Boise Prosthodotics
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Complete Dentures

Occasionally situations exist in which one's natural teeth are lost or fail to develop.  When one's teeth are completely missing it is referred to in the dental field as being edentulous.  This oral condition may occur as a result of tooth decay, periodontal disease, trauma, or sometimes congenital abnormalities.

People that do not have teeth have described feelings off embarrassment, being different, or even feeling like less of a person.  It is a difficult thing to not have teeth.  It is important to find a dentist that understands and listens to how you feel in order help find the most appropriate treatment solution for you.  One possible treatment solution for edentulism is complete dentures or "plates".

It is important to seek treatment by a dentist that is trained in all aspects of making dentures.  A prosthodontist is a specially trained dentist in the art and science of making dentures.  Often, as Dr. Gurney does, they will actually personally make your teeth.

What are complete dentures?
What can I eat with dentures?
What are the limitations of dentures?
How are the limitations of dentures overcome?
Will my speech be different with dentures? 
Why are my dentures loose?
How long to dentures last?
How should I care for my dentures?
How do I remove the stain on my teeth?
How do I remove the white build up on my teeth?
Can I disinfect my teeth?
Should I wear by dentures at night?


What are Complete Dentures?

Complete dentures are removable prosthetic teeth that can provide a natural and comfortable replacement of one's missing teeth.  They are generally made out of dental acrylic and composite materials.  When properly planned and fabricated, with your personal input, dentures can be an esthetic natural customized solution to your situation. 

What can I eat with dentures?

With time and practice most people learn to eat their favorite foods.  This can be accomplished when one understands the inherent limitations of dentures and learns, which requires practice and patience, how to properly use their new denture teeth.  Most people want to be able to eat steak, corn on the cob, or nuts again with their dentures.  These foods can still be eaten with denture teeth, but it takes time and preparing those foods in the appropriate way. 

What are the limitations of dentures?

The limitations of dentures are related to two main deficiencies: the dentures are not firmly attached to your mouth and the soft gum tissue that the dentures rest upon.  In general denture wearers have a limited ability to use significant force while chewing.  This is related to the soft gums under the dentures.  The harder one bites the more likely the soft gums will be pinched between the dentures and the jaw bone.  This can be minimized with properly fitting dentures and proper alignment of the teeth.  "Biting" is also limited, in most cases it is not possible.  This is a result of the dentures not being firmly attached to your mouth.  As a result, when one bites food with dentures their dentures will rotate and pinch their gums.  It is recommended that one's food should be cut up into smaller portions and placed into their mouth.   

How are the limitations overcome?

In order to minimize the effects of the above mentioned limitations and maximize a persons comfort and function it is imperative that ones dentures are fabricated properly and they are provided with accurate denture education.  Dentures must adapt optimally to ones oral structures.  By doing so the highest levels of stability and retention are obtained.  Also, when properly designed function is maximized.  It is imperative that the fit and function of one’s dentures is evaluated routinely to help maintain the proper fit and function over time.  When a person receives a properly fabricated denture, is provided with a sound understanding of what is to be expected, and receives proper maintenance over the life time of their teeth they may enjoy comfortable and functional dentures.         

When planned and used properly dental implants are a fantastic innovation to help improve and eliminate the inherent limitations of dentures


Will my speech be different with dentures?

When you first use a new set of dentures it is likely you will experience difficulty with the pronunciation of some words.  This is a result of the roof of your mouth being covered with dental acrylic.  Your tongue is accustomed and trained to touch the roof of your mouth a certain way as you articulate different words and when it is covered by a new material it has to adapt to the new shape of your mouth.  If proper precautions are taken while making one's dentures the transition period can be minimized and sometimes eliminated.   If one notices certain words are difficult to say practice saying those words when your alone or at home.  You should also mention the difficulty to your dentist he may be able to let you know if he can help you through the process. 

Why are my dentures loose?

If you dentures are loose it is probably related to one or a couple of the following situations: bone and gum resorption/shrinkage (dentures do not fit intimately with the gums anymore), the articulation of the teeth (how the teeth come together), loss of suction, improper extensions of the denture, and one's tongue position. 

How long do dentures last?

Generally a well made set of dentures will last 7-10 years.  Dentures need to be replaced when significant changes to the gum and bone occur, the denture materials wear out, or they are lost or broken.  To help extend the life of one's dentures it may be necessary to re-fit their existing dentures to their changing gum tissue.  This is accomplished by relining their existing denture.

How do I care for my dentures?

It is very important to keep your dentures and your gums clean.  There are many bacteria and fungus that love to reside on the denture plastic which can be harmful to your health if allowed to do so.  The most effective way to clean one’s dentures is to remove them from the mouth at different times each day and scrub them with a stiff bristled denture brush and a clear liquid soap.  If you use tooth paste try and use a tooth paste that has no abrasive particles.  While the dentures are out use a soft bristled tooth brush and tooth paste and gently brush your gums.  


Suggested Daily Hygiene Protocol

Morning: 

  • Take the teeth out of their storage container
  • Safely and securely hold the teeth in the palm of your hand (be careful not to squeeze them too hard or to drop them)
  • Hold the teeth over a sink full of water or folded towel (this is to provide a soft landing to the teeth if you were to accidentally drop them while cleaning them)
  • Brush the teeth with warm soapy water, using a denture brush scrub every surface of the dentures with firm pressure
  • Rinse well with water (some like to dip them in mouth wash prior to inserting them in their mouth)
  • Prior to inserting the dentures brush the gums with a soft bristled tooth brush and tooth paste
  • Insert the dentures into the mouth
  • Clean the storage container with warm soapy water


After Meals

Food will have a tendency to stick to your dentures and you may not even be aware.  This is why it is important to find a place in which you can comfortably remove and clean your teeth after a meal.

  • Remove them from your mouth and brush them quickly with warm water and soap
  • Rinse them well
  • Re-insert


Prior to Going to Bed

  • Clean the storage container with warm soapy water, rinse and fill base of container with clean water or denture storage solution
  • Remove teeth from mouth
  • Safely and securely hold the teeth in the palm of your hand (be careful not to squeeze them too hard or to drop them)
  • Hold the teeth over a sink full of water or folded towel (this is to provide a soft landing to the teeth if you were to accidentally drop them while cleaning them)
  • Brush the teeth with warm soapy water, using a denture brush scrub every surface of the dentures with firm pressure
  • Rinse well with water (some like to dip them in mouth wash prior to inserting them in their mouth)
  • Insert the dentures into the storage container
  • Brush your gums with a soft bristled tooth brush and tooth paste

How do I remove the stain on my teeth?

There are several over the counter products that may help remove the the stain that can build up on the denture teeth.  If used follow the directions closely.  There is a product called Stain Away that works very well to remove stain.  It can be found at most drug stores.  


How do I remove the white build up on my teeth?

The white build up may be tarter or mineral deposits.  It can be removed by soaking your denture in white vinegar for 30 minutes.  Once it has soaked in the white vinegar scrub the teeth with the denture brush to remove the white build up.


Can I disinfect my dentures?

Yes!  This is accomplished by soaking a well cleansed denture into a cup of diluted bleach water.  The dilution should be 1 cup of water with 5-6 drops of bleach.  Leave the dentures in the solution for about an hour.  If the denture has metal as part of the prosthesis do not use diluted bleach water to disinfect the teeth.  The bleach water will corrode the metal within the denture.


Should I wear my teeth at night?

Try not to sleep with the teeth in your mouth throughout the night.  Not sleeping with them in the mouth allows a chance for your gums to recover from the compression of the dentures throughout the day.  It also helps prevent clenching or grinding on the denture teeth during the night; which will help preserve the life span of the dentures and will help minimize the changes of one’s residual underlying jaw bones.  However, there are some situation in which people need to wear their dentures during the night (CPAP or to help with sleep).   In these situations it is imperative that the dentures are exceptionally clean and are frequent evaluated regarding their fit and function to minimize or correct changes.