Well-fitting dentures take time to create, so although dentures can be made in a day, you may be trading off time spent for a good fit. A good fit often means you’ll get better use out of them.
An exam by a dentist followed by accurate impressions is key to a good fit. (Sometimes we need customized trays to get a good, accurate impression).
Most offices use a dental laboratory to help make the dentures. Since the dental lab doesn’t see you (the patient), they need to know how your jaws relate to each other. So your next step will be a bite registration with wax rims. (Note: The wax rims do not fit as well as the final product.) The dental lab then sets up the denture teeth in wax so we can show them to you and make sure they both fit and look good. (Again, the wax base may not hold quite as well as the final product will.) If you’ve been counting, you’ll see that this is a minimum of 4 appointments which will be spaced a week or two apart.
Sometimes your own mouth shape (or dental anatomy) makes fit a challenge. Your jawbone shrinks over time when there are no teeth, leaving a shorter height and flatter surface to support your denture. In these cases, dental implants to help hold the denture in place might be the answer. Dental implants keep bone from shrinking as well as providing an attachment for denture.Dental Implants FAQs, Fixed Dentures in the Dear Doctor Video library can tell you more about this option.
Your gag reflex can be a contraindication to wearing dentures. Upper dentures need to use the roof of your mouth as surface area for a good seal. If you have a sensitive gag reflex, a denture may trigger it. Having dental implants to help secure your denture may mean you can have less material on the roof of your mouth.
Dentures that don’t fit well or aren’t cleaned properly are more at risk for fungal infection (also known as Candida or Thrush).
Some tips for caring for your dentures:
- Remove your dentures for at least 6 hours each day (most people do this while sleeping). Your mouth loses healing potential as you age and it can’t compensate for the trauma that dentures cause. It needs the “rest” of not having dentures in.
- Don’t let your dentures dry out. Soak them in water or another fluid designed for soaking dentures when you are not wearing them.
- Clean your dentures with a toothbrush and a liquid soap once each day. Clean them over a sink partially filled with water or a thick, folded towel to cushion them if they fall.
- Stimulate your gums with a soft toothbrush once a day for at least 2 min. don’t forget the tongue and the roof of your mouth.
- Replace your dentures about every 5 years. They suffer wear and tear. Dentures that don’t fit well can cause your bone to resorb at a quicker rate.
- Visit your dentist for a checkup at least once a year. Denture wearers are more susceptible to fungal infections.
Note: Information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare provider.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist with an office in Lorain, Ohio.
1612 Cooper Foster Park Rd.
Lorain, OH 44053