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Tanner Type Bite Splint

Avoiding Appliance Antics

Bite splints, nightguards, partial dentures, retainers, and dentures are types of removable dental appliances. They typically are made partially or completely out of acrylic, a porous type of plastic that is made from mixing a powder and a liquid that goes through several stages as it sets: granular, liquid, gel, putty, and then solid. While many steps are taken in processing acrylics to minimize air incorporation, pores are still created by tiny air bubbles. The acrylic goes from powder and liquid to a solid through a process called polymerization. Acrylics are great for dental appliances because they can be made to fit models of the mouth well, polish nicely, and they can be repaired with relative ease.

However, there are several antics to avoid with all dental appliances, many of which may seem to be common sense. Here is a basic list of things to avoid, which is certainly not all-inclusive:

1. Cleaning with full-strength bleach: This will discolor the acrylic over time. Once a week, it is a good idea to soak the appliance in a solution of 1 teaspoon of bleach to 1 cup of water for 20 minutes.

2. Soaking in expensive over-the-counter cleaners: Many of these products create a build-up or stains on acrylic that is difficult or impossible to remove. We recommend soaking the appliances in a water/white vinegar solution of about 50/50 concentration nightly after brushing.

3. Brushing with abrasive paste or cream: This can damage the surface of denture teeth and roughen the acrylic. It’s better to brush the appliance with a denture brush and DAWN dishwashing detergent, rinse them thoroughly and then soak overnight in water or water/white vinegar.

4. Feeding them to your dog: You may chuckle, but dogs love to chew on dental appliances because they smell and taste like you! Keep them in a covered container or protective case when not in use.

5. Wrapping in napkins: This is especially a problem with retainers! People often remove retainers when eating and wrap them in napkins. Napkins get thrown away, correct? More often than not, the retainers get thrown away too.

Heeding this simple advice can help you avoid dumpster diving, trash trampling, and expensive remakes and repairs to your removable appliances.

For answers to questions about dental health and to schedule a complimentary consultation, call 330.364.2011 or e-mail info@doctorhuff.net.

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