or ill-fitting dentures
- difficulty chewing or speaking
- irritated or sore gums
- chronic discomfort or pain
- chipped or cracked denture
- difficultly keeping dentures clean
- visible wear and tear to the base (pink part of denture)
How can I best take care of my dentures?
Until August of 2018, no consistent guidelines had been established for the proper care and cleaning of dentures. A thorough review of online and other sources of information on dentures had revealed a complete lack of consistency concerning the proper cleaning and maintenance of dentures.
These inconsistencies not only existed among different countries but also within single countries and among opinion leaders in the field. It was also discovered that most of the recommendations for the care of dentures were based on personal experience.
To address this issue, The Global Task Force for Care of Full Dentures was formed with the purpose of addressing conflicting information that existed across the globe on the proper care of dentures.
Why were guidelines necessary?
The Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation and member of the Task Force, Dr. Nigel Carter, outlined the main reason for developing guidelines.
The first was to handle confusion among denture wearers as to the proper care of dentures. Secondly, since poor hygiene leads to poor oral and overall health, a lack of standards for proper care of dentures was considered a potential health risk. Thirdly, with an aging population and increasing numbers of denture wearers, there was a need for correct information from reliable sources.
Guidelines for the care of dentures
The task force consisted of experts from the UK, Belgium, Japan, Netherlands, and Switzerland, most of whom were certified prosthodontists. Here is a brief summary of the four main guidelines they provided:
- Dentures should be cleaned mechanically (by hand) on a daily basis, but not with toothpastes as these typically contain abrasive substances that can scratch dentures.
- Dentures need to be soaked overnight in a denture-cleansing solution on a daily basis. The cleansing solution helps to break down any plaque build-up and can act as a disinfectant, thus keeping dentures as hygienic as possible. These cleansing solutions should only be used outside of the mouth. [*note in the US, one should seek dental cleansers with an American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.]
- Dentures should be removed while one sleeps at night unless otherwise recommended by your dentist. Removing dentures at night gives the mouth tissues a chance to rest and can prevent soreness as well as infection.
- Denture wearers should schedule regular dental visits to ensure that their mouth is healthy and that their dentures are in good shape.
The full report can be here: https://www.dentalhealth.org/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=849c336f-7cdb-4560-a90c-7302c18530d7
Drawbacks of traditional dentures
While having traditional dentures may be better than nothing, they have several drawbacks. Though they may appear to be the economical choice, in the long run, they probably aren’t.
Dentures eventually need to be replaced because wearing them can lead to bone loss, which changes the bone structure for which the denture was originally designed. Poorly fitting dentures make chewing difficult, which may result in poor nutrition and other health problems.
Another “cost” of loose, uncomfortable dentures is terms of quality of life. Ill-fitting dentures can reduce a person’s level of and confidence and happiness.
Alternatives to Traditional Dentures
Implant-supported dentures, which are either fixed permanently in the mouth or can removable for cleaning, have become increasingly popular. Implant-supported dentures have many advantages over traditional dentures in terms of stability and increased chewing power. They have also been shown to prevent bone loss in the jaw. In some cases, a person can have their dentures “stabilized” with implants so that they remain fully stable in the mouth.
Thanks to breakthrough advances, some dentists are now offering dentures that are far better-fitting and functioning than any traditional denture. Fountain of Youth® dentures were developed to be more lifelike and comfortable than traditional dentures as they are designed to accommodate the movement of the muscles, nerves and various tissues when you talk, laugh, smile or eat.
If you are in need of dentures, make an appointment with us. Dr. Siegel has worked with thousands of patients and has the experience and know-how to provide you with perfect-fitting dentures. If you have dentures that need correction, Dr. Siegel will help find the right solution for you.