Getting Used to Dentures

Denture Express strives to make your denture look as natural as possible, so no one will notice that you are wearing a denture. The size, shape, color, and arrangement of teeth are very important in making your denture appearance second to nature. New dentures do take some time to get used to. Denture wearers can expect this period of adjustment to last as long as two months. It is normal to have sore spots after a new set of dentures has been given to the patient to wear. In fact, it would be weird to not have at least a few sore spots right after the final set of dentures and delivery to the patient. Most necessary denture adjustments are made quickly, within 10 to 15 minutes and within 1 to 3 office visits after denture delivery.

Some denture wearer's need to wear their dentures without removing them for a certain period of time. This allows your dentist to make the critical initial adjustments for proper fit, and to identify any pressure points that may be causing discomfort. This is usually recommended between the initial delivery of the dentures and the 24 to 48 hour follow up appointment.

Getting used to dentures

You cannot learn to use artificial teeth by studying lessons or books. All you have to do is wear them continually. It does not matter how much difficulty you experience, you will gradually learn to master them. Some people have difficulty learning to drive a car, some learn easily, and some will never learn. The same holds true for denture wearer's. A few denture wearers' do not obtain the right mental attitude and never give the new teeth a chance. Usually they will blame the dentures and will never learn to wear them. It takes about four times longer to learn to master a lower denture than an upper denture.

People with poor gum ridges will have more trouble than other denture wearers. They usually realize the difficulty and are ready for the worst. When they get their dentures, they are often surprised that it isn't as bad as they thought.

If you have loose tissue, generally caused by wearing ill-fitting dentures over a long period of time, your dentures will not fit correctly until your tissue has firmed up. This can be done surgically by an oral surgeon, or by wearing a well-fitted, relined or replacement denture. As your tissue firms, the denture will loosen and will need to be relined after six months to a year. The second relining is separate from the first, but it is a small monetary investment compared to oral surgery. The adjustment period for new, replacement, or relined dentures will vary from person to person.

The appearance of the denture may be disappointing at first. Your face may seem full, and teeth may seem long or buck toothed, but as soon as the swelling subsides and the denture settles into place, these conditions will take care of themselves, and your new teeth will be as natural looking as it is possible for them to be.

It may be difficult to eat as first due to soreness of the gums, but a diet of soft, easy-to-chew foods and liquids will keep up your strength until you are able to chew more solid food.

As your gums heal, the dentures gradually loosen up, and sore spots may develop as the denture continues to settle. Temporary soft liners are provided until the gums are completely healed and the dentures can be relined. It will take anywhere from a few weeks to twelve months for your gums to heal completely. Relining is not included in the cost of the dentures.

Experienced denture wearers should avoid tough meat, "slippery" food such as chicken skin and lettuce, and hard foods such as peanuts for the first week after getting replacement dentures or relines. Gradually add foods more difficult to chew and bite as you become experienced and adjust to your new fit. Remember to eat slowly at first. Take your time and concentrate on discovering the chewing motions that are the most comfortable and effective for you. Take small bites of food and distribute the food evenly on both sides of your mouth at the same time as you chew. Use an up and down chewing motion. A lateral (side-to-side) chewing motion may dislodge the backs of your dentures and make your adjustment period longer, more difficult, create unnecessary sore spots, and slow the setting process. To bite off a morsel of food such as an apple or carrot, press between the front teeth and break the food off with a twisting motion of the hand. Dentures greatly diminish your biting force. People with natural teeth may exert 100 or 200 pounds of force per square inch of bite. Denture wearers may exert only about 25 pounds per square inch.

During the initial adjustment, 1 to 10 weeks, depending on your gum and bone condition, your dentures will settle into place. While this process is taking place you may occasionally get food particles under your dentures. This condition will correct itself as the dentures settle and your tongue and cheek muscles adapt to your new, up-to-date denture. The way to speed this process is to use your dentures as much as possible and have sore spots relieved as soon as possible, if they develop.

Clean your dentures after each meal with a denture brush. Avoid gritty pastes and powders as they will scratch the denture base and give food particles a place to cling onto. Remove stains from conventional dentures by soaking them in a solution of 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 warm water for 10 to 15 minutes. DO NOT USE BLEACH!

You should make your dentures become as much as part of you as possible. Wear them at night, if you can. You may find them on the pillow at first, but eventually you will not be able to sleep without them. If it bothers you too much, then take them out at night.

No two people encounter the same problems or experience the same success and satisfaction with dentures. Your case is individual. What has worked for you in the past, or what has worked for a friend or relative, may not apply to you and your new, replacement or relined denture. Remember, as with learning any new skill, practice does make perfect.

Getting comfortable with your dentures

No matter how good your dentures feel when you leave the dentist's office, you can expect sore spots. A denture is a custom made appliance. A denture that requires no adjusting is the exception, rather than the rule.

All gum tissue is soft and tender and dentures are as hard as a stone. Also, some people have more sensitivity to pain than others. What might be a minor irritation to one person will cause great discomfort to another. For sore spots and or muscle soreness in your jaw area, use warm salt water for temporary relief of sore spots, and aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever for muscle soreness. Go to your dentist for an adjustment. Wear the denture overnight before returning for an adjustment so the denture may be adjusted in the exact spot that needs relief. Otherwise, too much material may be taken from your denture. If the sore spot does not develop right away, it may be something that will develop after the denture has settled in.

Some people start complaining that the dentures hurt even before they leave the office and try to point out where the sore spot is located. It is best to wear the dentures overnight, so that a red spot will develop and the exact area can be pin-pointed.

You may develop a sore spot a year or two after placement of your dentures. Remember, your mouth is living tissue and it changes with time. A sore spot indicates you need to have your denture checked to be sure it is still fitting and functioning properly.

Some people will find they bite their cheek and lips. This is nothing to be alarmed about, but you will have to return to the office to have an adjustment made.

After receiving new, replacement or relined dentures, most people will be surprised to find they have difficulty speaking or that they lisp. This is common and will disappear in a few days.

Some people have a gagging reflex more than others. Some may feel they have this reflex so badly that they worry if they will ever be able to wear dentures comfortably. The only cure for this is to wear the dentures no matter how badly you gag. The reflex will pass off in a very short time if you are determined to master it. Sucking on mint candy may help.

Many people want the dentures cut down in the back when they find themselves gagging. Dentures have to end at a certain point to maintain suction and if they are cut down too shortly they will lose suction. Let the denturist be the judge of whether the dentures should be cut down or not. If he advises against making them shorter, make up your mind to overcome the situation and then you will. 

Discomfort associated with dentures

Many patients experience some discomfort for a period of up to a few days following receipt of new or replacement dentures. The great majority of patients achieve comfortable co-existence with their appliances following a short period of adjustment to the new conditions. This can be greatly assisted by a careful, detailed explanation of any difficulties that the operator might anticipate.

For some, however, especially where potential problems were not identified at examination or at the time of insertion, the consequent discomfort can be prolonged.

In addition, discomfort may arise sometime after apparently successful prosthodontics provision as a result of intra-oral or systemic changes or of denture wear or damage. Discomfort is most frequently, but not exclusively, associated with the lower denture supporting area.

If you're about to get dentures, you may be feeling a bit anxious and wondering if you'll ever want to smile again, or if you'll be able to speak clearly. And how will you be able to chew and eat your food?

You're not alone; nearly 50 million Americans wear partial or complete sets of dentures. And many new denture wearers have similar concerns, but don't worry. Your new dentures may feel a little awkward at first, but with a little time, you'll learn how to eat properly and speak clearly again.

If you've had problems with your teeth for a long time, you may have neglected your diet. Typically the more teeth a person is missing the unhealthier the diet gets. Unfortunately, when people get dentures, they don't always change the bad dietary habits they developed. But don't let this happen to you. Eating a nutritious diet is important for the health of your mouth as well as the rest of your body.

Once you get used to your new dentures, make the effort to choose healthier foods. Be sure to get plenty of fruits and vegetables that are rich in the B vitamin foliate and vitamin C (important for healthy gums) plus dairy products. You'll need calcium to help keep your jaw bone healthy.

Adjusting to life with dentures may take a little time. You should be able to chew most foods with dentures that fit properly, however you may need a little practice at first. Here are some tips for learning to eat with dentures:

check mark green   Start with liquids, puree's and soft foods such as apple sauce, puddings, cooked cereals, chopped cooked eggs, and soup broth.
check mark green   Be careful with hot liquids and foods so you don't burn your mouth. You won't be able to judge the temperatures as well due to the insulating quality of the denture.
check mark green   Don't hold liquids in your mouth for a long time before swallowing. This may loosen lower dentures.
check mark green   You might find that foods taste differently with dentures, however your sense of taste should improve over time.
check mark green   When you're ready to move on to solid foods, be sure to cut your foods into very small pieces.
check mark green   Distribute your food evenly on both sides in the back of your mouth when you chew, this will help keep your dentures more stable while you eat.
check mark green   Chew slowly and thoroughly before you swallow. Don't gulp down large pieces of unchewed food because you could choke on them.
check mark green   Slice fresh fruits and vegetables into very thin slices or chop them finely so they are easy to chew, or cook them before serving.
check mark green   Whole grain breads and cereals are good for you, but they may stick to your teeth. Eat them with liquids to make them easier to chew and swallow.
check mark green   Replace tougher red meats with poultry, fish, eggs, and legumes, or choose stewed or slow-cooked meats.
check mark green   Denture adhesives may help for eating foods that require a strong bite, like corn on the cob, but you may wish to avoid very hard or very sticky foods.

You should be able to eat almost anything, but there are some foods that may always be difficult to eat, such as foods that are hard, sticky or contain small particles. Be cautious with whole fresh fruits, hard crusty breads, tough red meats, peanut butter, chewing gum, sticky candy, fruits and berries with seeds, nuts, and coconut.

Cleaning dentures: It's easy to start, and maintain, a daily care routine

Now you may be asking yourself, "Do I brush or soak?" Actually, both.

Here's the routine:

check mark green   Soak your dentures or partials in a container of warm water with a Polident effervescent tablet.
check mark green   Brush your dentures or partials with the Polident solution and a soft denture brush. Brushing after soaking helps to ensure the removal of debris and plaque that soaking alone can miss. Remember not to use toothpaste, which can actually scratch your dentures. See, dentures are softer than natural teeth, so the abrasives in toothpaste can scratch dentures and partials. These scratches provide places for bacteria to attach and grow, which can cause bad breath. See why toothpaste is great for teeth and not for dentures.
check mark green   Rinse your dentures well with running water before you insert them. Remember to handle your dentures over a sink half-filled with water. This will help protect your dentures if you drop them. And remember to discard the used Polident solution.

Daily cleaning with Polident MicroClean will help to remove tough stains, kill 99.9% of odor-causing bacteria, and effectively remove plaque and odor-causing film. Plus Polident MicroClean kills more key microorganisms found on dentures than leading regular toothpastes. Cleaning your denture with Polident, as part of a daily oral health routine, helps contribute to good oral health.

Other important things to remember when cleaning your dentures:

check mark green   Store your dentures in water to prevent them from drying out.
check mark green   Make sure you remember to rinse and dry off your dentures before you put them back in.
check mark green   Do not place tablets or tablet solution in your mouth.

Special note when cleaning partials:

While the process for cleaning partials is pretty similar to the process you would follow when cleaning dentures, there is one key difference: use a product for partials, Polident for Partials, that won't harm the metal clasps of your partial.

When you're cleaning partials with a denture brush, don't brush too hard; you don't want to bend the metal clasps.

Post-op instructions for new partial or complete dentures

check mark green   New dentures always require a period of adjustment. First-time denture patients may require several weeks to get used to their new appliance. Speech may be altered, and may require adaptation of the tongue and lips.
check mark green   For the first few days, you should wear your dentures for as long as possible, and chew soft food in small bites. Remember, dentures do not have the same chewing efficiency as natural teeth and may affect your taste of food. If your bite feels uneven after several days, we can adjust the way your teeth contact at follow-up visits.
check mark green   It is not unusual for sore spots to develop in isolated areas of the mouth. These areas can be relieved easily at follow-up appointments. If a severe sore spot develops which prevents wearing the denture and an appointment is made for adjustment, please wear the denture for 24 hours prior to the appointment. This will greatly aid in locating the exact location of the area, and make adjustments significantly easier and more predictable.
check mark green   Proper cleaning of your denture is important to prevent stains and bacteria from accumulating on your appliance. Since cleaning procedures differ for various types of appliances, please follow the directions given to you at your insertion appointment.
check mark green   Do not wear your complete or partial dentures to bed. It is important to allow your gum tissues and jaw bones to rest in order to prevent further tissue irritation, infection, and future bone shrinkage.
check mark green   Over time, or with weight loss or gain, the supporting gum tissues and bone may change shape and size. Periodic relines of your dentures may be necessary to ensure a retentive fit. Denture teeth may wear or chip over time. For this reason, an annual check of your tissues and dentures is recommended.

Complete dentures: Instructions given to a denture wearer

A good rapport between the clinician and the denture patient has to be built up before the final denture insertion appointment. The clinician must be able to gauge the patient's psychology needs and expectations within those five regular visits a denture patient makes to the clinic.

Starting from the first visit you can tell the patient what to expect from a denture, i.e.; if the patient is going to wear a denture for the first time.

Any new prosthesis inside the oral cavity will take some time to get adjusted. The upper denture will be more stable compared to the lower denture because of the difference in surface area of the denture bearing area and also because of the presence of the tongue which will lift up the denture during the initial days of denture wearing.

There will be increase in salivation for a couple of weeks because of the presence of the new denture. The salivary flow will be normal in couple of weeks. The patient should be told not to pool the saliva or else lower denture retention will be compromised.

The patient should expect difficulty in speech initially. Let the patient know that this is because of the presence of artificial denture teeth and the presence of a denture base that the tongue movements are restricted. It will take the patient a few weeks before this problem is solved. You can ask the patient to read newspaper / magazines, etc. loudly so that they would overcome this problem very quickly.

Pain and soreness: Let the patient know that there will be pain and soreness of the gums once they start using the denture. On the further recall visits see to it that the area of soreness, (over / under extensions, over post damming, frenal reliefs, blobs / spicules on the denture surface, etc.) has to be located, trimmed, and polished to smooth the denture finish. You could prescribe a benzocaine gel for topical application of the sore area.

Chewing inefficiency: Make the patient understand that with artificial teeth the chewing efficiency is reduced as compared with the natural dentition. See to it that the occlusion of the final prosthesis is satisfactory.

Replacing existing dentures

Dentures help millions of people live more normal lives, but just like natural teeth, they require regular care. Dentures can wear down, stain, and lose their shape. Over time they may become less comfortable as the size and shape of your mouth changes. See your dentist if:

check mark green   Your current dentures are uncomfortable
check mark green   You find yourself using more and more denture adhesives
check mark green   You've been wearing the same dentures for more than 5 years. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that dentures be replaced every 5 to 7 years.

Dentures at Denture Express in Pittsburgh, PA start at $499.00 each, (upper or lower denture), and denture repairs start at just $25.00 (with our special coupon offer). All dentures and denture repairs come with a written warranty and satisfaction is guaranteed!