People are getting older and older – but this does not always apply to their teeth. Then the so-called “third teeth” are in demand. Whether removable dentures or fixed dentures, dealing with “the third party” is initially unfamiliar and takes some getting used to. We will give you tips on how to handle and properly care for your third teeth.
New dental prosthesis: first phase of familiarization
It will take a few days to get completely used to the new teeth. At first it may be difficult to speak some sounds. The quickest way to get these hurdles under control is with a little language training, undisturbed in front of the mirror.
Also, the jaw will need its time to practice eating and chewing with the third. It is best not to use the incisors first. The easiest way to change is to eat soft food with small bites during the first few days.
Proper care of third teeth
Whether removable dentures or fixed dentures: oral hygiene is just as important for third teeth as the care of real teeth, because bacterial plaque can also form on the artificial teeth.
Plaque causes inflammation of the gums and jawbones, which can damage the valuable implants. In order to avoid costly repairs, here are a few helpful tips that will hopefully keep your third teeth happy for a long time to come.
The right care for removable prostheses
The following tips will help you maintain a removable denture properly:
- After every meal it is important to clean the denture. Here it is usually sufficient to take the teeth out of your mouth and rinse them under clear water.
- Once a day cleaned with a special prosthesis brush, the main care is already done.
- It is recommended to additionally use a denture cleaner, which with special cleaning substances ensures that already formed plaque and calcareous tartar can come off again.
- Dental floss and mouthwashes can be used as usual to give the necessary care and cleanliness to the interdental spaces and are also absolutely recommended for third teeth.
- When wearing full dentures, the gums should also be massaged regularly, preferably daily, as the denture covers the oral mucosa on the jaw and palate and thus prevents natural cleansing by saliva and tongue.
- Ideally, the removable denture should be cleaned over a washbasin filled with water – so the prosthesis does not break so easily if it falls down.
- If you remove your denture for a longer period of time, it is best to store the denture in water.
Care tips for fixed dentures
For fixed dentures, such as crowns, partial crowns, implants or bridges, you should observe the following tips for proper care:
- Clean your teeth or dental prosthesis twice a day with a toothbrush.
- Interdental brushes (interdental brushes), dental floss and possibly supplementary oral showers should be used once a day to clean the interdental spaces. Special dental floss for implant cleaning is available on the market. Interdental brushes should be metal-free to avoid scratching the surface of the implants.
- It is best to use a fluoride-containing toothpaste without abrasive particles.
- Do not neglect regular check-ups and go to the dentist twice a year for a check-up.
When dental care is difficult
Older people in particular often find it difficult to recognise plaque on their third teeth and clean the prosthesis properly due to poor vision and decreasing manual dexterity. In this case, the help of nursing staff or relatives may be necessary to ensure daily dental care.
In some cases – especially in cases of physical disability – a toothbrush with an individually designed handle can make dental care easier.
The third ones don’t sit right anymore – what now?
With removable dentures, it is quite normal for the prosthesis to lose its hold over time. This is because the chewing pressure is first transferred to the oral mucosa and then to the jawbone – instead of the natural teeth, which absorb the pressure themselves and pass it on to the bone in a softer form. The jaw bone decomposes as a result of the heavy load.
A regular visit to the dentist every six to nine months is therefore a top priority in order to maintain the perfect fit of the prostheses and thus avoid unpleasant pressure points.
Pressure points in removable dentures
Pressure points can be prevented with special adhesives. They form a soft, elastic cushion under the denture and offer better hold. Especially in the early stages, adhesives help to familiarize the jaw with the unusual foreign body in the mouth. With a well-fitting prosthesis, the function of the adhesive is usually performed by the natural saliva film between the artificial tooth and the oral mucosa.
If pressure points and pain have already formed, they can be treated with mouthwashes and ointments from the pharmacy. Herbal remedies such as thyme, sage or chamomile can also help to counteract the symptoms. If problems continue to arise, it is always advisable to visit the dentist.
Updated: 18.09.2017 – Author: Sabrina Haas; revised: Silke Hamann