You are Unique: Although you have new dentures, the process of making your dentures is not yet finished. Adjusting to new dentures takes patience and time. While some people may tell you they didn’t need any adjustments when they got a new denture, that’s not the average experience. Everyone adjust to new dentures differently, and it may take you and your dentist a few visits to make your dentures function adequately for you. Whether this is your first pair of dentures or you are a seasoned pro, your mouth will still take a little time to adapt to the new pressures and feelings that come with a new prosthesis.
My gums are sore! An appointment will be made for you 24 hours following your initial denture placement. Sore areas may develop during those hours and it is important to find and adjust the causes of the soreness. Don’t try to adjust them yourself! Adjustments need to be made by your dentist, only. As you use your dentures, they will settle on the soft tissues and sometimes cause sore spots; this may necessitate additional adjustment appointments. If you find it necessary to remove your dentures due to soreness, re-insert the denture 12 hours prior to your adjustment appointment as the doctor needs to be able to see the pressure areas on the tissue to pinpoint where to adjust them. Adjustment appointments are free of charge for the first 60 days following initial placement. After 60 days, an office visit fee may be assessed.
Immediate dentures following extractions: Immediate dentures are inserted immediately following removal of your remaining teeth. Due to significant changes in the bones of your mouth, the dentures may not become truly stable for a few months. Liners may need to be added to the dentures as healing progresses and your ridges change. There are two types of “relines”. The first is a soft reline, and is temporary lining material that gives a custom fit at the time of the procedure. Remember that as time goes on, the gums and bone will change shape, and the immediate denture will most likely become looser as the gums and bone shrink during healing. This may require a second soft reline for stability of the denture before the healing is completed, but in most cases the patient is able to use the denture after the initial soft reline until sufficient healing has taken place to either permanently reline the denture (a “hard reline”) or replace the temporary denture with a permanent prosthesis. A hard reline is done several months after surgery by sending the denture to a lab after healing and settling is complete.
Chewing with dentures: Learning to chew with new dentures takes most people 4-8 weeks. Learning to chew with your dentures takes practice, so choose soft, easy to chew foods at first and gradually try out harder-to-chew foods as you feel more comfortable. Take small bites and chew slowly; try to chew on both sides at once to keep your dentures stable. When biting into food with your dentures, place the food between the teeth at the corners of your mouth (the canines) instead of between the front teeth as this can dislodge the upper denture. If you have trouble keeping the lower denture in while eating, it may be the result of poor tongue habits. The tongue should touch the inner surface of the lower denture to help stabilize it while eating.
Speaking with Dentures: Learning to talk with your new dentures in place requires practice and perseverance. Reading out loud can help in learning to pronounce words distinctly; practice often with words and sounds that give you the most difficulty. It takes time for your tongue and brain to learn the different positions needed to speak well with dentures. Don’t give up; it will all click into place!
Increased saliva with New Dentures: Don’t be alarmed at a greater than usual amount of saliva in your mouth during the adjustment period of wearing your new dentures. This is normal and will correct itself. For some this only takes a few weeks, for others it can take a few months. Everyone is different.
Longevity of Dentures: The assumption that dentures will last a lifetime is incorrect. Take into consideration that both the denture and oral tissues will change over a period of time. It is suggested to visit your dentist every year or so to evaluate the fit of your dentures. Shrinkage or resorption of your ridges is normal. This can result in a loosened fit of the denture. Some people may notice this effect after only a few weeks, but in many it may not occur for many months or even a year or more. Changes in your ridges are beyond the control of the dentist and if it becomes necessary to re-fit or re-make your dentures to correct this change, an additional fee will be charged. Never try to repair, reline or adjust the dentures yourself as this could be destructive to the tissue and underlying bone on which the denture rests.
Limitations of Dentures: Don’t expect your dentures to function exactly as your natural teeth once did. Dentures only function at 25-50% as efficiently as natural teeth. Learn to know the limitations of your dentures and adjust your living habits accordingly. Remember, a positive attitude helps a lot with this process. Keep smiling!