dentures

Dentists are generally trained in multiple aspects of Dentistry to provide a wide range of oral health services, and refers patients to specialised Dental practitioners. Denturists are specifically educated, trained and qualified to treat patients directly for the provision of dentures. They have expertise in dealing with difficult cases and take referrals from Dentists. Whoever you choose, you need to ensure they are registered with the appropriate Regulator for Oral Health services. The category is not yet regulated in South Africa!

Learning to chew satisfactorily with immediate dentures can take as long as 6-8 weeks. The tongue, cheek, and lip muscles must be trained to keep the dentures in place during chewing and speaking. The successful use of your dentures depends mostly on the effort you put into mastering them. To learn to eat with your new teeth will take practice, patience and determination. Start with soft foods, cutting everything into small pieces, rather than trying to bite with your front teeth, as this will tend to dislodge the denture. Thickness in your speech and perhaps a lisp are also common symptoms which will usually correct itself in a short period of time. Sore spots may also develop and these can be easily relieved by your Denturist. As the shape of your mouth changes due to resorption, easing of pressure-areas and temporary lining with tissue-conditioners will ease you through the post-extraction healing process taking place. Hundreds of thousands of people wear dentures with ease and in time you too will feel comfortable, secure and successful in wearing your dentures.

You have to get accustomed to wearing a foreign object in your mouth. Initially your new partial denture may feel bulky and inhibit tongue space. Your mouth will however become used to wearing it in a few weeks. Initially inserting and removing the denture will require some practice. Follow the instructions given by your Denturist. Your denture are designed to fit into the place with relative ease. There is a designated route of insertion. Never force the partial denture into position by biting it down. This could result in bending or breaking of the metal clasps. Eventually after some time it may be necessary to adjust the partial denture. With age, the shape of your mouth naturally changes, which can affect the fit of the denture. Your ridges will recede or shrink, resulting in a loose-fitting denture. This can cause a variety of problems, including damage of the remaining natural teeth or sore spots to the soft tissue. Partial dentures that do not fit properly could be adjusted by your Denturist promptly.

  • Eating - Your oral cavity needs to adapt to the different contour and size of your new denture.  For the first few weeks it is recommended to eat smaller, softer bites of food. Avoid chewing gum and any food that's sticky, hard or has sharp edges. As you grow accustomed to your denture, coordination and confidence increases and then you may add harder, crunchier foods. Never use toothpicks.  
  • Speech - Many denture wearers are sensitive about the potential change of pronunciation when a new partial denture is fitted. Your tongue is a muscle and will adapt very quickly to the new denture contours. Within a few weeks all speech sounds will be mastered and comfortable.  
  • Sore Spots & Adjustments - Adjustments are often required and part of the follow-up treatment for dentures. As your mouth gets used to the new denture, sore spots may develop. Your Denturist can relieve those areas with ease and do any other adjustments to make your transition as bearable as possible. Under normal circumstances, Denturists do not charge for adjustments during the first three months from the date of denture insertion.  

Research reports indicates that many implants lasting 20 years or a life time, with proper care and regular yearly check-ups at your dental professional. Some parts of the implants may need replacing with time because of wear or deterioration. The dentures themselves should be replaced every 5-8 years and possibly relined every 2 years.

Factors which could reduce the life expectancy of your implants are:

  • your general health  
  • oral hygiene  
  • smoking  
  • grinding your teeth

If your dentures fit properly, you should not necessarily need to use denture fixative (adhesive). However, if the fitting surface of your mouth has shrunk significantly and implants cannot be placed for anchorage, adhesive may be the only alternative left to help retain your dentures. Your Denturist will advise you if this is the case.

In the beginning, you may need to wear your dentures all the time, including while sleeping. Your Denturist may advise you on whether you should remove your dentures before you go to sleep. It may not always be necessary to remove your dentures at night, but doing so will allow your gums to rest as you sleep. This also allows for your tongue to stimulate the soft tissues of your mouth to normalise blood circulation. If you do remove your dentures, they should be kept moist to prevent the denture material from drying out and changing shape. You could store your denture overnight, using a denture container in water, or a polythene bag with some dampened cotton wool in it, or in a suitable overnight denture-cleaning solution.

If you have dentures that are over 5 years old and they have not been relined every 2 years, you probably will find that you may have problems with the fit of your dentures. The underlying bone and the denture-bearing surface of your mouth shrink with time. This causes the denture to become loose, resulting in a poor fit. A visit to your Denturist for an oral health examination, will determine the cause and extent of your ill-fitting dentures.

Wearing dentures for more than five years without having them checked could be harmful to your health. Your face, jaw and tissues change over the years, but your prosthesis does not. Your dentures are made of a stable and rigid material and cannot adapt to these physical changes. A consultation with your Denturist to have your dentures checked and cleaned could prevent problems in the future.

Some of the signs indicating that your prosthesis should be checked:

  • sore and irritated tissues
  • problems with chewing certain foods, indigestion problems
  • thinning lips, sagging mouth, a change in facial features
  • loose, falling out when speaking or laughing
  • has discoloured or has an odour
  • softening of the tissues
  • headaches, neck, or ear pain
  • bone (ridge) loss
  • your partial is kept in your pocket most of the time

These changes happen gradually and are mostly undetectable to you. Your appearance and comfort are compromised, the longer you delay replacing your prosthesis. Your Denturist is the best qualified person to tell you when a denture needs replacing. When was the last time you saw your Denturist?  

No removable prosthesis made for the mouth, is permanent. On average a denture may be expected to last between 5-8 years. Due to naturally occurrence of resorption, the denture-bearing surface of the mouth is constantly changing. Wear and repair of the material, as well as absorption of oral fluids eventually starts breaking down the physical bonding of the acrylic, cause discolouration and also effecting the hygiene of your denture.