Everything You Could Ever Want to Know About Dentures: A Full FAQ
Whether you’re considering your first pair of dentures or have been wearing them for years, you may have a few questions about when you can wear them, how they should be worn, and what you can do to maintain them. These FAQs about dentures will cover all of these questions and more.
How Do I Get Started with Dentures?
Your regular dentist should be able to help you out and advise on the best course of action. You can also look into prosthodontists in your local area. A prosthodontist is someone who specializes in the restoration and replacement of teeth and they are experts in all things related to dentures, implants, crowns, and bridges.
An expert will perform an X-ray and examination to determine if you need dentures or not. If so, they can recommend a treatment, tell you what options you have, and discuss pricing.
The dentist may recommend a different course of action, such as implants, crowns, veneers, or extensive treatment. Generally speaking, they will do what they can to save your real teeth and may present you with a couple of options. You can then decide which solution you prefer.
How Long Do I Need to Wait?
Dentures can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months to be manufactured. If you are having all of your teeth pulled first, your dentist will need to perform an initial surgery, take some measurements, and then send the dentures away to be manufactured. The type of dentures being fitted, along with the cost and your location, can all impact how long it takes.
What Happens if I Still Have Teeth?
You don’t need to wait for your teeth to fall out before you consider dentures. In fact, whether your remaining teeth are healthy or not, you should still consider dentures.
Partial dentures are designed to work around your existing healthy teeth. Your dentist will carefully shade-match them to ensure they don’t look out of place. You can remove, clean, and replace them just like a full set of dentures, but you don’t need to have all of your teeth pulled to wear them.
If your remaining teeth are unhealthy, it’s a different story and your dentist will likely recommend removing them. In such cases, your teeth will be pulled before the dentures are measured and made, after which you’ll need to wait a number of weeks for them to be finalized.
If you’re worried about spending that time with an empty mouth, you can pay for an immediate set of dentures, which will be fitted after your teeth are pulled. These immediate dentures will protect your healing gums while also giving you the freedom to smile throughout that period.
Do I Need Dentures?
If you have no teeth, a condition known as edentulism, then you should definitely consider dentures. They will fill-out your mouth, support your smile, and give you a row of pearly-whites. The same applies if you only have a few rotten teeth or even if you have healthy teeth but lots of big gaps.
Dentures are not advised if you’re simply looking for a cheap alternative to veneers, especially if you have a lot of healthy teeth left in your mouth. It might be a cheaper option, but it’s also one that you will likely regret in the future. Your teeth are precious, and you should do everything you can to keep them! A good dentist will understand that and do what they can to help you.
Is it Painful to Get Dentures?
Dentures themselves aren’t painful, assuming they are correctly made and fitted. Your dentist will take an impression, send away for them to be manufactured, and then fit them. However, if you have some remaining teeth they will need to be extracted.
The good news is that most pre-denture extractions are quick and easy, and thanks to the local anesthetic, they should be completely painless as well. Many patients get dentures fitted because their remaining teeth have decayed and their gums have receded, at which point they are very weak and relatively easy to remove. Even if a more difficult extraction is required, you’ll still have the protection of a local anesthetic and the only pain you’ll feel will be the initial poke of the needle.
What if I Have a Dental Phobia?
If you have a fear of dentists, you should be open with your dentist as there are a number of ways that they can help you. They might prescribe you a medication to help you relax or take extra time to calm you down before performing the procedure.
It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Millions of Americans have some form of dental phobia (known as odontophobia or dentophobia) and dentists are well-equipped to deal with such patients.
Will My Dentures Last Forever?
Even if you avoid hard and sticky foods and take good care of your dentures, they won’t last forever. Depending on how well you maintain them and how good they are, you’ll likely need to change them within 5 to 10 years, although it’s possible for really high-quality dentures to last even longer than this.
It’s important to change them as soon as your dentist recommends. If your dentures have worn down, become damaged, or move around too much in your mouth, you could seriously irritate the inside of your mouth by holding onto them for too long.
Are Dentures Uncomfortable?
If you have never worn partial dentures, a mouth-guard, or braces, dentures may come as a shock. They can be a little awkward at first as you’ll have something in your mouth that wasn’t there before. Even if you have previously been fitted for those things, they can still feel awkward as they are bigger, heavier, and take up more space in your mouth.
The good news is that it’s perfectly normal for them to feel a little strange and uncomfortable, and once you’ve had time to acclimatize, they will feel perfectly normal.
If your dentures are painful and cause irritation in your mouth, they may need to be reshaped. They should fit perfectly and shouldn’t move around. Speak with your dentist if you experience any of these issues and they can make some minor adjustments to make them more comfortable.
What are Dental Implants?
Implants can be installed to provide more stability and ensure your dentures remain in place. They cost more and require more complicated surgery, but if you’re looking for a long-term solution and have the additional funds in your budget, it’s worth looking into implant-supported dentures.
Dentists will charge you per implant and will typically fit anywhere from 2 to 8.
How Much do Dentures Cost?
The cost of dentures can vary significantly depending on everything from your location to the quality of the materials. You also need to factor preliminary examinations into the equation, as well as any extractions that need to be performed before the dentures are fitted.
Generally speaking, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $8,000 for a full set of dentures. It’s a massive price difference but it’s also a considerable difference in quality, and at the lower end of the spectrum they’re more likely to break and look fake.
How do I Care for My Dentures?
Your dentures should be removed every night and placed in an XODENT bath, along with an XODENT tablet. The bath will loosen any pieces of food that have become lodged between the teeth and the mechanisms. It will also remove the bacteria that accumulates throughout the day.
In the morning, you just need to remove the dentures, run them under the faucet, and then replace them.
Don’t eat anything too sweet or too sticky, and if you do, be sure to rinse them thoroughly. If you notice any issues, from gum irritation to chipped teeth and broken mechanisms, book an appointment with your dentist and get them checked out.
As with real teeth, denture problems can worsen if they are ignored. Ignoring a simple 10-minute fix today could leave you needing an entirely new set of dentures in a few months.
Can I Whiten Dentures?
Your dentures won’t respond to teeth whitening solutions in the same way as real teeth. Whitening solutions work by bleaching the surface of your teeth but as dentures are made from a synthetic material, it doesn’t respond in the same way.
The good news is that you can simply clean your dentures to return them to the original color. Just add them to your XODENT denture bath and use the brush supplied to scrub away those stubborn particles. If your dentures are not the right shade, speak with your dentist and see if there is anything that they can do.
Can I Eat Normally While Wearing them?
If the dentures are well-made and properly-fitted, you can do everything you can with real teeth, but that doesn’t mean that you should. Eating tough meats and sticky desserts may dislodge your dentures while eating hard nuts, candies, and ice cubes can chip and crack the fake teeth and fittings. You don’t need to turn everything into mush and you definitely don’t need to subsist entirely on soups and smoothies, but you should take a few precautions to prolong the life of your dentures.
Take a look at our guide to the best and worst foods for denture wearers to get more information.
Can I Sleep in My Dentures?
You can sleep in your dentures, but you probably shouldn’t. Night is the perfect time to remove your dentures and soak them in an XODENT bath. Our tablets will help to loosen all of the food particles and kill the bacteria, so you just need to quickly rinse them and pop them back in your mouth in the morning.
If you wear them all day and all night, there’s no time to clean them, and bacteria have an opportunity to accumulate. Dentures cover a large surface area and can trap moisture and bacteria underneath. If you leave them for a few days, or even just a day and night, your gums may suffer, and your breath will smell.
For more information, take a look at our guide on What to Do With Smelly Dentures.
Why Do Dentures Change Shape?
Gums recede, bone deteriorates, and the mouth changes shape, leading to loose-fitting dentures. Dentures can also break and wear, and this may change the way that they feel in your mouth.
It’s highly unusual to wear dentures for several years without experiencing any noticeable changes with regards to how they sit in your mouth. You can use denture adhesive to offset some minor changes, but you should still speak with your dentist to make the necessary changes.
What Happens if the Back of my Dentures Pop Up When I Eat?
If your dentures move around a lot when you eat, they may need to be re-fitted. Such issues are common, and they become more common with age. Make an appointment with your dentist and mention your issues to them. Many changes can be made quickly and cheaply.
Will Dentures Change the Shape of My Face?
Your teeth are for much more than chewing and occasionally cutting sticky tape! They also help to support your facial muscles and if you lose them, you may notice some sagging around the lower half of your face. Dentures can fix this to a degree, providing more support and returning your face to the way it was before. You’ll also have a bigger and brighter smile.
Why Do My Dentures Keep Falling Out?
If your dentures are relatively new and they are not fitting as well as they once did, the problem might be related to your diet. As noted already, some foods can cause your dentures to dislodge and if you’re using denture adhesive and drinking a lot of hot tea and/or coffee, the liquid may also dissolve some of the denture adhesive.
Dry mouth can also cause your dentures to lose their natural suction and move around in your mouth. Dry mouth can be caused by a number of different medications and becomes more common with age. A dry mouth may make it difficult for your dentures to remain in place and will also increase oral irritation as the dentures move around.
What if my Dentures Don’t Fit Anymore?
Your mouth will change shape and your dentures won’t fit in the same way that they once did. That’s to be expected, and it doesn’t mean that you need an entirely new set of dentures.
Book an appointment with your dentist, tell them about your issues, and they will make the necessary adjustments.
Do I Need Denture Adhesive?
If you have a properly-fitted set of dentures, you shouldn’t need denture adhesives. Dentures are made to fit your gums perfectly and remain in place through suction. If you’ve had the dentures for several years or they weren’t properly fitted, you may notice a little movement, and that’s when you should consider denture adhesive.
Poorly-fitted dentures can cause irritation and sore spots, so it’s important to make sure they fit snugly and safely.
Can I Chew Gum?
Gum can be your best friend and your worst enemy. On the one hand, it can pull your dentures out and dislodge them, but at the same time, it will stimulate saliva production and help to combat bacteria growth and dry mouth.
Look for a sugar-free gum designed for denture wearers. Freedent is often recommended for this purpose, as it’s the “gum that doesn’t stick”. It is available in three flavors and is pretty common, so you shouldn’t have an issue finding a pack or two.
Can I Still Get Dentures Despite Not Having Teeth For Many Years?
If you go many years without having teeth or wearing dentures, you will likely lose a lot of gum and bone and suffer from some major changes in mouth shape. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be fitted for dentures.
There is always a solution, and that’s why it’s important to keep your dentist updated and to visit them as often as you can, even if you don’t have a lot of remaining teeth.
What Should I Do If My Dentures Won’t Come Out?
If your dentures are lodged firmly in place, whether through natural suction or dental adhesive, it’s important not to try and force them. Firstly, you should try pinching the back of the dentures and gently pulling to see if that is enough to dislodge them. Just place one finger on each side and tug.
If that doesn’t work, you can try biting into an apple. Hard fruits are a bad idea when you want your dentures to remain in place, but it can help if you need to remove them.
It should be a relatively easy removal if you didn’t use any or much adhesive. It’s just a case of breaking the vacuum. If they are stuck because you used too much adhesive, you can still try these methods, but should also try rinsing your mouth with warm water to dilute and loosen the adhesive.