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Fortunately, dental prostheses are not as frequent as they were fifty years ago. For those who have to wear a total or partial dental prosthesis, as on the other hand for those who still have natural teeth, good oral hygiene is essential.
In the last fifty years, oral hygiene has significantly improved and the numerous advances in dentistry have made it possible to significantly extend the longevity of the teeth. Just think of implants (the fixing of an artificial tooth to others still in good condition), one of the recently developed methods to replace teeth in a more elegant and less invasive way than bridges. However, the implant technique is not always applicable. Depending on the number of teeth to be replaced, it may be necessary to resort to a full or partial prosthesis.
The period of adaptation of dental prostheses
The fitting phase of a prosthesis can take a few days to several weeks. At first, it is not easy, if not impossible, to forget that you are wearing dentures. The tongue is no longer in direct contact with the palate and the gums are covered by dentures. This completely alters sensory perception: at first, the teeth seem larger. The taste of food also changes, while the sensation of heat and cold decreases, etc. It takes some time to get used to, but once the adaptation phase is over, everything seems to return to normal in the buccal cavity.
Dental prostheses should not be worn 24 hours a day, with the only possible exception of the adaptation phase, according to the dentist’s recommendations. To relieve the gum, subjected to strong pressure, a break of at least eight hours (for example at night) must be taken. Dentures should never be left in the air, but placed in a humid environment, because if they dry they can deform. Boiling water is to be avoided for the same reason.
To ensure a good blood irrigation of the buccal mucosa, partially covered by the dentures during the day, it is recommended to massage the gums, palate, tongue and cheeks daily with a soft toothbrush. This massage also eliminates bacterial plaque and tartar that accumulates on the gums and can cause irritation, infection or halitosis.
A careful cleaning of the dentures
This daily brushing, which should be repeated after each meal, and in any case no less than once a day, is essential for good denture maintenance. With a toothbrush and a special toothpaste for prostheses, food remains and dental plaque are removed, remembering to brush your teeth from top to bottom instead of from front to back. Be careful not to use a normal toothpaste, too abrasive. There are also special brushes for dentures, to be used when their use is recommended. Combining denture brushing and the use of cleaning solutions has significant advantages and ensures optimal hygiene. In fact, the cleaning solutions make it possible to fight more effectively against tartar, cleaning the dentures even in places that are difficult to access to the toothbrush. Some of these products also have a long-term action against dental plaque, preventing it from accumulating on the teeth throughout the day. After soaking it in a cleaning solution, don’t forget to rinse the prosthesis in plenty of running water.
If the cleaning methods described above do not give the expected results, for example in the case of stubborn concretions (encrustations), absolutely avoid using knives or sharp tools, as this would only damage the shiny surface of the teeth, accelerating the accumulation. of tartar. In these cases, professional cleaning by the dentist is required, using ultrasonic or vibration equipment, combined with special cleaning solutions.
The brushing of the combined prosthesis
the use of cleaning solutions allows for ideal hygiene.
Better sealing of the dentures
Dental prostheses exert a completely different pressure on the jaws than natural teeth. While with normal teeth the pressure is transmitted directly to the maxillary bones, with dentures the chewing pressure falls first of all on the gum, before affecting the jaws. It is therefore essential that the dentures are perfectly adapted to the gum, so that the jaws are stressed in a homogeneous way. Otherwise, they have a tendency to remodel unevenly. The remodeling of the jaws, very intense immediately after the extraction of the teeth by the dentist, also continues in the following months and years. For this reason, it is necessary for the dentist to regularly re-examine the denture, so that it can possibly be readjusted according to the changes produced in the buccal cavity. The good fit of the prosthesis is the best guarantee of the health of the gums and jaws.
During the adaptation phase, those who have recently worn the prosthesis often have the impression that they will no longer have the courage to laugh out loud, yawn with their mouths open or bite into an apple, for fear of losing their dentures. At first, the muscles of the jaws and mouth must remodel themselves according to the new teeth. There is therefore a risk
to be in one of these unpleasant situations. However, after a few weeks, the dentures, which have now “settled” in the mouth, no longer create any kind of problem in everyday life. For added safety, an adhesive cream or powder can be used. These products fill the space between the gum and the prosthesis with saliva, ensuring optimal contact between the two structures. The risk of injury and inflammation decreases, because the adhesive forms a kind of protective cushion between the hard material in which the denture is made and the sensitive mucosa of the gum and palate. It should be noted that the use of an adhesive powder requires sufficient salivation. If necessary, remove the remains of cream or adhesive powder by rubbing the prosthesis with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil.
If the mobility of the prosthesis increases or if the use of dentures causes recurrent inflammation of the oral mucosa, a check-up visit to the dentist is required.
My name is Kim Jung-hoon and I am a medical student studying at the Yonsei University Faculty of Medicine in South Korea with the ultimate goal in specialization for Molecular Biology and Genetics.