Question: I have dentures and it seems that I have heard different opinions about whether I should take them out at night or not.  Please clarify this for me.

Complete Denture Care Explained by Shelby Township Dentist

For the majority of my denture patients I recommend that they remove their denture at night and soak them in water and a denture cleaner.  They also need to aggressively scrub the dentures over a water filled sink with a stiff denture brush.  This removes the excess debris and plaque bacteria.

The reason why I recommend removing them at night is because the tissues need to be neutralized and replenished with the patient’s saliva.  As the saliva bathes the tissue it provides a more stable microbiological environment on the tissues.    When dentures are allowed to remain in place all day and night without getting cleaned, yeast will start to grow and replace the good naturally occurring bacteria of the mouth.  Eventually reddish yeast infections will form on the gum and palatal tissues that support the denture. This yeast infection can create a burning sensation on the roof and corners of the mouth.  If the denture is old and worn the corners of the mouth will become red and sore.

I often use the analogy that you remove your shoes at night when going to bed.  In the same way it is necessary for the tissues to relax just as the feet need to relax.  It is also important to massage or lightly brush the gums that the denture fits on.  I recommend using a wash cloth or a soft toothbrush..  The roof of the mouth and ridges need to be stimulated using these techniques. It is also possible to soak the dentures in Listerine to kill off the bacteria.   After it has soaked in the wash I have recommended an antifungal cream be applied to the inside of the denture to fight off the yeast infection.  You will find that after using these techniques the soft tissue of the mouth will become healthier and firmer.  Once this occurs you should visit us and either have the denture relined or remade.

I will recommend that a patient keep their denture in place at night if they have concerns that their spouse “has never seen them without their teeth”, or if they can’t sleep without them.  The other reason is if their jaws are sore when they don’t wear them at night.  In these cases it is critical that they take them out at lease 1-2 hours per day sometime during the day.

Dr. Antolak treats his dental patients in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere where you are treated like a guest in the home. His motto is to “relax while we take care of your smile”. He specializes in cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry and general dentistry using sedation dentistry if necessary for his high fear patients. He has been treating patients for the past 21 years and is located in Shelby Township, Macomb County, Michigan.

Give us a call at (586)247-3500 or email for more information.