You'll know that you have truly gotten used to your new dentures when you forget that they're there. However, you'll never truly forget that you're wearing dentures. After all, you're the one who puts them in your mouth when you wake up each morning, and certain allowances must be made. For example, dentures cannot quite replicate the bite pressure of natural teeth, so you need to be mindful of what you eat. But before long your dentures will feel like a natural addition to your mouth. They can feel so natural that you'll want to keep them in at all times—perhaps even when you sleep. 

Temporary Overnight Wear

Immediately after receiving your dentures, you may be told to wear them at all times—even overnight. This is not an ongoing instruction, and if overnight wear is advised, it will only be for the first night or two. This can help your gingival tissues become accustomed to their new companion, and can sometimes assist with healing if any teeth needed to be extracted to accommodate your dentures.

Overnight Storage

Beyond any short-term instructions to the contrary, you must remove your dentures before going to sleep. They must be stored appropriately (usually submerged in water or a denture cleansing solution), which helps to keep them clean, while also maintaining their shape. What are the risks of regularly falling asleep with your dentures still in your mouth?

Your Gums Need To Rest

Dentures are false teeth without an anchor. Natural teeth are anchored to the underlying bone with their roots and periodontal ligaments. Dental implants are false teeth with an artificial root (which is the implant). Dentures rest on your palate, requiring direct contact with the soft tissues inside your mouth. These tissues need a rest from the friction caused by dentures, which prevents sore spots and general irritation. Dentures that are worn overnight are dentures that can become quite uncomfortable, quite quickly.

Hygiene and Bad Breath

Sleeping with your dentures in place also allows oral bacteria to flourish. This bacteria is largely eliminated by soaking your dentures in a cleansing solution overnight, which prevents it from excessively accumulating in your mouth and having an effect on any remaining natural teeth. Additionally, fungal infections can develop when dentures are worn around the clock. Increasingly bad breath also becomes more possible.

There's no cause for alarm if you occasionally drift off to sleep without removing your dentures, but it shouldn't be a regular habit since your oral health will ultimately pay the price.