Dentures (false teeth) fit over your gums to replace missing teeth. They are removable and need to be looked after carefully, and cleaned regularly.

You might be given immediate dentures, which can be fitted on the same day as the removal of your natural teeth. You will use these for 8 to 12 months, and then you will need a new set made.

This information explains how to look after your dentures and any remaining teeth.

Immediate dentures

After having teeth removed

Your dentist might suggest leaving your dentures in for 24 hours after your tooth removal (extraction). This is not always necessary. If you are unsure how long to leave your dentures in, please ask your dentist.

  • If told to, you should sleep with your dentures in for the first night only. They should then be removed at night, to prevent infection.
  • If you are having pain, take painkillers as your dentist has advised you to.
  • Avoid rinsing your mouth for the first 6 hours after treatment, as this can cause bleeding.
  • Avoid having hot drinks for the first 6 hours after treatment, as this can cause bleeding.


Having some blood in your saliva (spit) for a few days after surgery is normal.

If bleeding occurs, use one of the gauze packs provided by your dental team. Wet it lightly, and place over the area. Bite firmly for at least 30 minutes, or until the bleeding stops.

If the bleeding does not stop, contact your hospital dental team.

The day after treatment

After 24 hours, remove your dentures.

  • For upper dentures, try to place your finger under the denture teeth and gently pull down.
  • For lower dentures, try to lift it up gently.

Do not use toothpaste. Clean your dentures by using an ordinary toothbrush and a denture cream.

From the day after your surgery, you should rinse your mouth with a warm, salt water mouthwash. This can lower the risk of an infection. 

To make the mouthwash:

  • mix 1 level teaspoon of salt in a glass of hot water
  • let it to cool down until warm

Take a mouthful, hold it over the socket or wound, gently rinse the area. Remember to spit the mouthwash out.

Repeat this process after meals, no more than 4 times a day.

You can also use Corsodyl® mouthwash if recommended by your dentist. You can buy this from a pharmacy or shop.

Getting used to new dentures

When new dentures are fitted, it can be difficult to get used to speaking and eating.

  • To start with, try eating soft foods only, then progress to a more ‘chewy’ diet.
  • Your dentist might want to see you soon after your fitting to check your progress.
  • Remove your dentures after meals to clean them.

After a while, you will notice the dentures start to become loose. This is due to bone loss, because your jaw bone is no longer being stimulated by the use of your natural teeth. This is normal. You might find denture fixative (such as Poligrip®), or relining by a dentist helpful during this time. Speak to your dentist if you think your dentures need relining.

After 8 to 12 months you will need to have a new set of dentures made.

Cleaning your dentures

It is important to clean your dentures to keep your mouth clean.

If you still have teeth, you should brush them as part of your daily routine.

Be careful when you clean your dentures to avoid dropping and breaking them. If you clean your dentures over a sink or hand basin, make sure there is water in the basin to cushion the denture if you drop it. Dentures dropped into hard ceramic sinks often break.

  • Rinse your dentures in cold water to remove loose food particles.
  • Brush your dentures using an ordinary toothbrush (an old toothbrush will do) and soft soap or washing up liquid.
  • Do not use toothpaste.
  • Make sure you rinse them before using them.
  • You can also use a denture cleaning solution. If you don't know which one to use, ask your dentist.
  • You might find it nicer to rinse your dentures after every meal as food will collect under them.

Storing your dentures

Your dentures should be taken out every night (unless your dentist has told you differently). This is to let your mouth ‘breathe’. It also stops the risk of choking on dentures. A few people die every year because of this. 

  • Dentures can be stored dry, or in water or a denture-cleaning solution, overnight.
  • Change the water you store your dentures in every day to stop it going stale.
  • If you have a dog, keep dentures in a closed container when not wearing them. We regularly see people with dentures ruined by their dogs.

If you choose to wear dentures while sleeping, it's important that they are cleaned carefully before bed, and in the morning. Soak the dentures for 30 minutes in a denture cleaning solution before bed.

Looking after your mouth

It is also important to brush your remaining natural teeth with a fluoride-containing toothpaste. This is to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Use a different toothbrush for your teeth than you use for your dentures.

Brushing your gums, tongue and roof of your mouth with a soft toothbrush is also recommended.

Check ups

It is still important to see a dentist regularly to maintain your dentures and to check the health of your whole mouth. This is so that any problems, like infections or cancer, can be found early. 

Resource number: 3747/VER3
Last reviewed: February 2024
Next review due: February 2027

Contact us

If you have any concerns or questions, contact the department where you were treated, by calling the main hospital, phone: 020 7188 7188.

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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