You’re In Good Company
Welcome to the world of denture – wearing ! It’s a big word. For today more than five million Canadian adults are wearing dentures. That is more than one out of four people in Canada.
So wearing the dentures is not unusual. And when approached positively and used properly, dentures can become almost as natural as putting on your shoes in the morning and taking them off at night.
Your Custom-Made Dentures
Your dental professional has spent a great deal of time and skill in making your dentures “custom-made perfect” – based on your needs. Now it’s up to you to follow his or her instructions concerning their proper use and care. You must realize that new dentures will feel strange and unnatural at first, and that you must spend some time and effort in learning to adjust to them before they become “second nature”.
Adjusting To Your Custom-Made Dentures
You will notice right away that your new dentures seem very large in your mouth. You may even experience a gag reaction to their fullness, particularly in the back of your mouth. This is a normal first reaction. Be patient. In time, with a little practice, you will adjust naturally to this initial fullness, and barely notice them in your mouth.
When you first received your new dentures, you probably noticed an increase in the flow of saliva in your mouth. Again, this is a normal response to the unfamiliar object in your mouth, namely the denture. On average, most of us swallow about six hundred times a day. For the first few days of wearing your new dentures, you should try to swallow more frequently. In a few days (sometimes in just a few hours) , your mouth will become accustomed to the dentures and saliva flow will return to normal.
Many new denture wearers have difficulty with their speech at first. A common problem is pronouncing words containing “s” sounds. In most cases, practicing speech aloud with your new dentures in place will help restore your normal speaking quality quickly. One of the best practice methods is to read aloud from a book or magazine in front of a mirror to get used to the new speaking position of your tongue and new teeth. This will add confidence and comfort. Another good habit is to bite and swallow prior to speaking to “set” the dentures in position to improve clarity.
A basic fact of denture life is that you will not be able to bite down as hard as you could with natural teeth. Therefore, you can no longer chew in quite the same way. People with natural teeth chew on one side of the mouth and then on the other side. With dentures, you must take smaller bites and learn to chew on both sides of the mouth at the same time to prevent the dentures from rocking and dislodging. Here again it is just a matter of patience and practice before you will be eating your favourite foods without difficulty.
Maintaining Good Nutrition
One of the most critical areas of Denture After-Care is the maintenance of oral tissue and the ridge of bone that supports the dentures. The state of the health is directly influenced by diet and nutrition. So make sure you eat balanced meals and get the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals each day. Your dental professional will be happy to give you nutritional advice if you have any questions about your diet.
The supporting bone and tissue in your mouth need regular rest from denture wearing. Therefore it is important that you take your dentures out everyday for a brief time or overnight. The best place to store them is in a special water filled plastic container called Denture Bath. This procedure will prevent your dentures from drying out which can, adversely affect their fit.
A Denture Wearer’s Checklist
Dentures are not permanent. Changes continue to occur in the bone and soft tissues of the mouth.
Your initial adjustment period:
- Leave dentures in for the first 24 hour period – you will be scheduled for a 24 hours post – insertion appointment
- Feelings of fullness and increased salivation will decrease with time
- Sucking on a piece of hard candy may help gagging sensation
- Expect sore spots to develop during this initial adjustment period
Eating with your new dentures:
- Cut up food into small bited-sized pieces
- Eating with food on both sides of your mouth may be helpful
- Biting foods with your front teeth will tend to dislodge dentures and the underlying tissues
- Avoid sticky foods
- Learing to eat with dentures takes time. Eating with dentures will never be as easy or efficient as eating with natural teeth. Be patient
Talking with your new dentures:
- Adjusting takes time – read out loud to speed up the process
- Muscles will need to be re-educated so they will retain the denture
- The feeling of crowding of tongue will decrease with time
Cleaning your mouth and your dentures:
- Cleanse and massage your mouth daily with a soft toothbrush
- Brush dentures with a soft toothbrush and ordinary facial soap
- Never use toothpaste to brush your dentures – it is too abrasive
- Soak dentures overnight in a commercial denture soaking solution (never use bleach on dentures with metal parts)
Denture Do’s and Don’ts :
- Do leave your dentures out at night while you sleep
- Only use denture adhesives on advice of your dentist
- Never attempt to adjust, repair, or refit your denture yourself
- Do come in for your regular checkups