I’ve been in dentures for close to five years. I was talking to a friend who also has dentures and mentioned that I sleep with mine. She was adamant that this was bad for me. I did explain that I took them out each morning and cleaned them, but I put them right back in as soon as they had been cleaned. Is it really as bad for me as she says? The thing is I am in a new relationship and I really, really do not want him to see me without my dentures in. Plus, I worry about getting that old person, hollowed out look that people get with dentures so I keep them in as much as possible.
You have asked a question that I am sure many people have. That fact is that your friend is right. It is important that you take your dentures out at night. Without that, you will eventually develop some problems. Taking your dentures out at night gives the small blood vessels in your oral tissue an opportunity to open up and the blood to flow more easily. This gives your oral tissue a break from the constant pressure on them.
Without that break and the time without the denture to allow your saliva to flow over the area, you risk getting denture stomatitis. This causes the gums to become inflamed, reddened, and painful.
What Causes the Old Hollowed Out Look with Dentures?
The problem of the older appearance that happens with dentures does not have to do with whether or not you keep them in at night. It is a matter of how long you are without teeth. When your teeth are removed, your body recognizes that and begins to resorb the minerals in your jawbone that it was using to help secure your tooth roots. Without tooth roots, your body assumes you don’t need those minerals there and transfers them to use elsewhere in the body.
While an efficient use of your body’s resources, it has the unfortunate side effect of slowly shrinking your jawbone. After ten or more years in dentures, depending on how fast your minerals resorb, you will no longer have enough ridge to keep your dentures in. This is known in dental circles as facial collapse.
Is There a Solution to Facial Collapse?
The best solution is to have dental implants placed in your jaw. This will signal to your body that you still have teeth and you need your jawbone to keep them secure. With four to six dental implants you can then anchor a new set of dentures to them. This is known as implant overdentures and has so many benefits. They are permanently anchored so you won’t have to worry about taking them out ever again. Because they’re anchored to the implants you won’t have the same blood flow problem.
You will also now notice that your chewing capacity goes up significantly. You can eat anything you want again without a problem. There are other benefits too but the one relevant to your concern is it will completely prevent facial collapse.
This blog is brought to you by Decatur, AL Dentists Drs. Drake and Wallace.