People have been using dentures for more than 2000 years, Happily they have progressed so much, to such a good quality and fit, they are more comfortable than ever.

When you have lost the support of natural teeth, your facial muscles can sag and make you look older and impair your speech. A denture replaces these missing teeth and provides support for your cheeks and lips.

You can have full dentures that replace all of your teeth in your lower or upper jaw, or a partial dentures which replaces a few missing teeth. A NHS denture is usually made from acrylic (plastic), private dentures are available in acrylic, flexible plastic or metal. The teeth that are added to the 'plate' of the denture are also made from acrylic and can be matched to your own teeth. There is no need to worry that people will notice your new dentures as they can be made to look like your natural teeth so there is little change in your appearance. You may also opt for some cosmetic enhancements and improve your smile.

There will be an adjustment period while you get used to your new dentures. You may need to start eating small pieces of food slowly and using both sides of your mouth to prevent the denture from moving. You can add different foods bit by bit until you get used to the dentures and return to your normal diet. You may also be able to taste the denture when eating so for a small period of time your food may taste slightly different. Your speech may be affected when saying certain words, it is best to practice reading allowed to yourself for a few days. To give your mouth and gums a rest you should remove your dentures at night but throughout the adjustment period it is best to keep them in to allow the to settle. It is probably you have some minor irritation during the adjustment period. This should go after a few days, but if not, you should see your dentist for an ease. Make sure you wear your dentures before the appointment so the dentist can see easily the area which is sore. They may even feel a little loose to start with while your facial muscles get used to keeping the dentures in place.

Even if you have lost all of your teeth, you must still take good care of your mouth. Use a soft bristled brush to clean your gums, tongue and the roof of your mouth as plaque can still form. An extra tip is to rub your gums with a little salt. Once the gritty feeling has gone, the salt dissolves leaving a film of saline solution between your gums and the denture. To maintain good oral health you should see your dentist every 1-2 years. This is so your gums, cheeks and tongue can be checked for infection and is now so important for the early detection of mouth cancer.

There is a difference to immediate dentures and conventional dentures. Immediate dentures are made to be fitted at the time of your teeth being extracted. The dentist will take impressions and arrange for you to have the extractions at a following appointment when the denture has been made. It takes around six months for your gums to heal after extractions. The immediate dentures will need to be adjusted and relined during this time as your gums and bones shrink. The benefit of immediate dentures is that you are not left with gaps or no teeth at all during the healing period. Conventional dentures are the more permanent dentures that are made after all your gum tissue has healed and your bones have slowed down shrinking.

Your dentures should last you a long time although we do recommend replacing them every 5 years or so. This is because your gums and jawbone never stop shrinking, and can shrink as much as 7mm in 10 years. This doesn't sound like much but can make a huge difference in your dentures resulting in slurred speech, sore spots and difficulty in eating. The back teeth can become worn making it difficult to chew and the front teeth can become chipped and stained.

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Denture Cleaning

It is very important to clean you dentures every day as dirty dentures can result in inflamed gums, bacterial or fungal infections and lead to losing more teeth.

The general rule is brush, soak, brush but it is down to your preference. Firstly brush the dentures to remove and food debris. Secondly soak the dentures in a specialist cleaner. Effervescent cleaners are available which are a lot better at removing stubborn stains. Lastly brush your dentures again careful not to brush too hard damaging the teeth and make sure the surface which rests on the gums are clean.

There are many products available for cleaning and soaking dentures. You can get specialist denture brushes although a soft bristles toothbrush works just as well. Do not use cleaners containing bleach or use hot water as these can weaken the denture. If you have specialist dentures such as flexi-dentures, chrome dentures or dentures with a soft lining, check with your dentist what cleaners to use. If you do take your teeth out overnight, leave them in some water only, not a cleaning soak, so they don't warp or crack.

Denture Fixative

Fixative is not only used for badly fitting dentures. Even if your dentures fit perfectly, using fixative can still be of benefit to you. Fixative will help to reduce wobble holding the denture firmly in place so you can eat difficult foods like apples and crusty bread, giving you more confidence with your teeth.

Fixatives work by reacting with your saliva to make an adhesive. It can work as a barrier, expanding to fill any gaps, to prevent food getting stuck between the denture and your gums. It can act to increase your bite force so your dentures do not dislodge when eating. Fixative can also act as a cushioning support making your dentures more comfortable and prevents rubbing.