If you're like most people who are learning
about dentures, you probably have many questions. Dentures have been around for
many years. The earliest form of denture was introduced more than 2,000 years
ago. Today, dentures are of better quality and are more comfortable than ever
Replacing missing teeth has substantial benefits for
your health and your appearance. A complete denture, also
called a full denture, replaces all the natural teeth and
provides support for cheeks and lips. Without this
support, sagging facial muscles can make a person appear
older. And by replacing missing teeth, dentures improve a
person's ability to speak and to eat.
Here are answers to a few common questions about
What's the difference
between conventional dentures and immediate dentures?
Complete dentures are called "conventional"
or "immediate" according to when they are made
and when they are inserted into the mouth. Conventional
dentures are made and inserted after the remaining teeth
are removed and the tissues have healed. Healing may take
Immediate dentures are inserted immediately after the
removal of the remaining teeth. To make this possible, the
dentist takes measurements and makes the models of the
patient's jaws during a preliminary visit.
An advantage of immediate dentures is that the wearer
does not have to be without teeth during the healing
period. However, bones and gums can shrink over time,
especially during the period of healing in the first six
months after the removal of teeth. When gums shrink,
immediate dentures may require rebasing or relining to fit
What is an
An overdenture is one that fits over a small number of
remaining natural teeth that have been prepared by the
dentist. The prepared teeth provide stability and support
for the denture. Your dentist can determine if an
overdenture would be suitable for you.
What will dentures feel
New dentures may feel awkward for a 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 unusual to experience minor irritation or
soreness. You may find that saliva flow temporarily
increases. As your mouth becomes accustomed to the
dentures, these problems should diminish. One or more
follow-up appointments with the dentist are generally
needed after a denture is inserted. If any problem
persists, particularly irritation or soreness, be sure to
consult your dentist.
Will dentures make me
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
Will I be able to eat with my
Eating will take a little practice. Start with soft
foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides
of your mouth at the same time to prevent the dentures
from tipping. As you become accustomed to chewing, add
other foods until you return to your normal diet.
Continue to chew food using both sides of the mouth at
the same time. Be cautious with hot or hard foods and
sharp-edged bones or shells.
Will dentures change how I
Pronouncing certain words may require practice. Reading
out loud and repeating troublesome words will help. If
your dentures "click" while you're talking,
speak more slowly.
You may find that your dentures occasionally slip when
you laugh, cough or smile. Reposition the dentures by
gently biting down and swallowing. If a speaking problem
persists, consult your dentist.
How long should I wear my
Your dentist will provide instructions about how long
dentures should be kept in place. During the first few
days, you may be advised to wear them most of the time,
including while you sleep. After the initial adjustment
period, you may be instructed to remove the dentures
before going to bed. This allows gum tissues to rest and
promotes oral health. Generally, it is not desirable that
the tissues be constantly covered by denture material.
Should I use a denture
Dentures are made to fit precisely and usually do not
require use of an adhesive for comfort. In an emergency,
denture adhesives can be used to keep the dentures stable
until you see the dentist, but prolonged use can mask
infections and cause bone loss in the jaw. Likewise, a
poorly-fitting denture, which causes constant irritation
over a long period, may contribute to the development of
sores. If your dentures begin to feel loose, or cause
pronounced discomfort, see your dentist immediately.
How do I take care of my
Dentures are very delicate and may break if dropped
even a few inches. Stand over a folded towel or a basin of
water when handling dentures. When you are not wearing
them, store your dentures away from children and pets.
Like natural teeth, dentures must be brushed daily to
remove food deposits and plaque. Brushing helps prevent
dentures from becoming permanently stained and helps your
mouth stay healthy. It's best to use a brush designed for
cleaning dentures. A toothbrush with soft bristles can
also be used. Avoid using hard-bristled brushes that can
Some denture wearers use hand soap or mild dishwashing
liquid, which are both acceptable for cleaning dentures.
Avoid using other powdered household cleansers, which may
be too abrasive.
The first step in cleaning dentures is to rinse away
loose food particles thoroughly. Moisten the brush and
apply denture cleanser. Brush every surface, scrubbing
gently to avoid damage.
Dentures may lose their shape if they are allowed to
dry out. When they are not worn, dentures should be placed
in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in water. Your
dentist can recommend the best method. Never place
dentures in hot water, which could cause them to warp.
Ultrasonic cleaners are also used to care for dentures.
However, using an ultrasonic cleaner does not replace a
thorough daily brushing.
Can I make minor
adjustments or repairs to my dentures?
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.
See your dentist if your dentures break, crack, chip,
or if one of the teeth becomes loose. A dentist can often
make the necessary adjustments or repairs on the same day.
A person who lacks 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
sold over-the-counter often contains harmful chemicals and
should not be used on dentures.
Will my dentures need to be
Over time, dentures will need to be relined, remade or
rebased due to normal wear. To make a rebased denture, the
dentists uses the existing denture teeth and makes a new
denture base. Dentures may need to be replaced because a
mouth naturally changes with age. Bone and gum ridges can
recede or shrink, causing jaws to align differently.
Shrinking ridges can cause dentures to fit less securely.
Loose 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.
Must I do anything
special to care for my mouth?
Even with full dentures, you still need to take good
care of your mouth. Every morning, brush your gums, tongue
and palate with a soft-bristled brush before you put in
your dentures. This removes plaque and stimulates
circulation in the mouth. Selecting a balanced diet for
proper nutrition is also important for maintaining a
How often should I
schedule dental appointments?
Your dentist will advise you about how often to visit.
Regular dental check-ups are important. The dentist will
examine your mouth to see if your dentures continue to fit
properly. The dentist also examines your mouth for signs
of oral diseases including cancer
With regular professional care, a positive attitude and
persistence, you can become one of the millions of people
who wear their dentures with a smile.
Produced with the cooperation of
The American College of Prosthodontists