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Dental Care 101: Keeping Your Dentures In Water

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The customary glass of water next to the bed is a common sight for denture wearers. If you've recently received partial or full dentures, then you're probably wondering why keeping your dentures in water is so important. You also might be wondering if there are any alternatives to the ubiquitous glass of water. The following offers in-depth information about keeping your dentures in water.

Why Keep Your Dentures in Water?

As it turns out, there's a pretty good reason why your prosthodontist will usually recommend keeping your dentures in water or denture cleaning solution overnight. Most dentures are made out of various plastics and acrylic resins, and these materials are generally shaped and colored to mimic the look and feel of your gums and teeth. Leaving your dentures out in the open can cause them to dry out.

As they dry out, the plastics and resins can dry out and turn brittle. This can cause your dentures to crack and even warp out of shape, making them nearly impossible to wear comfortably. Keeping your dentures submerged in water essentially helps them retain moisture when they're not in your mouth, thus preventing the material from drying out and the denture from getting out of shape.

What About Dentures with Metal Attachments?

If you received partial dentures, then chances are they feature metal clasps and other attachments to keep the denture securely in place. This can present somewhat of a challenge - you'll want to keep your dentures moist to prevent warpage, but soaking your denture hardware in water could cause corrosion to form on the metal surfaces.

Instead of keeping your partial denture in water, your prosthodontist may recommend keeping them in a denture cleaning solution specifically formulated to prevent corrosion on the metal attachments.

Are There Other Ways to Store Your Dentures?

You're probably wondering if there are any other ways you can store your dentures aside from the usual glass of water, especially if you want to hang on to your old dentures or have a backup pair on hand just in case:

  • For short-term storage, Dr. Rod Strickland, DDS, of the Denture Fountain of Youth recommends keeping them in a sterile liquid solution. This will not only prevent algae and bacteria from forming on the denture, but they'll also be safe from warpage.
  • For long-term storage, Dr. Scott T. Andrews, DDS, recommends placing your dentures in a zip-locking bag filled with water and placing the bag inside your freezer. It sounds a bit unconventional, but freezing the dentures ensures that nothing forms on the dentures during storage.
  • Dr. Alfredo Hernandez, DDS, MS, recommends drying your alternate pair of dentures and keeping them inside of a dry plastic container. This goes against the commonly accepted advice given earlier and it's not recommended for those with older dentures. However, the British Columbia Dental Hygienists' Association notes that advances in denture material technology are making them less susceptible to warpage when stored dry.

It's always a good idea to talk to your prosthodontist before putting your dentures in long-term storage, since he or she may have helpful advice that extends the life of your dentures.      

Dentures and Hot Water Don't Mix

Although it seems tempting, you'll definitely want to avoid sterilizing your dentures in hot or boiling water. The excess heat will soften the acrylic and plastic materials, causing them to warp and lose their shape in a very short amount of time. For this same reason, tossing your dentures in the dishwasher is also a no-no. Instead, you'll want to stick with the tried and true methods of keeping your dentures clean.   

For more tips, contact a local dental clinic like Bristol Dental Group