By Jessica Lau Carer, Unique Homecare Services 5th Year Student Bachelors of Dental Surgery, University of Central Lancashire
Dentures, also known as false teeth are prosthetic devices in which individuals can wear to restore form, function and aesthetics once teeth loss has occurred. Dentures can be partial ( replacing gaps within someone’s natural tooth arch) or be full dentures (replacing the entire tooth arch). Dentures can be made out of a plastic acrylic or a metal-base of cobalt chrome and acrylic.
Although often overlooked, dentures improve the quality of life of your loved one in care. It provides them with a set of teeth to eat with, and maintain dignity within their appearance to socialise and smile. Therefore, it is of pinnacle importance that both family members and carers take care of such dentures!
The replacement of lost/ damaged dentures is costly in both money, and time. Under the NHS, a new set of dentures will set you back at £269.30, with private fees soaring up to £1000+. Time wise, the creation of dentures will involve at least four appointments. Each appointment will involve different dental materials (e.g. gels, wax, plastic or metal items) being placed in the mouth, an experience that may feel bizarre and be discomforting; certainly a spark contrast to your loved one having tea and biscuits at home with the telly on! Furthermore, travelling to the dentist can often be overwhelming; being in an unfamiliar and often stressful environment, along with the complexities of arranging transport.
It’s always a smart idea to ask for a copy of the dentures created, especially if it is likely for the denture to be lost of broken. This will save your loved one from going through the time commitment and sometimes stressful experience of creating a new pair of dentures.
The last thing I would like to end with is the aftercare of dentures. The following list below is a gold standard on how to look after and clean your dentures:
1. Dentures need to be cleaned/rinsed after every meal.
2. You can clean your denture with a soft brush (e.g. toothbrush or nail brush) using soap. I highly recommend having water in the sink before washing, as if you were to drop the denture, the water will take the impact and protect the denture from breaking.
3. Once a day you should use a chemical based, denture specific cleaner (eg. Milton/ Steradent/ Dentural) to remove any bacteria or fungal particles that may have harboured on the denture. This prevents future mouth infections caused by unclean dentures- which can be painful and disabling to one’s ability of eating and speaking!
4. Make sure you take your dentures out every night. Just like how you would take your shoes off to give your feet a rest, your mouth requires the same!
5. Preferably store your dentures in a glass full of water while sleeping, in a place where you will remember to put them in the next day (e.g. bedside table).