Your First Dentures
A few handy hints that will ease you into your new set of dentures
Dentures are an artificial appliance and some people may need time to get used to them. Dentures usually last for 8 to 10 years and need routine maintenance. Relines may also be required.
If you are having immediate dentures inserted please read this brochure in conjunction with the brochure titled “Immediate Denture”.
Problems resulting from a new set of dentures may include: slipping, sore gums, excess saliva (or not enough of it) and difficulty chewing or talking.
For most people, it takes between 4 and 12 weeks to really get used to a new set of dentures.
During that time, a new set of dentures may need a number of early adjustments, which can lead to frustrations. But before you let frustrations get the upper hand and you toss those new dentures in the rubbish try a few of these simple things.
Steam your vegetables.
You tend to bite your cheek or tongue when you get a new set of dentures, particularly your very first set. To reduce this, chew slowly. Also, stay away from raw vegetables or anything else that’s crunchy or difficult to chew. One of the first things patients want to eat when they get new dentures is a steak and salad, and both are among the most difficult things to eat. A steak is very tough. And believe it or not, lettuce is also difficult to chew. So eat your vegetables, but eat them steamed, and try to avoid anything that’s tough for the first two weeks or so.
Read out loud.
New dentures can make talking difficult for the first week or so. One of the best ways to overcome this problem is to read out loud. As you’re reading, listen to your pronunciation and your diction and correct what doesn’t sound right.
Keep in mind that you’re probably more aware of any changes in speech than anyone else is. Any time you speak out loud whether reading or just talking to yourself in the car, you help yourself accommodate more quickly.
If you have a video camera, a videotaping can help you. A videotape allows you to see what others see when you’re talking. Your Dental Prosthetist can use the pictures to determine any problems in jaw or lip movements. Alternatively try talking in front of a mirror.
Massage your gums.
To relieve sore gums associated with new dentures, massage your gums several times a day following this routine- place your thumb and index finger over your gum and with your index finger on the outside, massage each section of sore gum by squeezing and rubbing with your thumb and finger. This will promote circulation and give your gums a healthy firmness.
Drink a lot of water
New denture wearers often suffer from either dry mouth or excessive saliva. Either way, frequent sips of water will solve the problem. Excessive saliva results because the mouth can’t tell the difference between the dentures and food in the early stages. By sipping water, you wash away the excessive saliva that can cause a gagging or sick feeling. Sucking on hard candy also helps dry mouth, but sipping water is better, especially for people who are overweight. Have diabetes or suffer from serous tooth decay.
If you’re having trouble with dentures slipping, don’t reach for a denture adhesive. If you continually add denture creams and powder, a layer may build up between gums and dentures, which may cause the gum and bone to shrink over time.
You should see your Dental Prosthetist if your dentures are still loose a week or so after they have been inserted.
A denture adhesive may then be recommended or adjustment made.
Are your Dentures the Right Fit?
It takes more than a month for most people to adjust to new dentures. But don’t wait that long if you notice any of these symptoms, which can indicate a problem in the fit of your set.
Teeth don’t meet properly- when you close your mouth, the top and bottom dentures should meet at both sides of your mouth. If they meet only on one side, that’s one sign the fit is wrong.
Cleaning Your Dentures
The best way to clean dentures and keep your breath fresh is to brush your dentures nightly with regular hand soap and lukewarm water, using a soft bristle toothbrush. Please refer to the Brochure titled “Caring for your Dentures” for further information.
Wear your glasses- if you wear your glasses for reading or close work; put them on when you’re cleaning your dentures. And make sure you have plenty of light. Your eyesight and lighting conditions should be optimal for a good cleaning. Dentures won’t be cleaned properly through “feeling.”
Brush your gums and tongue- even though you have dentures instead of a full set of teeth, brushing is important, because bacteria still invade the gums and tongue. Brush with a soft-bristle brush to remover bacteria and keep breath fresh. Toothpaste is optional. Rinse with salty water.
Clean dentures over a filled sink. That way, if you drop your dentures, the water will break the fall and prevent chipping. Alternatively, clean them over a thick towel.
Occasionally dentures may cause problems that can’t be treated at home.
You should see your Dental Prosthetist immediately if you have prolonged gum bleeding. Other reasons to see a Dental Prosthetist are:
- You get a swelling around the mouth that extends up under the eye.
- You get swelling in the throat that makes swallowing difficult.
- Lumps, bumps or sores appear in the mouth.
These may be signs of gum disease, infection or other conditions that will require medical or specialist dental treatment.