Teeth are something most people just don’t think about. After all, you shouldn’t really be aware of your teeth unless something is wrong. We’ve grown up associating tooth and gum pain with common, but potentially very painful, problems like cavities or gingivitis.
Fast forward to when the natural teeth have deteriorated to the point that they must be fully extracted and replaced with dentures. Suddenly, the mouth has been completely changed, and a prosthetic device inserted – a big adjustment for most people, similar to a prosthetic limb. The long term success of permanent dentures as a replacement solution for natural teeth rests largely upon the first few weeks of adjustment, and the patient’s attitudes towards their new teeth.
Though great strides have been made in the world of dental technology, greatly increasing comfort, quality and fit of dentures, having false teeth is still a different experience for most people. Being prepared for the change will help you acclimatize to the new normal much faster, and lead to your long term success as a happy denture wearer. There are 3 major areas of adjustment that can be expected when you wear your new dentures at home.
- Soreness and fit.
- Denture care.
Let’s unpackage these concepts to give new denture wearers a good idea of what to expect.
Eating. You may have heard that sticky or hard foods like nuts, nut butters, toffee, some meats and seeds should not be consumed with dentures, nor should you bite into hard fruits like apples due to the pressure this puts on the teeth and gums. This is only true for the first few weeks of denture wearing. You are still getting used to eating with your replacement teeth, so it only makes sense to practice on softer foods until you become used to eating with your dentures.
Do practice consciously chewing your food on both sides of the mouth equally, to reduce strain on pressure points in your mouth and strengthen your muscles on both sides.
Don’t take your dentures out to eat. You may be tempted to do so, but the only way you will get used to eating with them is with practice.
Soreness and fit. It’s normal for dentures to feel weird in your mouth at first, while your tongue and cheeks get used to keeping them properly in place. It might feel like every time you open your mouth to speak or laugh, they’re going to fall out – but this really shouldn’t happen! If it does, you might need to return to the denturist in Toronto who originally fit you, because your gums might have significantly shrunken during the healing process, resulting in a loose denture.
Do visit your Etobicoke denture clinic if you feel sore or irritated spots developing on your gums or cheeks.
Don’t be alarmed if your mouth produces excess saliva at first. This is normal, and will pass.
Denture care. Just as you learned a routine around soaking your contacts at night, so too will you learn the basics of caring for your dentures: when not in your mouth, they should be soaked in water or a specially formulated denture cleaning solution.
Do use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a mild dish detergent or soap, to clean excessively dirty dentures.
Don’t be tempted to soak your dentures in hot water; this can warp or damage the delicate bridgework.