Removable dental prostheses, or dentures, are used to replace missing teeth and bone structures that are reabsorbed over time after the loss of natural teeth. These prosthetic appliances help to restore the functions of chewing, swallowing and speaking as well as aesthetics.
Dentures are not mere mechanical instruments, but they transmit force to teeth, gums and bone. They require careful adjustment and their duration varies depending on the individual and on the denture. Each person has different needs and characteristics, making every denture unique and therefore requiring individual preparation. Decision to place a denture is made exclusively by the dental specialist and the patient.
There will be a time when the patient has adapted and will probably not be aware that there is a denture in his/her mouth, but patients must go through a period of adaptation in which they visit the dentist to make adjustments as necessary. Also, being an appliance that is worn for long periods, patients must be well instructed on their care and daily cleaning, to avoid major consequences.
During the integration process, subprosthetic stomatitis or mucosal lesions (such as ulcerations) may develop from poor fitting or misaligned dentures. These may also cause pain, difficulty speaking and less chewing force.
Less chewing force, especially with hard foods, may cause dissatisfaction, take the pleasure away from eating and cause nutritional problems that affect overall health. This is why it is advisable to use a bonding adhesive, which provides comfort and confidence: improves the stability of dentures, increases retention and biting strength, creates a bond between dentures and gums, preventing dentures from moving or detaching.
One of the disadvantages of dentures, if not properly adjusted, is that food debris can become trapped between them and the gums, causing discomfort while favouring the growth of bacteria that may cause bad breath.
They may also bring about psychological problems caused by the insecurity related to talking and showing dentures.
HYGIENE FOR DENTURE WEARERS
The duration of dentures will depend on many factors, but one of the most important is patient motivation for taking care of them. Therefore, specialists must verify how dentures are working on a regular basis, and train patients to be sure that they correctly place dentures and that they are aware of the points of chewing stability and specific daily care techniques. He/she must also explain how to take care of and clean dentures daily to prevent major consequences, such as the presence of calculus, halitosis or ulcerations.
Oral hygiene habits that people with removable dental prostheses must perform include:
- Cleaning and massaging the mucosa of the edentulous ridge that is covered by the denture two times per day, using a toothbrush with very soft or velvety filaments. The edges of the denture may be an easy access for the accumulation of oral biofilm (bacterial plaque). That is why they require more cleaning dedication.
- It is important to use cleansing tablets daily because they remove oral biofilm. They fight 99.9% of bacteria and fungi and clean dentures without harming them. They also remove stains from tea, coffee and tobacco.
- Cleaning the tongue dorsum with a tongue cleaner.
- It is advisable to remove dentures at night to rest from the pressure that this type of appliance may cause.