You have probably been looking forward to the day when you finally receive your new denture. You are likely glad to finally put all of your dental problems behind you. However, your dentures may take time to get used to. Part of the denture covers your gums. Some patients say that it feels bulky in their mouth. Other times the denture may feel loose. These feelings will affect the way you eat and talk for a little while until your body adjusts to your new teeth.
Over time, your mouth and tongue become trained to eat and speak with the dentures so that they begin to feel more natural. They may never feel as comfortable as your natural teeth, but they are a great alternative to having no teeth.
Your attitude and ability to adapt are very important in learning how to use your new dentures. Do not expect too much from them, especially at first. Your dentist can only make the dentures and advise you on how to wear them. YOU must have the patience and perseverance to learn to use the dentures.
“Feel” of the Denture
When a denture is first inserted it feels very bulky. You will not be accustomed to having so much material in your mouth. The muscles of your mouth, tongue and cheeks need to get used to coordinating movement with the denture.
You will notice an increased production of saliva as you get accustomed to wearing your new dentures. This is a normal response of your mouth to having a new prostheses, it is temporary and should adjust with time.
Your speech may be affected by your new denture until your muscles get accustomed to controlling the dentures. The learning process is enhanced by practice; the more you talk with the dentures in place the sooner your muscles will coordinate movement and allow you to sound “normal”. Reading out loud will help speed the process. If your dentures “click” when you speak, try speaking more slowly to avoid movements that raise and/or move your lower denture.
Keeping your lower denture in place requires the ability to hold it still with the muscles of your lips, cheek, and tongue. At first these muscles may tend to “kick out” your denture. Bite and swallow before speaking. This places your dentures in position so you can speak more clearly. If you’re concerned about your dentures slipping when you speak, try using a denture adhesive, such as Fixodent.
It will take some time for you to learn to eat a “normal” diet. During the first few days we recommend a soft diet. Try to avoid hard, sticky foods until you have more experience with your dentures. While some experienced denture wearers will tell you they can eat anything, from apples to corn on the cob, this is the exception, not the rule. Most patients will find some restrictions in the foods they can manage with their dentures.
Helpful Hints for Eating With Your New Dentures
- Start off with very soft foods. As your control of the dentures improves, begin eating harder, stickier foods that require more chewing.
- Eat slowly and cut things up into small bites.
- Try to not chew on one side then the other, try to chew on both sides at the same time in an up and down motion. This will prevent the denture from tipping.
- Dentures are not made to cut or incise with your front teeth, it will loosen them and tip them. Cut things up with a knife and then place into your mouth.
New dentures almost always will cause sore spots. These will be relieved by your dentist at your post-insertion appointments. Do not try to fix them at home. Your dentist will reduce the high areas a little bit at a time to not compromise the fit of the denture.
Even though your dentures aren’t real teeth, you still need to care for them like they are. Dentures need to be cleaned daily with a denture brush and warm water to remove plaque and food particles. Do not use toothpaste on your denture as it is too abrasive and will scratch your new denture. Soaking them in a cleanser solution will help keep your dentures looking white and bright, while preventing plaque buildup and denture odor. Never soak them in hot water because it may warp the dentures. Your oral tissue and any remaining teeth must also be kept clean by using a soft toothbrush.
Dentures at Night
Your new dentures are like the stars, “they come out at night”. It is important that you allow the tissues of your mouth to have some time to breathe and recover. Remove your denture every night and place them in a container with denture solution or water to prevent them from drying out and losing their shape. The only exception to this rule is if your dentist asks you to wear them over night to assess your mouth for sore spots the next day.
How Long Will My Dentures Last?
Dentures are not meant to last forever. Normal usage and wear will result in a well-made denture needing replacement every six to eight years. You may need to have your denture relined prior to that to improve the fit. Keep them away from pets and be careful when handling them as they can break if dropped.