At this moment in time you are probably wondering if you will ever get used to your new dentures. Do not worry, as this is a very common experience. It will take between 2 and 6 weeks, at least, for many new sensations to subside. In that time you will experience different sensations. Some sensations will require adjustment of your dentures and some require time and patience on your behalf. Some sensations are specific to the individual and you should talk to your dentist about your experiences at each appointment following the insertion of your new dentures. However, there are common experiences, which if understood will shorten the period of adaptation. These common experiences may include:
Increased saliva: This is common in the hours/days following the insertion of the dentures. This experience is due to the new “feel” of the dentures and is overcome by swallowing regularly and frequently.
“Full” mouth and lips: Your denture has been fabricated to replace your natural teeth and much effort has gone into trying to assess, and reproduce, the position and shape of your natural teeth. This often requires changes to be made to the position of the new teeth compared to your old denture and it will take some weeks/months for your mouth to become fully accustomed to the new tooth position. As the weeks go by you will become less aware of this new sensation and the muscles in your lips will relax and enjoy the support the new teeth give them. This will allow your lips to move in a more natural manner.
Altered speech: The position of teeth is very important to many of the sounds we make in speech. If you have difficulties with certain words or sounds you are advised to talk, or read, out loud to yourself in the hours after the insertion of the new dentures. The most common problems arise with “S” sounds.
Altered taste: The new “feel” of the dentures may interfere with the messages from the nerves in your mouth to your brain but this will pass with time and adaptation. It will take a little longer for your brain to accept the new sensations if this is the first time you have worn a denture. Perseverance is required before the nerves in your mouth decipher these sensations. You may lose some of the pleasure gained from the texture of food because a denture covers part of the mouth. Unfortunately, this is a problem common to all denture wearers.
Eating: Common sense is essential in choosing suitable food when you wear dentures. You are encouraged to try most foods but you will learn quickly that certain foods are difficult, if not impossible, to chew or bite as a denture wearer. A balanced diet is possible with a little thought. In the early days of wearing your new dentures it is advisable to keep your diet reasonably soft. Some foods, like steak, celery and tomatoes, cause problems for most denture wearers and should not be attempted in the initial weeks of wearing your new dentures and only with caution thereafter. The same is true of sticky foods.
Perhaps you have a “sweet tooth” and are of the opinion that now no harm can be done if you have no teeth that can decay. Unfortunately, the mouth of a denture wearer is the perfect breeding ground for certain types of fungal infection if your sugar intake is too high or there is a lot of carbohydrates in your diet. This is made worse if your dentures are not kept very clean or if you are on certain medications.
Discomfort: There is a very clear line between the awkwardness of a new denture and discomfort due to an imbalance between your denture and your mouth. Previous experience with dentures is not an indication of what you may expect with new dentures. Close fitting new dentures inevitably require a couple of adjustments to overcome any “sore spots” which arise in the initial weeks after the insertion of your new denture. An appointment should have been made for the first of those adjustments to be carried out. Further appointments will be made as indicated by your needs.
You are asked to wear the dentures as long as possible during the daytime provided they are comfortable. There is nothing to be gained by allowing large ulcers to develop in your mouth because of the discomfort involved and the degree of adjustment required to correct the problem afterwards. If the dentures become sore take them out! However it is essential that the dentures be worn for 2-3 hours before your next appointment so that an assessment can be made of potential trouble spots. Bringing the dentures in a bag is a lost opportunity.
Your mouth needs a rest from wearing dentures and you are advised that the dentures should be removed every night for a minimum of 6 hours. This will allow you to maintain a healthy mouth and protect it from unnecessary loads, which may speed up bone loss and result in loose dentures.
The care of your dentures is another very important factor in the maintenance of a healthY mouth. Where possible they should be rinsed in cold water after every meal. You are advised to follow the following protocol at night:
1) Remove the dentures and rinse them over a basin that is half-filled with cold water. This is a simple safety “net” in case the denture slips during cleaning.
2) Brush the denture with a denture brush or a separate toothbrush to the one you have for remaining natural teeth. Soap, or washing-up liquid, and lukewarm water should be used to clean all surfaces of the teeth. Never use warm, or hot, water as this may damage the denture. Rinse the dentures thoroughly in cold water.
3) Overnight the dentures should be soaked in cold water or in a suitable solution. The most common solutions used are Steradent or a dilute solution of Milton (not suitable for metal dentures). If Milton is used place 1 teaspoon of liquid Milton in a container with enough water to cover the dentures. Rinse the dentures thoroughly in cold water the following morning before you place them back in your mouth. Obviously, it is essential to wash off all solutions before you start to wear the dentures.
4) If there are any metal parts to your dentures do not place them in any solution other than water. Often it is best to leave “metal dentures” dry overnight. Correct, and careful, maintenance of your dentures will prolong the life of the dentures while maintaining a good standard of hygiene in your mouth.
Correct, and careful, maintenance of your dentures will prolong the life of the dentures while maintaining a good standard of hygiene in your mouth.