FAQ

Following are answers to some questions that are frequently asked about dentures and denturists. The answers will help you through any minor inconveniences you may have with your new dentures. Use this page as a handy reference for ongoing care.

How long will dentures last?

Your dentures will not last indefinitely. The average life of a denture is about five to seven years.

Natural teeth wear down and stain over the years and your dentures will too. The tissue in your mouth undergoes constant change, therefore your dentures will require adjusting and rebasing periodically in order to continue to fit correctly. This time will vary and depend upon such factors as individual tolerances, habits and the length of time you have had dentures.

It is wise to see your denturist at least once every year so that needed corrective measures may be taken and serious problems avoided. And be sure to see your denturist at the first sign of irritation or frequent sore spots, no matter how minor you may feel it be.

Will dentures affect my appearance?

Denture technology is a fine art. Dentures today are "personalized" to suit you and look completely natural. During the process of making your new dentures, there will be a "try-in". The try-in is the stage where your teeth are positioned in wax so you and your denturist can preview and discuss the appearance. Changes in appearance can be adjusted at this stage, so you will be happy with the end result. The only noticeable difference may be that some pronounced facial lines will be softened, giving you a more youthful look. Don't be afraid to smile and be proud of your good-looking teeth.

How will dentures affect my eating?

Adjustment takes time and patience, but don't be discouraged. You have only to learn to bite and chew in a slightly different way. When biting food with natural teeth, the tendency is to pull forward. Instead of pulling out as you bite, push the food forward a little and bite completely through it. Start with small portions of food and eat slowly. Biting into an apple and eating corn on the cob are probably things you will want to postpone. You will be able to enjoy these foods later when you have mastered the art. Your denturist will be happy to help you deal with any problems you encounter.

How quickly will I adjust to dentures?

Dentures are a substitute for your natural teeth and will therefore feel strange at first. Nature designated several years for us to get our natural teeth. Some will feel comfortable with their dentures in a week; some take considerably longer. A positive attitude and being aware of the adjustment that is taking place really helps. At first you may feel your new teeth are too big and your mouth and lips are too full. An increase in the flow of saliva in your mouth is a normal response to the unfamiliar object. But your facial muscles and oral tissues will adapt to the dentures in a very short time and you should soon feel quite comfortable with them.

How should I clean my dentures?

Brushing: Ideally, your dentures should be cleaned after every meal. If this is impractical, clean them as soon after eating as possible. Plaque is an invisible bacterial film that forms gradually, not only on natural teeth but on dentures as well. Once it hardens, plaque turns into calculus, which is an open invitation to bacteria, irritations, gum disease, digestive problems, bacterial stomatitis, to name but a few of the harmful consequences of inadequate denture hygiene.

To maintain your oral health, maximize your comfort and meet your aesthetic requirements, here is some timely advice from your denturist on the regular maintenance of partial and complete dentures, as well as overdentures on implants.

Always clean your dentures over a basin of water or a damp towel to avoid breakage if you drop them. Hold them gently between thumb and fingers, never squeeze them in your palm. You should use a denture brush and a good denture cleaner or soap, which you can buy at any drugstore. The ideal denture brush has soft bristles and can reach every crevice in your denture. For cleaning, a clear gel or a non-abrasive toothpaste or a mild soap are all appropriate Avoid gritty pastes or powders and use only lukewarm water, never hot. An acrylic surface that has been scratched by an abrasive substance easily absorbs saliva, which carries food particles that cause stains. The result: denture maintenance is much more difficult. Gently brush your denture over its entire surface, paying special attention to the areas around the teeth and to the areas that come in contact with your gum tissue.

Brushing too vigorously, using an abrasive paste, or a brush with hard bristles each bring their own problems. Including the dulling of your artificial teeth, premature wear, and tear of your dentures, or thinning of the acrylic lining which affects the fit of your dentures.

It is also recommended that you gently brush your tongue, gums and the roof of your mouth with a moistened, soft-bristle brush. This daily one-minute massage stimulates your circulation and tones your gum tissue while ridding your mouth of bacteria.

Polishing: Polishing is a professional technique employed by your denturist to make your denture look like new. Using specialized buffing tools, your denturist restores the glossy surface finish of your denture, while eliminating the tough stains that elude regular maintenance. Polishing is an economical step that takes just a few minutes and is recommended once or twice a year, as needed.

The denture you are wearing was made and adjusted to fit your mouth at a particular time in your life.

Rinsing: Always rinse your denture thoroughly under warm running water before putting it back in your mouth or before soaking it. Making this a habit will save you from swallowing any cleaning solution, as well as from contaminating your soaking solution. It is also recommended that you rinse your mouth frequently to rid if of proliferating bacteria. This also helps keep your breath fresher longer. Rinsing your mouth with salt water can have an appreciable therapeutic effect.

Soaking: Prolonged exposure of your denture to the air can discolor it and dry out the acrylic, making it brittle. When you remove your denture for the night, keep it in a covered container, filled with warm water or a special soaking solution.

Never use bleach to clean or soak your denture. It can weaken the structure of the denture and discolor the acrylic. In any case, bleach will not work as a whitening agent, since the color of artificial teeth is integrated throughout the tooth structure.

There are many effective denture cleansers available on the market today. They come in the form of creams, powders, and tablets. You may have to experiment to find which works best for you.

Will dentures affect my speech?

At first you may notice minor differences in your speech. Lisping is not unusual. Don't be concerned. Soon your tongue, lips and cheeks will become accustomed to the slight alteration in the shape of your mouth. Reading aloud to yourself is an excellent exercise, which will more quickly restore your normal speech.

Should I remove my dentures at night?

As every case is different, your denturist will advise you, based on your individual circumstances. There are also special precautions to take with your dentures when they are not in place. He will explain these to you.

What is the cost of this service?

"Personalized" dentures are no longer the preserve of the wealthy. You may be surprised at how reasonable denturists' fees are. At your first meeting the denturist will explain what can be done for you and exactly how much it will cost.

Do denturists stand behind their work?

Denturist Association members are committed to the Association Denture Guarantee. If you have a concern regarding your dentures that has not been resolved, please follow the steps outlined below:

  • Discuss the concern with your denturist.
  • Give your denturist a reasonable length of time and a number of opportunities to address your concerns.
  • If the concerns still have not been resolved, please write to the Oregon State Denturist Association, providing your name, the denturist's name and the nature of the concerns.
  • As a last resort, you can contact the Oregon Health Licensing Office (HLO) in Salem to file an official complaint. At that point, the HLO will conduct an investigation and the Board of Denture Technology will determine if there was inappropriate behavior on the part of the denturist and if punishment or penalty is warranted.
Can I use store-bought liners?

You should never attempt to reline your dentures; you could seriously damage both your dentures and your mouth. If you have problems, see your denturist who is trained to recognize and treat these problems quickly and effectively.

When should I replace my dentures?

Too many people believe that dentures are good for 20 years. Nothing could be further from the truth! The removable prosthesis is made of a hard, rigid material. Your face, mouth, and jaw, on the other hand, change over the years. Because it cannot adapt to these changes and because artificial teeth wear down with time, a prosthetic can rarely do its job effectively for more than about five years.

This reality can have devastating consequences that are often invisible and imperceptible to the wearer of a worn-out-denture.

Here is a short list of the most harmful possible effects suffered by wearers of prosthesis more than five years old:

  • softening of the gum
  • painful, irritated gum
  • more laborious chewing and more difficult digestion
  • headaches, ear aches, neck pain and joint problems
  • crumpled mouth and prematurely old face
  • accelerated resorption of the gum

When should I replace my dentures?

Too many people believe that dentures are good for 20 years. Nothing could be further from the truth! The removable prosthesis is made of a hard, rigid material. Your face, mouth, and jaw, on the other hand, change over the years. Because it cannot adapt to these changes and because artificial teeth wear down with time, a prosthetic can rarely do its job effectively for more than about five years.

This reality can have devastating consequences that are often invisible and imperceptible to the wearer of a worn-out-denture.

Here is a short list of the most harmful possible effects suffered by wearers of prosthesis more than five years old:

  • softening of the gum
  • painful, irritated gum
  • more laborious chewing and more difficult digestion
  • headaches, ear aches, neck pain and joint problems
  • crumpled mouth and prematurely old face
  • accelerated resorption of the gum
What is a partial denture?

A partial denture is a removable appliance fitted in the mouth to replace some natural missing teeth. The removable partial denture has artificial denture teeth set with acrylic for the gums and metal or acrylic clasps for attaching the partial to the remaining natural teeth in the mouth. The partial would fill in the space left from the missing teeth giving you back your ability to chew your food better, keeping the remaining teeth from drifting from their position, and looking esthetically pleasing.

There are different types of removable partial dentures.

-All acrylic partial:  Acrylic base partial with wrought wire clasping to anchor to natural teeth.

-Metal framework partial: Metal frame as to which acrylic and teeth are attached to. Metal framework is made to fit more precise in anchoring to the natural teeth. It is stronger, less bulky, and fits better than the all acrylic partial.

-Precision attachment partial: A metal framework partial attaching to specially designed crowns for a hidden clasp effect.

- Flexible partial: Made of very thin flexible acrylic base with flexible acrylic clasps.

Your denturist will take the time to evaluate your mouth and talk to you about what type of partial would be right for you.

What is an immediate denture?

An immediate denture is an option for patients who are going to be having their remaining teeth extracted and would like to have a denture placed in their mouth immediately after extractions. This allows for the patient to look esthetically pleasing while their mouth is healing from the extractions. The denture is made and ready before the patient makes their appointment for having their teeth extracted. While the patient’s mouth is healing, there will be many follow up appointments needed to adjust and refit the denture.

What is an implant supported denture?

An implant supported denture is a denture that is anchored, but is still removable for daily cleaning, to implants placed into the upper or lower jaw. The denture has special attachments that snap onto the implants for support. The implant supported denture does not move or lift up under a normal function, giving the patient the ability to eat and speak confidently.

Consult a Denturist in your area to find out more on implant supported dentures.