Denture myths. Get the facts!

Cats Smile 2“Dentures last forever!”
Although you may have heard of those who have had dentures for over 10 years, it’s best for your comfort and health to replace your dentures every 6-8 years. While it’s true that dentures are durable, they aren’t any more permanent than eyeglasses. As the bones in your face and jaw change, your dentures will not fit as well as they should. Even with care, dentures change over time as well. They begin to lose their natural appearance and chewing ability. In some cases your denture can become loose in even just a couple of years due to these ongoing changes. In this case a reline can be done instead of replacing the denture.

“Everyone knows when you’re wearing dentures. It’s embarrassing.”
This is true only if your dentures look unnatural or need re-fitting. Many of the “tell-tale” signs that someone is wearing dentures is clicking or slipping, the teeth are too white or the teeth are the wrong shape for your face. A denture specialist is skilled in knowing the right shade or colour and shape of tooth that works for you. They can also fabricate a denture that has minor imperfections to create a look that is uniquely you. Once you are fitted with a cosmetic denture, be sure to give it the care it deserves with regular brushing with a denture brush and denture paste (or even mild dish soap works just fine).

“Denture wearers can’t eat normally, or even speak properly.”
While not all denture wearers can eat everything they would like, many have very few restrictions in their diets. When you get your first set of dentures you will have to re-learn how to speak and eat. With natural teeth you would alternate between sides when chewing your food, however, for denture wearers to avoid tipping, you will need to balance your bite by biting on both sides at once. But you’ll become a pro in no time!

“I have to use adhesives to make my dentures fit, or I can’t wear them all day.”
This is a particularly dangerous myth. Dentures are made to fit precisely and usually do not require use of an adhesive for comfort. Prolonged adhesive use can mask infections and cause more rapid bone loss in the jaw.

“Dentures aren’t like natural teeth; they’re not affected by over-the-counter and prescription medications.”
Drugs can affect denture fit and wearability. For example, certain medications can reduce the supply of saliva in your mouth, making it difficult to swallow, chew, or maintain the suction needed to keep the denture secure. So let your dental prosthetist (DP) know of any medications you may be taking regularly or even occasionally.

“I can make my own denture repairs.”
Even if you are a whiz at fixing toasters, leaky pipes or cars, do not try to adjust or repair your dentures yourself. Many of the products people use to fix their own dentures are toxic and can lead to serious health problems. Improperly relined dentures can be bulky, causing increased pressure on the jaw and more rapid bone loss. This can affect your speech, eating and increase the pressure on your jaws causing headaches and sore muscles. Don’t take a chance on your health. Please go to a licensed DP for all your denture repairs and relines. The handyman approach can cause irreparable damage and may result in the need for a new denture.

“I’ll be without teeth for days if I take my denture to the dentist for a reline or repair.”
If a DP has a lab on-site, they will be able to reline or repair your dentures within the same day. “I know I should have my denture replaced, but I just don’t want to go through a long adjustment period again.” The first time is always the hardest. You’re a pro now. You’ve learned the basics about eating, speaking and wearing a denture. There will be some adjustment, but it will probably be shorter and easier than the first time. And it is important! As the bones in your face shrink your face may acquire deep aging lines and develop a sunken appearance. A new denture is not only better for your health but it can also make you look younger! When you look at the big picture, the temporary adjustment period isn’t so bad.

“All dentures are the same. It makes sense to shop around and look for the lowest price.”
Not all dentures are created equal. Be wary of those that offer extremely low priced dentures and a turn-around of less than 2 weeks. Although it may seem like a good deal at first, it will cost more in the long run. When dentures are custom fabricated by a denture specialist it will take about five to six appointments before you receive your dentures, but it will be worth the wait. They will look more natural and fit better. Before the custom fabrication of your denture begins, the DP reviews your health history, performs a thorough oral examination and takes the first impression of your mouth. The next appointments will be to make a more exact impression of your mouth, determine your exact bite, and then try in your new denture when it’s in wax so you can make any changes before its finalised. DPs fabricate the denture themselves, using their skilled expertise and knowledge of your specific case to fabricate the best denture for you.

Michael Carson is a registered Dental Prosthetist (DP) at My Denture Place® located at Shop 4/10 Liuzzi St, Hervey Bay. Ph (07) 4124 0800

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