Frequently Asked Questions about Dentures Faqs
How long can I have my dentures?
Dentures typically last anywhere from 5-10 years. Even though your teeth are gone, your mouth and gums will continue to change shape for the rest of your life. Because dentures are artificial, obviously, they will not change with the shape of your mouth, and you will them replaced or adjusted. Also, make sure you see your regular dentist annually at least, so as to avoid any major problems you cannot identify yourself.
How much do dentures cost?
Fortunately, dentures have become so main stream that it's very possible to find a reasonable price for them. Check with your dentist first. He or she knows you and your mouth best. If your dentists' quote is too high for you, there are several reliable denture chains who may be able to offer you a lower price.
Will dentures make me look different?
Today, the technology behind prosthodontics has become so advanced that you probably will barely notice a difference in your appearance. Each set of dentures is personalized to your gums, lips, tongue…your whole mouth. Additionally, before you're given your permanent dentures, molds are made in wax for you to try them on and see how they look. The only difference in appearance you might have is the absence of decaying teeth, and the appearance of a healthy, beautiful looking smile.
Will dentures affect the way I speak?
Getting dentures for the first time is an adjustment, to say the least. There are many things you're going to have to practice a little to truly master – and speaking is one. Don't worry – it's not like relearning how to speak completely. You may experience some lisping at first, but it shouldn't take long to re-teach your tongue and lips where they go to regain you original speech patterns.
Will dentures affect the way I eat?
Again, it's all an adjustment. Yes, you may have some difficulty at first, but you've spent a lifetime learning a particular way of eating. Now, you'll just need to tweak it a little. Because your natural teeth are rooted deep in your mouth, you tear your food away from its source. Picture biting into a piece of fruit. Normally, you would tear the piece you want to eat right away from the rest of the fruit. With dentures, you will learn how to bite into the food, and not pull your head away until it is already in your mouth. A small adjustment, but it will take some practice.
How do I clean my dentures?
Like teeth, a dentist will recommend brushing your dentures after every meal. Obviously, this is not always a practical option. But you should clean your dentures as soon after you eat as possible. Take the dentures out and hold with your thumb and forefinger. Make sure wherever you're cleaning them, it's never over a hard surface. Put a towel down on the vanity, or make sure the sink is full of water. If you drop them, they won't break. Get a good denture brush and denture cleaner, both available in every day drugstores and brush thoroughly, as you would if the teeth were in your mouth. Avoid using bleaching agents, as they will discolor the pink acrylic for the gum line.
Should my dentures come out at night?
Probably. But check with your dentist. If your dentures are not in your mouth, there is usually extra care you should be taking with them – and you want to make sure you fully understand what that care is. You've spent too much on your dentures to not double check with your dentist.
Why go to a Denturist?
Replacing your natural teeth is more than trusting someone with your smile…Your appearance, your looks, your whole image is at stake. Make sure you entrust this delicate task to a specially trained professional!
Your Denturist is an expert in design, construction, insertion and adjustment of removable dentures as well as overdentures on implants.
Their expertise, meticulousness and professionalism make them the best possible choice to help you derive the maximum benefit from dental prosthetics technology. "Denturist's are your denture specialists".
What's so different about going to a Denturist verses other dental professionals?
Your Denturist listens to your needs. They personally handle every step in the construction of your denture: from the first impression to the last adjustment. There is no middleman in the fabrication of your new denture. The Denturist has an on site laboratory to produce your personalized dentures.
Your Denturist is the ideal person to instruct you in the daily maintenance of your denture. He can also tell you how often your denture should be adjusted in order to ensure the comfort, effectiveness and aesthetic appearance that you expect. After all Denturists just make Dentures and Related Removable Appliances.
How long do Dentures last?
Your dentures will not last indefinitely. The denture teeth and base will wear and stain over time. The tissues of the mouth are undergoing continual change so that the dentures will have to be adjusted, rebased or remade from time to time. This time will vary and depend upon such factors as individual tolerances, habits and the length of time you have had dentures. The average life of a denture is about five to seven years.
Your Denturist is sensitive to your well-being and to the general condition of your dentures. Your Denturist also has the experience and expertise to advise you on your best treatment plan and how to proceed.
Now I have dentures I don't need an annual exam, do I?
Your dentures and tissues should be checked annually. Damage to the oral tissues can take place without your being aware of it. Early detection and elimination of tissue inflammation is important to minimize shrinkage of the supporting bone and tissue. By keeping the tissue healthy your dentures will continue to fit correctly.
Your Denturist will also check for looseness of the denture due to tissue changes, stains and calculus deposits on the denture, your bite position (how evenly your teeth close together). It's not the dentures which change over time, it's your mouth which is continually changing so by having your Denturist check on your oral condition, you are able to enjoy all the benefits of a well fitting quality denture.
How do you clean your dentures?
When cleaning your dentures, you should first rinse away loose food particles thoroughly. Then moisten your toothbrush and apply denture cleanser. Brush every surface, scrubbing gently to avoid damage.
How many times a day does the denture need to be cleaned?
The denture needs to be cleaned two to three times daily.
What is good oral hygiene when you have full dentures?
In addition to taking care of your dentures, taking care of your mouth also is vital if you wear full dentures. This includes brushing your gums, tongue, and palate every morning with a soft-bristled brush before inserting your dentures. This stimulates your tissues and helps remove plaque.
Do dentures need to be replaced?
Dentures will need to be relined, remade, or rebased due to normal wear over a period of time and normal shrinkage of your gums and bones.
What should you do if your dentures crack or break?
Call your dentist immediately. Normally, dentures can be repaired quickly, often on the same day. Damaged dentures can cause additional oral health problems, so see your dentist right away. Never attempt to repair dentures yourself. They require professional repair and adjustment.
Why can't you fix dentures that break with glue?
Glues often contain harmful chemicals and are not effective in the proper repair of dentures.
What are partial dentures?
Partial dentures are dentures that replace only a few missing teeth.
How do you wear a removable partial denture?
Removable partial dentures are attached to your natural teeth with metal clasps or devices called precision attachments.
How long will it take to get used to wearing a partial denture?
Your partial denture may feel awkward or bulky for the first few weeks, but your mouth will eventually get used to it.
How long should you wear a partial denture?
Initially, you may want to wear your partial denture all the time. Your dentist will give you specific instructions on how long it should be worn and when it should be removed. Generally, your mouth tissues need to rest so it is advisable that you take out your partial denture at least 15 minutes per day.
Will the partial denture change the way you speak?
Your partial denture may help your speech. It can be difficult to speak clearly when you are missing teeth. However, it also will take time to get used to it.
Frequenty asked questions
Artwork by Chris Nixon
Q: How do I keep my dentures clean?
A: This is our number one question! The answer to this is DO NOT USE TOOTHPASTE! Regular toothpastes contain an abrasive agent, which when used to clean dentures wears away the acrylic, leaving microscopic scratches on the surface that retain plaque and calculus and essentially make it harder to clean your denture.
The best way to keep your dentures clean is to first brush your denture with a medium bristled tooth brush in warm soapy water. Yes – any soap will do, but ensure you thoroughly rinse off all the soap. Once the denture has been cleaned, drop in a denture cleaning solution such as Sterodent or Polident to kill residual germs and bacteria.
It is important to note that these denture cleaning solutions will NOT clean your denture for you – plaque builds up on dentures the same way it builds up on teeth and can only be removed by mechanical brushing.
Please call us if you have any questions.
Q: Is it ok to sleep with my dentures?
A: The answer to this is: it's up to you. While ideally you should leave them out at night to allow the gums to recover, many patients do not like to be seen by their partner without their dentures in.
There is a famous analogy, 'Do you sleep wearing your shoes? So why sleep wearing your dentures?' What this means is if they are not being used, then why wear them? Think about it… you are putting your gums under pressure for an additional eight or so hours whilst sleeping for no real reason – you don't require them to eat, you're not out in public, and you're not trying to talk – so do your gums and dentures a favour and give them a rest!
Q: Who is the best person to make my Dentures? A Dentist or a Dental Prosthetist?
A: The best person to make your next set of dentures is a Dental Prosthetist – they are the ones who specialize in the fit and construction of dentures. The advantage of using a prosthetist is that they perform all stages of the process: they meet with you, discuss your requirements, take a series of impressions, make a wax model of the denture, try it in and make any changes that you require, and then process it into a hard acrylic denture.
Essentially, the prothetist both meets the patient and makes the denture, unlike a dentist who takes the impressions, then sends them off to a dental laboratory for a technician to fabricate a denture, which is then sent back to the dentist. The downfall of this is that the technician who makes the denture never met the patient and does not have the same understanding of specifically what the patient requires. They also have not had the opportunity to assess the facial features of the patient and match these to the type of teeth they select to use in the denture, which plays a big role in making natural looking teeth.
Q: When should I get new dentures?
A: It is advisable to get a new set of dentures every 5-7 years to keep up with the changes in the mouth and to ward off any signs of deterioration and wear to the dentures. However, a regular 6 monthly check up is advisable to avoid any unforeseen problems and to check the underlying tissues supporting the denture for signs of infection or sore spots.
Q: My lower denture is always loose, why is this?
A: Unfortunately a full lower denture will always be loose because unlike like the full upper denture, it does not have a large area of tissue available to use for suction, which gives the denture stability and retention. As you know, upper and lower dentures are very different shapes. This is because the upper denture extends all the way to the back to the soft palate and creates a palatal seal, while the lower denture is in the shape of a horseshoe to allow room for the tongue and all of its attaching muscles. As a result, we are unable to create suction which in turn prevents proper retention, which means that the only thing we can aim to achieve is some stability. Unfortunately, the amount of stability that we can achieve depends on how much remaining bone is present, as once teeth are lost; the surrounding bone is resorbed by the body as demonstrated in the pictures below:
This is a healthy mandible with all of the teeth in place. The alveolar bone is thick and strong, and is maintained there by the forces being transmitted through the teeth when eating. The pressure that is put on the teeth by food and the teeth in the opposing jaw signal to the body that the bone is necessary to support the teeth – which the body considers to be very important as it knows that eating is essential to life.
The "alveolar bone" is the special bone designed to hold teeth in place. When a tooth is removed, the body resorbs the bone that was responsible for supporting that tooth as it believes it is no longer required. The body does not know that that bone is essential to support a denture, and unfortunately over time it is lost until it resembles the jaw on the right.
This is a mandible in a patient who has had all of the lower teeth removed for a long period of time. There is no alveolar bone left, and the area that the denture is trying to fit to is illustrated in a black dotted line. The mental foramen is an opening in the bone where the nerve that gives sensation to the front section of the jaw comes out, and it is located right where the denture will be sitting. As a result, the denture will press on the nerve and be very uncomfortable to wear.
However, there are treatment options available in even the most severe cases, so contact us (clicking on this should redirect you to the "Contact Us" page) for a consultation and treatment plan.
Q: My denture is loose and moves all over the place when I'm eating. What does that mean?
A: This usually depends on how old the denture is: if it is over 7 years old, this indicates that it is time for a new denture to accommodate the changes in the underlying bone.
If the denture is relatively new, it may mean that you need a hard reline to improve the fitting surface of the denture. Some patients, especially those who lost their teeth to periodontal disease (where the inflammation from plaque around the teeth causes swelling and bleeding of the gums, with permanent bone loss resulting from long standing inflammation) will experience very rapid loss of alveolar bone and will need hard relines more frequently than other patients.
Q: My upper denture seems that it's not connecting properly with my lower denture, what does this mean?
A: Normally, this means 1 or two things.
- That your bite may not have been registered correctly when you first had your dentures made. Registering a bite is a very difficult procedure, as the jaws usually align themselves using the position of the teeth. Once the teeth are lost, the jaws lose their ability to properly close together in their usual relationship. The loss of supporting bone from around the teeth also further complicates this, as the shape of the jaws is therefore constantly changing. This can be corrected by retaking the bite and re-aligning the denture.
- Long term use has worn away the molar teeth (the large teeth at the back of the denture) which are responsible for positioning the upper and lower dentures. The molar teeth contain three or four cusps each, which are little raised areas that help crush and grind food, but also determine how the teeth occlude – or come together. These are ground down over time on dentures and once they are lost, a new denture is required.
Q: How much will I get back from my health fund when I purchase my next set of dentures?
A: In order to reduce the cost for our patients as much as possible, we are both HBF Participating Providers and Medibank Members Choice Providers, which means you may be eligible to get up to a 60%-80% rebate from your next denture. We are also registered with all health funds so to find out exactly how much they will cover, just give your health fund a call.