How to prevent denture problems

Dentures are of two types: those that replace all the teeth (full upper and lower dentures) and those that replace some missing teeth and can be anchored to adjacent healthy teeth (removable partial dentures).

Improperly fitting dentures place abnormal forces on the gum tissue and the bony supporting structure. This can lead to painful irritation, to mouth ulcers, and eventually to degeneration of the gum tissue and reabsorption of the jawbone. Even if they fit properly, full dentures can cause shrinkage of gums and jawbones, eventually forcing you to close your jawbones further than normal in order to chew.

The same problems occur with partial dentures. In addition, food can become trapped between the denture and the adjoining natural teeth, leading to tooth decay, inflammation of the gums, swelling, bleeding and, eventually, periodontal disease.

See your dentist twice yearly; regular checkups and, if necessary, a refitting can forestall some problems. If you have pain, sores in the mouth, or bleeding, call your dentist. Daily care

Dentures may last 5 years or more if you follow these practices. Clean daily with a brush and cleanser recommended by your dentist. Soak removable full dentures (no metal parts) 1/2 hour in a solution of 1 tablespoon household bleach and 1 teaspoon water softener in 1 cup water. Then brush and rinse thoroughly with plain water. Keep dentures in water when not in use.

Rinse your mouth and removable dentures after meals. Brush your
gums daily with a soft tooth brush, then massage them with your finger or a sponge. Brush your tongue too. Once every 2 weeks soak removable dentures overnight in 1/2 cup white vinegar to remove calcium deposits. A temporary repair In an emergency, you can reattach a broken tooth to a removable denture or repair a broken removable denture with fast-acting, extra-strength glue. Don’t use a commercial repair or reline kit; these can permanently damage gums and bone. Get quickly to a dentist for a permanent repair.