Can I Wear Dentures During Surgery?

| March 24, 2013 | 5 Comments

Patients will often ask, “Can I wear my dentures during my surgery and general anesthesia?”

Every patient is unique. Removing dentures may feel like a minor inconvenience to some and a real personal, emotional issue for others. Some feel uncomfortable removing them in front of close family members or even their spouses.

If you are having general anesthesia, you will be asked to remove your dentures. This is because they can become a safety hazard once you are “asleep”. Your anesthesiologist will secure your airway once your are under anesthesia, which means they will likely place a breathing tube or an LMA (laryngeal mask airway).

In the process of doing this, the dentures may become loose, obstruct the airway, and/or generally get in the way of managing the airway. This is obviously a very important issue.

Also, there is a chance of the dentures getting damaged or misplaced if they are left in place and then need to be urgently removed in the operating room.

Most medical centers will provide patients with a plastic container for the purpose of securing and storing the dentures during the surgical period. If a patient is sensitive about family members seeing them without dentures, they can remove them AFTER saying their “See you later” to family members. It can then be requested that no family members be allowed to see the patient after surgery is completed until their dentures are given back.

The physicians, nurses, and surgical technicians that work in the operating room take care of patients with dentures frequently and treat them with the same dignity and respect they treat all patients.

In conclusion, if you wear dentures, you will likely be asked to remove them if you are having a general anesthetic.

If this is a sensitive issue for you, please talk to your surgical team so that they can give you the privacy you may need prior to removing the dentures.

Please share your questions and concerns in the comments section below.

I look forward to hearing from you and wish you a safe and smooth perioperative experience.


Dr. Dave

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Category: Anesthesia Topics, Day of surgery, General Anesthesia, operating room

Comments (5)

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  1. Lynn says:

    Thank you for your info above. I am more worried about the removal of my dentures than my gall bladder! But you have made me feel slightly better. Thank you

    • David Draghinas says:

      You are very welcome, Lynn.

      I am glad our information could provide a little bit of comfort for you. I am praying you have a safe and smooth surgical experience.

      Dr. Dave

  2. KnR says:

    How can they say it is a safety issue in case they chip a tooth of your denture that you might swallow it. They can chip a natural tooth and that can be swallowed too, so what is your excuse there? My health issues are my business and having dentures is nobody elses business, but after being put out and they forcibly removed my glues in dentures they damaged my gums. If I glue my teeth in they are in for 3+ days and aren’t going anywhere until the adhesive gives and I glue my in to eat the day before surgery so they can only be foricibly removed. If I were married my spouse would never see me without my teeth. As it is now only my parents know I have dentures and that is because after an accident where I got hit in the mout they offered to pay to get my teeth fixed. I got mine in 1999 and wear them 24/7, except to clean or soak them and my significant other has no idea I wear them, unless someone went through my purse saw the adhesive. It is nobody’s business, but one time I had surgery and the rude nurse came back in front of everyone, including other patients and wanted me to answer her questions. I already told them I do not speak without my teeth in. But in front of other patients and their familes she yelled, “Here’s your teeth”. Everyone in the recovery room turned to look at who was getting their teeth. Since when did it become common practice to violate patients privacy rights. One of the other patients guests who overheard and knew some people I knew told everyone I had dentures. That was my business, nobody elses. that is why they call them natural looking dentures. They should made a tooth guard for dentures so people can have them in (only if affixed wth adhesive) during surgery.

    • Hi there,

      I am sorry you had a terrible experience. There is no other way to put it. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect as a patient.

      We will use your experience to better take care of our patients in the future. I will be very mindful of how patients with dentures may feel about removing them in front of family members. And also discussing the dentures at all.

      Thanks for sharing your story with us. I hope that your next experience is much better.

    • sara norvell says:

      The safety issue comes with the fact that once we as anesthesia providers push sedative hypnotics (frequently Propofol) even your well glued teeth come out. Also denture teeth have 1/10th the strength of regular teeth and thus even more susceptible to breaking . In addition , even if the individual teeth do not break the denture can become displaced into the airway causing potential soft tissue damage and/or cause problems with airway management . The priority is your safety.

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