Some patients tell us they can’t imagine going without their denture at night or for any length of time.
So why do we tell patients to take their dentures out overnight?
Decreased oral health
Your gums and denture-bearing tissues need a chance to rest and recover. They also need to receive beneficial exposure to the antibacterial agents naturally present in your saliva.
When you keep your denture in around the clock, you restrict the amount of saliva that can circulate in your mouth. As a result, the surfaces under your denture can become a breeding ground for oral bacteria and fungi. This can cause odor, irritation, and disease. You will be more likely to develop tongue and denture plaque, gum inflammation, and Candida albicans or thrush.
The simple practice of removing your denture overnight will reduce your risk of inflammation, infection, and illness.
And if you are wearing an immediate denture, removing your denture at night can decrease your overall surgical healing time.
Accelerated bone loss
Dentures put pressure on your gums and the bony ridges beneath them. This contributes to resorption, a process that results in a gradual decrease in bone volume and density – bone loss.
Over time, resorption will lead to inadequate bone support for your denture. This will cause your denture to become loose and fall out more easily. You will also see progressively less support for your cheeks and lips, which can cause dramatic changes in your facial appearance.
While resorption will happen whenever you have missing teeth, these processes are accelerated if dentures are worn 24 hours per day.
Alternatives to nighttime breaks
For most people, it is easiest to go without your denture when you are sleeping. That way you can avoid having to eat, drink, speak, or socialize while not wearing your denture.
However, there may be a medical reason for you to wear your denture overnight. For example, if you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), wearing your denture at night actually may help prevent OSA. Or you may have developed a TMJ disorder, which could be exacerbated by removing your denture for long periods of time.
If you have been advised to keep your denture in at night, it may be best for you to remove your denture and give your supporting tissues a rest each day during waking hours.
If you have questions about best practices for wearing or caring for your denture, ask your Denturist at your next appointment.