it comes to myths, dentures have spawned a colorful
collection. Unfortunately, many of these common misconceptions
about dentures have prevented people from achieving
their best health, appearance and self-confidence.
The fact of the matter is that proper denture fit,
maintenance and regular dental care can positively
affect each of the 32 million Americans who wear full
or partial dentures. So check out the following 11
myths. You may be surprised to find out that one or
two that you have accepted as "fact," are actually
it's true that dentures are durable, they aren't any more
permanent than eyeglasses. Dropping them even a few inches
can break a tooth or the denture base. Even with conscientious
care, denture teeth can lose their natural appearance and
chewing ability due to chewing, brushing and age. The way
you care for your dentures can also alter their fit. Dentures
can warp if placed in hot water. If they become dried out,
they may change shape. When you remove your dentures at
night, place them in a container of denture-cleaning solution
or water. Also, it's best to use a brush designed for dentures
as well as a denture cleaner rather than toothpaste, because
some dentifrices may be too abrasive for dentures.
"Once you have dentures, you don't need to see a dentist
is probably the most common myth about dentures, and it's
wrong for several very important reasons. You should see
your dentist regularly for an oral examination, because
your mouth is continually changing. Mouth tissue can reveal
signs of diseases, such as diabetes, that first manifest
themselves in the mouth. Besides checking your dentures,
the dentist will check your mouth for signs of oral cancer,
and examine your gum ridges, tongue and jaw joints. Of course,
your dentures need attention, too. Important indicators
of their condition are: Looseness caused by tissue changes;
Bad odor caused by absorption of fluid and bacteria; Color
change due to age or a reaction to mouth fluids; Stains
and calculus deposits resulting from mouth fluids.
knows when you're wearing dentures. It's embarrassing."
***This is true only if your dentures look unnatural or
need re-fitting. Many of the "tell-tale" signs of dentures
- clicking or slipping, unpleasant odor or stains - are
actually signs of poor fit or improper home maintenance.
Regular professional examinations and following your dentist's
instructions on home care are essential steps in assuring
a "natural appearance." Confidence in wearing dentures comes
from realizing that you have taken a positive step towards
improving your health and appearance. Protecting your oral
health with properly fitting dentures is a smart move!
wearers can't eat normally, or even speak properly."
not all denture wearers can eat everything they would like,
many have very few restrictions in their diets. So if you
develop persistent eating or speech problems at any time,
have your dentist check the fit of your dentures as soon
as possible. Good nutrition is just as important for mature
adults as it is for younger persons. Properly fitting dentures
may actually encourage you to eat a varied and well-balanced
diet that maximizes your oral health. And you'll be able
to enjoy the social benefits that make dining with friends
such a pleasant experience!
have to use adhesives to make my dentures fit, or I can't
wear them all day."
is a particularly dangerous myth. Dentures are made to fit
precisely and usually do not require use of an adhesive
for comfort. In an emergency, denture adhesives can be used
to keep the dentures stable until you see the dentist, but
prolonged use can mask infections and cause bone loss in
the jaw. Likewise, a poorly-fitting denture, which causes
constant irritation over a long period, may contribute to
the development of sores. If your dentures begin to feel
loose, or cause pronounced discomfort, see your dentist
aren't like natural teeth; they're not affected by over-the-counter
and prescription medications."
***Drugs can affect denture fit and wearability. For example,
certain medications can reduce the supply of saliva in your
mouth, making it difficult to swallow or chew. So let your
dentist know of any medications you may be taking regularly
- or even occasionally.
have a fixed income. Regular dental care is too expensive."
deciding that oral examinations and denture care is too
costly, discuss the situation with your dentist. Be frank.
Ask about charges for denture adjustments, repairs and possible
replacement. Keep in mind that if you are in your 60s, you
could have twenty more years of talking, eating and smiling.
Your oral health is a vital part of your total health.
"I can make my own denture repairs."
if you are a whiz at fixing toasters, leaky pipes or automobiles,
do not try to adjust or repair your dentures yourself. Improperly
relined dentures can be bulky, causing increased pressure
on the jaw and more rapid loss of jawbone. Do-it-yourself
reliners can also irritate the soft tissues of your mouth.
The handyman approach can cause irreparable damage and may
result in the need for a new denture.
be without teeth for days if I take my denture to the dentist
for a refitting or repair."
***Advances in modern dentistry have made it possible for
your dentist to reline or repair dentures quickly - often
right in the office. If you let your dentist know that you
are in need of a denture repair, the correction can frequently
be made on the same day.
know I should have my denture replaced, but I just don't
want to go through a long adjustment period again."
first time is always the hardest. You're a pro now. You've
learned the basics about eating, speaking and wearing a
denture. There will be some adjustment, but it will probably
be shorter and easier than the first time. And it is important!
Prolonged use of ill-fitting dentures can irritate the gums,
tongue and cheek, and even cause the ridges of your mouth
to shrink to the point where it will almost be impossible
to fit you with normal dentures. Your ability to chew may
decrease, and your face may acquire deep aging lines and
wrinkles. When you look at the big picture, the temporary
adjustment period isn't so bad.
dentures are the same. It makes sense to shop around and
look for the lowest price."
your dentist is qualified to diagnose your oral health condition
and fit and adjust your dentures. Before prescribing a denture,
the dentist reviews your health history, performs a thorough
oral examination and carefully measures and prepares your
mouth for dentures. Dentists work closely with reputable
dental laboratories, where trained technicians make your
dentures to match your dentist's specifications. Mail order
specials for self-fitting dentures may result in a poor
fit, and can cause serious oral health problems. So see
your dentist. Or, if you need assistance in locating a dentist
in your area, contact your local dental society. Your health,
comfort and appearance should not be left to chance!