Denture Care:
Evidence-based Guidelines

In February, 2011, a special supplement to the Journal of the American Dental Association was released. Titled Evidence-based guidelines for the care and maintenance of complete dentures it, along with my personal observations, is the source of the following information on denture care.

Because you might find the entire article a bit dry (I did and I love this stuff), I have tried to glean the most useful information and give you the 'cliff notes' version.

-- Careful daily removal of the bacterial biofilm present in the oral cavity and on complete dentures is of paramount importance to minimize denture stomatitis and to help contribute to good oral and general health.

-- To reduce levels of biofilm and potentially harmful bacteria and fungi, patients who wear dentures should clean their dentures effectively.

Wearing Dentures at Night

Existing studies have come up with conflicting results. Some say wear your dentures 24 hours a day, others say take your dentures out at night.
I recommend taking your dentures out at night if you can because I feel that the gums that support the dentures need some time to relax. It is felt that it will also minimize denture stomatitis. A study by Jeganathan, Payne and Thean in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, 1997, found that patients wearing dentures 24 hours a day resulted in 61% developing denture stomatitis. Those that wore their dentures only at night developed denture stomatitis 18% of the time.
I realize that there are many reasons to leave them in at night. Some patients have a spouse that has never seen them with their dentures out (and never will), some patients have natural teeth in one jaw that can dig into the other gums if the denture is out at night and some people just feel uncomfortable without the dentures in.
The good news is no matter which way you go you can find a study to support you.

I Wear Dentures. Do I Still Need To See My Dentist?

I know this is a loaded question, but of course the answer is YES.

Patients who wear dentures should be checked annually by their dentist for maintenance of optimum denture fit and function, for evaluation for oral lesions and bone loss, and for assessment of oral health status.

Changes to your gums and underlying bone happen gradually. Your dentist may see changes that you do not notice.

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