Can I sleep with my dentures in?
8 February 2024
Can I sleep with my dentures in? Sleeping with dentures in place is generally not recommended for several reasons. In this article, we’ll delve into whether it’s safe to sleep with dentures, the potential consequences, and common questions individuals may have regarding this topic.
Exploring the Practice of Sleeping with Dentures
Sleeping with dentures in place is a topic of discussion among denture wearers, but it’s essential to understand the potential risks and considerations associated with this practice. Let’s explore why it’s advised against and address common questions individuals may have regarding sleeping with dentures.
Is Sleeping with Dentures Safe?
Potential Risks and Considerations:
Risk of Oral Health Issues: Wearing dentures continuously, including during sleep, can increase the risk of oral health problems such as gum inflammation, fungal infections (such as candidiasis or “thrush”), and irritation of the oral tissues.
Decreased Saliva Flow: Saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining oral health by flushing away food particles and bacteria. Sleeping with dentures can impede saliva flow, leading to dry mouth and an increased risk of oral infections.
Pressure on Soft Tissues: Prolonged wear of dentures, especially during sleep when individuals may shift positions frequently, can exert pressure on the soft tissues of the mouth. This pressure can cause discomfort, soreness, and even tissue damage over time.
Pressure on Soft Tissues:
When dentures are worn continuously, they exert pressure on the soft tissues of the mouth, including the gums, tongue, and palate. This pressure can lead to various issues and discomforts:
Soreness and Irritation: Prolonged pressure from dentures can cause sore spots, redness, and irritation on the gums and other soft tissues. This discomfort can make wearing dentures unbearable for some individuals.
Tissue Damage: Excessive pressure on the soft tissues can result in tissue damage, including ulcers, blisters, and even tissue necrosis in severe cases. This can further exacerbate discomfort and increase the risk of oral infections.
Difficulty Eating and Speaking: Pressure from ill-fitting dentures can interfere with proper chewing and speaking. Individuals may experience difficulty biting and chewing food or have trouble articulating sounds clearly.
Bone Resorption: Continuous pressure on the gums and underlying bone can contribute to accelerated bone resorption, leading to further changes in denture fit and stability over time.
Reduced Saliva Flow: Pressure from dentures can impede saliva flow, leading to dry mouth. Reduced saliva production increases the risk of oral infections and discomfort, as saliva helps lubricate the oral tissues and neutralise acids produced by bacteria.
Changes in Denture Fit: Continuous wear of dentures, particularly during sleep, can contribute to changes in denture fit. The pressure exerted on the dentures during sleep may alter their shape, leading to a poor fit and discomfort during waking hours.
Understanding Changes in Denture Fit
1. Bone Resorption:
Description: After tooth loss, the underlying jawbone may gradually resorb or shrink over time due to lack of stimulation from tooth roots.
Impact on Denture Fit: As the jawbone changes shape, dentures may become loose or ill-fitting, leading to discomfort and difficulty with chewing and speaking.
2. Gum Tissue Changes:
Description: The gum tissues that support dentures can also undergo changes over time, such as thinning or receding.
Impact on Denture Fit: Reduced gum tissue volume can affect the fit of dentures, causing them to feel loose or unstable.
3. Denture Material Wear:
Description: The materials used to make dentures, such as acrylic or resin, can wear down over time with regular use.
Impact on Denture Fit: Worn denture materials may result in changes to the denture’s shape or surface texture, affecting its fit and function.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Can I sleep with my dentures in?
Can sleeping with dentures cause oral infections?
Yes, sleeping with dentures increases the risk of oral infections such as gum inflammation and fungal infections due to decreased saliva flow and prolonged wear time.
How often should dentures be removed for cleaning?
Dentures should be removed and cleaned at least once a day, preferably at night before bedtime. Proper cleaning and maintenance are essential for preventing oral health issues.
Can sleeping with dentures cause discomfort?
Yes, prolonged wear of dentures, especially during sleep, can cause discomfort, soreness, and tissue damage due to pressure exerted on the soft tissues of the mouth.
Is it necessary to remove dentures at night?
While it’s not strictly necessary to remove dentures at night, it’s generally recommended for optimal oral health. Removing dentures allows the oral tissues to rest and recover from the pressure exerted during the day.
Can dentures be worn overnight occasionally?
While occasional overnight wear of dentures may not cause immediate harm, it’s best to avoid this practice whenever possible to minimise the risk of oral health issues and discomfort.
Are there special cleaning routines for dentures worn overnight?
Dentures worn overnight should be thoroughly cleaned before bedtime and upon waking in the morning. Using a denture cleaner or soaking solution can help remove bacteria and debris accumulated during wear.
Can dentures affect sleep quality?
Dentures worn during sleep may cause discomfort or interfere with sleep quality due to pressure on the oral tissues. Removing dentures before bedtime can improve comfort and sleep quality.
Are there alternatives to sleeping with dentures in place?
Yes, individuals who prefer not to sleep with dentures can consider using a denture storage container filled with water or a denture cleaning solution overnight. This allows the dentures to soak and maintain their shape.
Can dentures be worn 24/7?
While some individuals may choose to wear dentures continuously, it’s generally recommended to remove them for cleaning and resting the oral tissues. Prolonged wear of dentures can increase the risk of oral health issues and discomfort.
What should I do if I experience discomfort from wearing dentures overnight?
If you experience discomfort or soreness from wearing dentures overnight, remove them immediately and rinse your mouth with water. Contact your dentist if the discomfort persists or worsens.
While it may be tempting to sleep with dentures in place for convenience, it’s important to consider the potential risks and consequences. Removing dentures at night allows the oral tissues to rest, reduces the risk of oral infections, and helps maintain optimal oral health. If you have any further questions or concerns about sleeping with dentures, don’t hesitate to consult our dentist for personalised guidance and recommendations.
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