Care of Partial Dentures
A partial denture is made to replace one or multiple teeth missing on either the upper or lower jaws. A partial denture is usually held in by clasps that are secured to nearby natural healthy teeth. Partial dentures are usually made of either acrylic, metal (cobalt chrome) or a combination of both depending on the best option your dentist recommends for you.
Below are some helpful suggestions to make sure you look after your partial dentures in the best way possible.
Insertion and Removal
Your Dentist will show you how to insert and remove your new dentures. Make sure you can do this properly before leaving the surgery. At home, using a mirror can help to guide you with inserting and removing your new dentures. Your dentures will only fit in one way. Never use force.
Your mouth will need time to adapt to your new dentures even if you have worn dentures before. They may feel different and uncomfortable in the beginning, but just like a new pair of shoes they need time to “wear themselves in”. Your speech may be altered in the beginning but it will return to normal once you are used to wearing the new dentures. Certain words may initially be more difficult to pronounce than others, such as words starting with “s” “f” and “c”.
Eating may initially be difficult as well. Start with eating soft foods (eg. steamed vegetables), taking small bites and chewing slowly. Try to bite with your own teeth rather than the artificial teeth on your denture. Chew on both sides of the mouth and bite at the corners rather than on the front teeth. This will balance the denture while eating and means your denture is less likely to move around.
Dentures should be removed before going to bed. This allows your mouth to rest and gives the gum tissues time to breath. Clean your dentures thoroughly and place them back in their box or in a glass of water. Removing your dentures at night may also prevent you from unconsciously grinding your teeth at night and therefore wearing out your dentures.
Your Oral Hygiene
Oral hygiene is extremely important as just like natural teeth plaque, staining and calculus can build up on your denture and bacterial or fungal infections occur on the surrounding tissues. Brush and floss your teeth twice daily as well as brushing and rinsing your denture, gums and tongue to help prevent build up and infection. Stagnation of food and plaque on the denture surfaces abutting the natural teeth places them at a higher than normal risk of decay.
At times the gum tissue under your dentures may become painful or uncomfortable. Schedule an appointment to see your dentist for a denture adjustment. You may remove your dentures if the pain is unbearable but it is extremely important to wear your denture for one day before your dental appointment as this will help the dentist see the area where adjustments are needed.
Your dentures should be cleaned after every meal to ensure they are free from bacteria and plaque. When cleaning your denture use a soft brush or toothbrush and hold it over a towel or basin of water to cushion the fall in case you drop it. Brush both the inside and outside surfaces of your denture with either a toothpaste or warm soapy water.
If tarter build up is noticed and is not being successfully removed, make an appointment with your dentist to have your dentures professionally cleaned. Do not use hot water, kitchen detergents, abrasives, laundry bleaches, methylated spirits or antiseptics. Even after wearing your dentures for months or years they may need to be adjusted, clasps/clips may need tightening and dentures may need relining (new fitting surface) as your mouth continues to change.
If you damage or break your denture, stop wearing it immediately and schedule an appointment with your dentist. Do not tamper with your dentures, glue pieces back together or modify the clasps in any way as it may result in permanent damage to your denture.