Dentures can restore quality of life if you’ve lost most or all of your teeth. Dentures help to slow bone loss, improve digestion with proper chewing, and restore self-confidence. Are you prolonging the life of your dentures with proper care? How do you know if your dentures have reached the end of their life? Read on for some basic denture care information and signs that you need to replace your dentures.
How Long Should Dentures Last?
When properly cared for, dentures should last 5-10 years. That’s a pretty broad range! Dentures eventually no longer fit properly because when you have no more teeth, your jaw begins to lose bone mass. As your jaw loses bone, it will slowly change shape over time and that can significantly change the fit of your dentures. The rate of bone loss is very unique and can change with genetics, environment, and diet.
To prolong the life of your dentures, make sure to clean them every day. Use a brush and paste that are designed for dentures. Regular toothbrushes and toothpastes can scratch and damage your dentures, creating places for bacteria to hide. Don’t use boiling water to clean dentures, as this can change their shape and cause them to fit poorly. Dentures need to stay moist, so be sure to keep them in a cleaning solution when they aren’t in your mouth. Also, to slow bone loss and prevent infection, don’t forget to brush your tongue and gums to increase blood flow and remove bacteria. For your mouth, it’s appropriate to use a traditional toothbrush and toothpaste. As always, it’s important to keep going to your dentist on a regular basis for them to check the fit of your dentures. After awhile, your dentist may recommend you reline your dentures for a proper fit.
When to Replace Your Dentures
Pain or Discomfort
Poor-fitting dentures can cause pain and discomfort, even beyond your mouth. Upper back, neck, jaw, and head pain can all come from dentures. Dentures help to keep your jaws aligned properly. When they are no longer fitted correctly, it can cause facial nerve pain, headaches, earaches, tinnitus, and jaw pain. If you have unexplained pain, check with your dentist to see if it’s time to reline or replace your dentures.
When you first get dentures, you may experience some irritation and discomfort as your gums adjust. But after a few weeks, your gums should harden and adjust to your dentures, if they fit correctly.
Over time, as your jaw changes shape, it can cause part of your dentures to rub against your gums. As it rubs, this can cause painful sores. Not only are these uncomfortable, they are actually dangerous. These sores provide a place for bacteria to grow and enter your blood stream.
As your mouth structure changes, it can also cause your dentures to become loose or wobbly. Dentures that fall out often or are difficult to chew with may need replacing. Proper chewing helps break down your food for digestion. If you have trouble chewing certain foods or struggle to keep your dentures in place while speaking, it’s probably time to replace your dentures.
Discoloration, Staining, Trapped Food
Dentures are supposed to fit snugly on your gums. As dentures age, they may not fit properly and food may begin to get stuck between your gums and your dentures. Additionally, your dentures may develop small, hair-line fractures over time. You’ll notice discoloration or places that are hard to get clean. These cracks can be a haven for bacteria and can make you more susceptible to gum disease.
Broken Base or Teeth
If your denture base breaks, you will definitely need to replace them. The base is essential for helping restore bite forces and aligning your jaw. A broken base can cause infection and pain and needs to be replaced. Broken teeth may be able to be repaired, but you should never attempt to repair dentures on your own. Your dentist can repair your dentures in a way that helps keep your jaws aligned and prevents bad bacteria overgrowth. If any part of your denture breaks, a dental professional can tell you your best options.
If you’re ready to replace your dentures, please consider giving West One Family Dental a call. We are Colorado Springs denture specialists!