By David Hudnall, DMD
Dentures can be transformative for patients who suffer from missing or broken teeth, allowing them to eat, speak, and laugh with confidence in social situations and improve their overall quality of life.
High-quality dentures, like those provided by European Denture Center, can mean the difference between consciously hiding your teeth and really living your best life with a beautiful smile. Dentures that fit well and are comfortable make you believe that you can wear the dentures all day and all night long. But you should never fall into this habit.
Is it OK to Wear Dentures 24/7?
Can you wear dentures 24/7? Wearing dentures 24/7 is a bad habit that can have unintended consequences affecting both your health and the longevity of your dentures. Let’s discuss some of the real reasons why it is not OK to wear dentures all day and all night:
1. Unhealthy Tissue
Imagine the bacteria present and the smell released if you were to wear your shoes continually for weeks at a time, never taking them off to allow your skin to breathe. The skin that covers your feet requires air circulation in order to remain healthy.
The same concept applies to the tissues that make up your mouth. Any soft tissue that is continually covered by a denture and never exposed to air will not remain healthy and is susceptible to bacterial growth that causes disease and bad breath.
2. Denture Stomatitis
Denture stomatitis is a condition of the tissues that line the inside of the mouth. It occurs in areas that are covered by dentures and causes inflammation of the underlying tissue. The fiery red, swollen tissue may also be accompanied by a burning sensation that can be quite painful, making dentures difficult to wear.
This inflammation is the result of a proliferation of yeast and bacteria that thrives in moist, dark environments. People who sleep with dentures in their mouth are more likely to have yeast infections and higher levels of proteins produced by white blood cells that cause an inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation is known to weaken and suppress the immune system, making the entire body more susceptible to other disease processes.
3. Respiratory Issues
By exposing your mouth and throat to the bacteria present on dentures while sleeping, you increase your risk for colds, respiratory infections, and pneumonia. Wearing dentures 24/7 makes you twice as likely to develop life-threatening pneumonia compared to someone who routinely removes their dentures while they sleep.
4. Accelerated Bone Loss
Dentures put added pressure on the gum tissue and bony ridges that support them. Constant pressure from wearing dentures all day and all night accelerates bone resorption, a process that results in a gradual decrease in bone quantity and density. With bone loss comes inadequate support for the dentures, causing them to not fit correctly and fall out more easily.
5. Adequate Cleaning
People who are wearing dentures 24/7 typically spend less time cleaning their dentures than people who soak them while sleeping. Dentures become coated with bacteria and plaque that must be removed daily. Plaque that is not completely removed will lead to the formation of toxin-containing tartar.
Oral hygiene must be maintained to keep your mouth healthy and prolong the life of your dentures. Once tartar forms, it becomes hardened and very difficult to remove. Tartar buildup not only affects the appearance of your dentures; it can also affect their fit. Removing the dentures allows you to spend more time caring for them.
6. An Exception
There is one main exception to the rule: it is OK to wear dentures all day and all night for the first few nights after having teeth extracted when immediate dentures are placed. There are specific reasons for this:
- Bleeding Control: The pressure applied by your dentures helps to control bleeding.
- Swelling: Post-operative swelling may prevent you from reinserting your dentures if they are removed for more than a few hours.
- Bone Conforms to Denture: The denture helps shape the pliable bone after extractions.
Once 72 hours have passed after having extractions, a regular denture hygiene routine should be established that includes removing your dentures while you sleep.
When Should You Not Wear Your Dentures?
There are several specific times you should not wear your denture. We outline a few of them below.
1. While Sleeping
We have outlined that wearing dentures 24/7 can lead to accelerated bone loss and disease that affects your overall health. With very few exceptions, dentures were never designed to be worn continuously.
2. Denture Pain
When dentures are rubbing, making your mouth sore, or causing pain, continuing to wear them can actually cause more harm. Sore spots and pain are signs that something is wrong. See your dentist or denturist as soon as possible to have the issue addressed.
3. Poor Fit
When you must use excessive amounts of denture adhesives just to keep your dentures in place, they clearly no longer fit. It is time to see the denturist for a reline or new dentures.
Can I Sleep in My Dentures?
The short answer is: You can wear your dentures all day and all night but it is not recommended or advisable. Wearing dentures to bed leads to health issues that have very real consequences ranging from sore gums to pneumonia. It is far easier to take steps to prevent the problem than it is to resolve it once it occurs. This article about wearing dentures at night discusses some of the health contraindications of wearing dentures 24/7.
Dentures Are a Removable Appliance for a Reason
No matter how well dentures are made, they are an artificial appliance and require removal from your mouth for at least 6 to 8 hours during each 24-hour cycle. The staff and denturists at European Denture Center will show you the best ways to care for your dentures.
We want you to experience all of the benefits that well-fitting dentures offer while avoiding preventable problems that can accompany any removable dental restoration by wearing dentures 24/7. The first step to beautiful precise-fitting dentures is only a click or call away!
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