Partial or complete dentures are a wonderful solution for patients who have lost teeth on the lower jaw. Unfortunately, some patients are under the impression that traditional oral hygiene practices are no longer necessary in relation to dentures. As such, dental health practitioners need to provide thorough and strict advice regarding how best to care for dentures following the fitting procedure. Here is a breakdown of what to discuss.
Dentures and eating
Advise patients that it will take some time to get used to eating with their dentures in place. They should start slowly, eating as much soft food as possible for the first few weeks, and paying special attention to chewing in equal amounts on both sides of the mouth. Remind them of the importance of removing the dentures after every meal and rinsing them with clean water. If the individual in question is elderly and frail, it is always a good idea to recommend placing a towel on the counter next to the sink to act as cushioning should they accidentally drop the dentures during cleaning.
Be sure to inform patients that brushing their dentures is just as important as brushing their natural teeth. They should be brushed at least once every day (preferably morning and night) using a toothbrush with soft, flexible bristles and a non-abrasive toothpaste created specifically for dentures. They should remove the dentures before brushing as most denture-specific toothpaste is not safe for swallowing. If they use a denture adhesive, they must always take the time to remove any remaining adhesive from the grooves that fit snugly against the gums.
Once clean, advise them to soak the dentures in a glass of water or denture-soaking solution for the duration of the night to ensure that they retain their shape and do not become brittle. They must always rinse the dentures again thoroughly in the morning before placing them back inside the mouth. This is a must when using a denture-soaking solution, which often contains unsafe chemicals for consumption.
Cleaning the mouth
Remind patients to take proper care of any remaining natural teeth that they may have. Even if they do not have any natural teeth left, it is still vital for them to cleanse their mouth morning and night. They can do this using a piece of gauze to clean the cheeks, gums, and tongue, followed by gargling with mouthwash to eliminate any remaining bacteria or plaque.
Regular visits to the dentist
Individuals with dentures should endeavor to return for check-ups at least once every six months. Inform them that this is necessary so that you can keep a close eye on the fit and condition of the dentures and so that you can ensure that any remaining natural teeth stay strong and healthy. In most cases, as the person ages, partial dentures will need to be replaced with complete dentures at some point or another.
Proper denture care instructions will help the patient to feel empowered to nurture their oral health. An informed patient is a healthy patient!
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