Dentures are an excellent way to restore full, beautiful smiles. Whether you have traditional dentures or have upgraded to All on 4, it’s important you know how to care for your dental prosthetic. At Desert Valley, our patients often have questions about proper denture care. Our guide breaks down care by denture type for easy reference.
Choosing a Toothpaste
While denture cleaning kits are available, all dentures can be cleaned with cool water, toothpaste and an extra-soft toothbrush. Make sure you choose a toothpaste that’s gentle and minimally abrasive. Avoid types that contain microbeads, whitening agents and other extras that will damage your dentures. Opt for a “plain Jane” toothpaste and use a light touch when brushing.
Don’t Forget the Rest of Your Mouth
Your gums and any natural teeth you have shouldn’t be ignored. Using a different toothbrush than you use on your dentures, brush and floss your natural teeth like you normally would. Rinse your mouth with mouthwash, and brush your tongue, the roof of your mouth and your gums with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste. Brushing your gums is particularly important. It stimulates blood flow and helps prevent bone loss.
Be Wary of Fit Changes
All mouths change over time. Remaining teeth shift and our jaw degrades as we age. This can lead to a poor denture fit. Poorly fitted dentures can cause issues like pain, sores, burning sensations, shifting remaining teeth and even accelerated bone loss. Sudden fit issues can also be an early warning sign of gum disease. If you suspect you have poor denture fit, schedule an appointment with your dentist or oral surgeon immediately. Never try to adjust your denture fit yourself. Only a dentist can give you the right fit and avoid breaking your denture.
Both partial and full traditional dentures should be removed and cleaned every night. To reduce the risk of dropping and breaking them, clean your dentures over a towel or a sink filled with water. Leave them out for six to eight hours while you sleep to let your mouth tissues recover from denture wear. Never let your denture dry out. Instead, soak them to help remove bacteria and stains. Your dentist or oral surgeon will tell you what type of liquid to soak them in overnight.
Denture adhesive is designed to easily rinse away. With your denture removed, swish and spit mouthwash or warm water several times to soften and remove the adhesive in your mouth. Use a soft toothbrush and warm water to brush away any remaining adhesive. Any adhesive stuck to your denture should buff off with a washcloth. For the healthiest, firmest and most comfortable fit, clean your dentures and gums every time you remove them.
Permanent dentures are designed to be removed only by your dentist or oral surgeon during maintenance visits. In between maintenance visits, your permanent denture should be brushed and flossed with a Waterpik flosser.
A Waterpik is also a useful tool for sweeping food out from underneath your denture and other hard-to-reach places. Some permanent denture types are easier to clean beneath than others. If you’re still considering permanent dentures and haven’t scheduled your procedure yet, make sure you speak with your oral surgeon about the maintenance pros and cons of each type.
Removable and All on 4 Dentures
On-4s and other removable, implant-supported dentures have similar cleaning needs. Use a brush and gentle toothpaste to brush them and a Waterpik to floss them. They can be left on or off to clean. Leaving them in to brush them can prevent wear and tear on the screws that hold the dentures in place. However, if you develop tartar build up quickly, it may be best to take them out.
At least once a year, it’s important to visit your oral surgeon for deep cleaning and exam. We may ask you to come in more often if we notice heavy tartar buildup. During your exam, we’ll check your on-4 implants, the fit of your denture and the structure of your denture. We’ll also take x-rays to check for bone loss and other concerns.
Like all dentures, All on 4s may need to be repaired from time to time. The exact style of “teeth” you choose will contribute to your long-term maintenance needs. Even with perfect maintenance, studies show that acrylic denture teeth may need to be replaced every five years. Porcelain dentures may last longer. On-4s may also need their implant screws replaced.
At Desert Valley Oral Surgery, we want to help all of our patients keep beautiful dentures and keep maintenance costs down. Whether we put in your All on 4 dental implants or you have a partial denture from another surgery, we’re at your service. Contact us today to schedule your denture maintenance appointment.