Adjusting to Dentures

Tips for New Denture wearers

· How your dentures feel

· How your dentures look

· Speaking with Confidence

· Eating with Confidence

· Denture care and Hygiene

How your dentures feel

As a new denture wearer you may feel as though your dentures don’t fit properly. You may feel that they ‘gag’ you or that you are biting your cheeks and tongue. Don’t worry—these problems will lessen as you adjust to wearing dentures. If you wear an upper denture it may take some time for your tongue to get used to the feeling of being pressed against the  denture and not the roof of your mouth.

New Sensations

With a new ‘foreign object in your mouth you may find that at first your mouth is full of saliva. This is perfectly natural and will go away once you become more adjusted to wearing your dentures. Try to swallow more often to remove the excess saliva.

Some soreness in your mouth is to be expected and usually occurs within a few hours of putting your  dentures in. If soreness becomes a continuing problem for you make an appointment with your  dentist to have any necessary adjustments made.  Wear your denture for several hours before visiting the dentist to assist in detecting tender spots.Never try to adjust your dentures yourself and risk spoiling their fit. .                                                                                                                                                                                    As a new denture wearer you may get the feeling that your dentures are too big or that your lips are being pushed forward. The ‘full mouth’ feeling is common to new denture wearers and will wear off as you get used to wearing them. 

Speaking with Confidence

When you are speaking the sound reaches your ears through vibrations in the bones of the jaw and skull.  Wearing dentures changes and increases the sound but it is much more noticeable to you than to anyone else.

If your dentures click when you speak, try to speak more slowly to avoid movements that raise or move your lower denture. Keeping your lower denture in place requires the ability to hold it still with the muscles of your lips, cheeks and tongue. At first these muscles may tend to ‘kick out’ your denture. It often helps spending a little time speaking aloud in front of a mirror and practice and repetition overcomes any real problems.

Eating with Confidence    

As a new denture wearer you will find that chewing feels different with dentures. You may also think that chewing has lost its flavour. While you are adjusting to your dentures your mind is receiving strong signals from your mouth about your dentures which overpower the messages from your taste-buds. After you are accustomed to your dentures your mind will pay less attention to your dentures and more to your taste-buds.

During the adjustment period you may have trouble sensing hot foods and drinks which is common to new denture wearers. Be careful, you don’t want to burn your mouth. To eat more easily and enjoyably while wearing dentures:

  • Begin with smaller quantities of food cut into smaller pieces.
  • When you put food in your mouth chew half of it on the back left side of your mouth and the other half on the back right side. This will even the pressure of your dentures.
  • Start with soft foods: eg. eggs, fish, chopped meat, cooked vegetables and puddings. After you are more confidant then try chewier foods like steak or celery.

During the learning period it is recommended to leave dentures in the mouth as much as possible, even at night. Under normal circumstances though research has shown by leaving dentures out at least eight hours per day or night allows gum tissue to rest and allows for normal stimulation by the tongue and saliva. This promotes good long-term health of the gums. (However if you leave them out and you wake up with facial muscle discomfort it could be that you are over-closing your jaws and in that case it may be better to leave them in.)

When dentures are first fitted they should be snug.  However as gums shrink people often resort to denture adhesives e.g. ‘Polident’ to keep their dentures in place. These can help to make dentures more stable and secure but there is no substitute for well-fitting dentures.

Denture Care and Hygiene advice

Whatever type of dentures it is a good idea to develop a regular routine to keep them clean. Deposits on dentures can be harmful to gums and/or remaining teeth.

After meals or at least before going to bed take out your dentures and rinse them under water to remove loose food debris. Only cean dentures with soapy  warm  water  and  a  soft  nail brush to remove plaque and some stains. Clean gums or brush remaining teeth before reinserting the dentures into your mouth.   To act as a cushion in case the dentures should drop when handling them remove them over a sink half filled with water.  Placing a facecloth in the sink will give even more protection.

Do not use abrasive cleaners or you could scratch and  damage your dentures. Scratches make the dentures more susceptible to collecting debris, plaque and stains.             Commercial denture  cleansers should only be used  occasionally and when they are needed - if dentures smell or taste unpleasant, always follow the mannufacturers instructions.  Be careful not to immerse your dentures in very hot water because it will cause them to warp.  When your dentures are not in your mouth store them in water. They need to be kept in a wet environment in order to maintain their proper fit.                  

 Keep your dentures in a safe and handy place to avoid  misplacing them

Success with your dentures depends on a few simple tips. Firstly rely on your dentist who has provided you with the finest possible dentures and who can offer you the best advice to help you get the best out of your dentures.

Remember, it takes with skill and practice at least six weeks to learn to wear dentures. This is because everyone’s mouth structure is different affecting the retention and stability of the   dentures. Also the level of suction which helps hold the dentures in place, particularly an upper denture, varies according to the amount of saliva produced. Many people find a lower  denture more difficult to manage at first.

Be encouraged by the fact that most denture wearers have little difficulty.

How long will dentures last?

A lot of people  expect a denture to last forever but this is just not possible. The main issue is that the dentures do not change but the supporting  tissues of the mouth do. Ordinarily dentures should be checked after 5 or 6 years use. Younger denture wearers commonly get 8 years or more service without any apparent problems but inevitably will need to change them when their mouth tissue changes.   

Dentures fitted immediately after having teeth extracted will need adjustments due to gum shrinkage and remodelling. They will need refitting at an additional cost usually 3 to 12 months after insertion.