Taking your teeth for granted can end up costing you dearly, and it’s the same with dentures, which have their own special maintenance needs.
Dentures Plus owner Ryan Carlton says keeping dentures clean is vital for good hygiene and comfortable long-term use.
Bad breath is one of the first signs dentures may may need closer attention, although the bacteria contributing to the odour are not always obvious to wearers, Ryan says.
A closer look will often reveal an accompanying buildup of plaque and calculus on the denture, including its hard-wearing acrylic “gum” part – an area that with natural teeth is not available for brushing.
Ryan says plaque and calculus, or tartar, provide an ideal environment for bacteria to hide and multiply, and its removal is important for both oral hygiene and comfort.
“If plaque and calculus are allowed to build up, it can change the fit of the denture and cause irritation and soreness to the gums. There’s also chance of ulcers and infection.
“Dentures need manual brushing to remove food debris but they also need need to be soaked in a cleaning solution such as Caldent. This helps remove stains, bacteria, plaque and calculus.”
Checkups at a denture clinic should also be scheduled every two to three years to ensure potentially serious issues aren’t going unnoticed.
Given dentures' initial cost and their importance for diet, self-esteem and social confidence, looking after them is a relatively small price to pay, Ryan says.
“A consultation every two or three years is a good idea even if everthing seems fine. It’s a bit like a warrant of fitness for the mouth.
“At Dentures Plus, we check the denture, gums, any remaining teeth and the tongue for any abnormalities such as potential oral cancers or growths that could turn into a major problem if left unchecked.
“A loose denture can cause a lot of unnoticeable problems and disguise potential issues that could flare up. If we catch these problems early, it’s normally simple to fix and get you back on track.”
Dentures Plus provides a full suite of denture services at its St Albans clinic, which has a laboratory and full denture-making facilities alongside its consultation rooms. It is one of the few facilities in New Zealand with a laser welder made specifically to repair partial dentures.
Cleaning products, including brushes, solutions and bathes for dentures, are sold over the counter and via the Denture Plus website.
Caldent is easily the best cleaning solution on the market and far superior to anything in supermarkets, Ryan says.
For people who want to restore their dentures quickly, Dentures Plus also offers a cleaning service that uses an specialised ultrasonic machine in combination with Caldent. This can produce a result in a few hours that would take a week at home.