Adjusting To Life With Your New Full or Partial Dentures
So you have just been told that you need dentures and like most people, you're unsure and probably nervous about what to expect. Change is never easy, especially when in involves something as personal as your mouth. If you're like most people, you place a lot of importance on your smile because you believe it is the first thing that people notice about you. Your fears are not uncommon and many of the patients we see who need dentures express the same concerns. To assist you through this process, we developed a few tips to help you adjust to your new life with dentures.
Firstly, you are not alone. Many people young and old have dentures. Whether it is a full set or a partial, dentures are not as noticeable as you think. Dentures can be made to closely resemble the look of your natural teeth. There will be little change in your appearance as a result of this.
When you start wearing dentures, you may find pronouncing certain words may require practice. Reading out loud and repeating troublesome words, helps this. If you notice a "click" while you're talking, speak slower.
Your new dentures may feel awkward for a few weeks until you get used to them. The dentures may also feel loose while the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in their place. This feeling will fade as your mouth becomes accustomed to the denture.
You may also experience your denture slipping occasionally when you laugh, cough, or smile. To fix this problem just reposition your dentures by gently biting down and swallowing. During this time you may want to used a small amount of denture adhesive to help keep your dentures in place.
If the situation of loose dentures keeps happening frequently after trying the above suggestions, please contact us. We are here to help.
What to Expect From An Immediate Denture
An immediate denture is what it says. It is placed immediately after the teeth have been extracted. It cannot and will not function or feel like a denture placed over healed oral tissue. However it does provide a certain amount of function and esthetics for the patient.
Approximately 6 months after receiving your immediate dentures, the dentures will have to be relined.
As a note, there is no such thing as a "permanent denture" as your mouth will continue to change shape over time. Well-made dentures can last you 5 years, but they may need to be adjusted or relined over time. Relines are recommended every two years.
Perhaps the most important advantage of immediate dentures is that you never need to appear in public without any teeth. Other advantages include:
- The form, size and arrangement of your natural teeth can more closely be duplicated when some teeth remain in your mouth.
- When immediate dentures are inserted, they act as a bandage and help to reduce bleeding.
- Immediate dentures protect the tissues at the sensitive extraction sites from irritation which might result from the tongue and food. This can mean less discomfort for you than with conventional denture construction.
- Immediate dentures can enable you to establish your speech patterns more easily. You do not have to learn to speak without teeth and then re-learn once dentures are made.
- With immediate dentures you can chew better than you could without teeth during the normal waiting period for conventional dentures.
- If dentures do not replace the natural teeth within a short time, the cheeks tend to fall in.
- If you remain without teeth for some time, you may develop oral habits that will interfere with your ability to learn how to use dentures properly.
Like any other procedure, the insertion of immediate dentures does have limitations, of which you should be aware. There are some people for whom immediate dentures are not advisable because of their general health or specific oral problems.
- More office visits are required during the first few months, to watch for changes in the gums and in the mouth function. Also the original fit and occlusion of the denture will be lost as healing takes place. This is normal.
Because of changes in the tissues after removal of the teeth, immediate dentures usually need to be re-fitted by a denturist multiple times over the first 6 months. 6 months after extractions a permanent reline is required. This involves additional expense.
- In the areas where the last remaining teeth will be removed, immediate dentures will not always fit quite as accurately as conventional dentures made at a later date, after gums have healed.
- Because some of your teeth are still in place, you cannot see how the dentures will look in your mouth until after the natural teeth have been removed.
- Immediate dentures are usually more expensive because of the additional time required for their construction.
What To Expect When The Denture Is First Placed
- For the first 24 hours, DO NOT REMOVE the denture. The denture will control the bleeding and actually cause minimal discomfort.
- Some swelling is to be expected after extractions. To keep the swelling to a minimum, and to help stop the bleeding, hold an ice pack to the areas of the jaw where teeth have been extracted. 15 minutes on, and 15 minutes off.
- For discomfort take Tylenol, or the medication the doctor may prescribe.
- Remove the denture 4 or 5 times a day after the first day, and rinse the mouth with warm salt water. Do this for the first week. You may sleep with the denture.
- If sutures were placed, you will return in 1 week to remove them.
- You should eat soft foods for the 1st week, then gradually determine what you can handle. What you once ate with ease, may now be very difficult.
- For the first 1-2 weeks, up to 1000 mg of vitamin C a day will promote and aid healing of the mouth. Refraining from alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking would also be beneficial.
- You WILL find that a denture adhesive will be necessary to help hold the denture in place.
- If you develop any sore spots, call the office so that we may take care of it as soon as practical.
- For the first 6 months you gums will continue to heal. As healing takes place the swelling due to the extractions will begin to subside. As the swelling goes down the dentures will become loose. Your denturist will place a temporary tissue conditioner into your dentures to stabilize them during this healing process
- This is a temporary solution. 6 months after the extraction date you will need to see the denturists for permanent relines.
- All treatment provided up to the permanent relines will be included in your initial denture fees, however there is an additional charge for the permanent relines at the 6 month mark.
Removable Partial Dentures
Depending on your needs, your denturist will design a partial denture for you. A partial denture may have a metal framework and clasps that connect to your teeth, or they can have other connectors that are more natural looking. In some cases, a removable partial denture is made to attach to your natural teeth with devices called precision attachments. Precision attachments are generally more esthetic than clasps. Partial dentures with precision attachments generally cost more than those with clasps. Consult with your denturist to find out which type is right for you.
What to expect:
- In the beginning, your new partial denture may feel awkward or bulky. This is normal, and you will eventually become accustomed to wearing it.
- Inserting and removing the partial denture will require some practice.
- Follow all instructions given by your denturist. Your denture should fit into place with relative ease. Never force the partial denture into position by biting down. This could bend or break the clasps.
- Your denturist will give you specific instructions about how long the denture should be worn and when it should be removed.
- Initially, you may be asked to wear your partial denture all the time. Although this may be uncomfortable at first, it's the quickest way to identify areas that may need adjustment.
- If the denture puts too much pressure on a particular area, that spot will become sore. Your denturist will adjust the partial denture to fit more comfortably. After making adjustments, your denturist will probably recommend that you take the partial denture out of your mouth before going to bed and replace it in the morning.
- Eating should become a more pleasant experience with dentures. Start out by eating soft foods that are cut into small pieces. Chew on both sides of the mouth to keep even pressure on both sides. Avoid foods that are extremely sticky or hard. You may want to avoid chewing gum during the adjustment period.
- Partial denture can also help improve your speech. If you find it difficult to pronounce certain words, practice reading out loud. Repeat the words that give you trouble. With time, you will become accustomed to speaking properly with your partial denture.
Caring for your dentures:
- When cleaning your denture, it’s a good idea to stand over a folded towel or a sink of water just in case you accidentally drop the denture.
- Do not use toothpaste since it can be too harsh for cleaning dentures.
- Some people use hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid to clean their dentures, which are both acceptable. However, most household cleaners are too abrasive and should not be used for cleaning dentures.
- Brush the denture each day to remove food deposits and plaque. The helps the denture from becoming permanently stained.
- It's best to use a brush that is designed for cleaning dentures because it has bristles that are arranged to fit the shape of the denture. A regular, soft-bristled toothbrush is also acceptable.
- Avoid using a brush with hard bristles, which can damage the denture.
- Clean your dentures by thoroughly rinsing off loose food particles. Moisten the brush and apply the denture cleaner. Brush all denture surfaces gently to avoid damaging the plastic or bending the attachments.
- A denture could lose its proper shape if it is not kept moist. At night, the denture should be placed in soaking solution or water.
- Don’t chew, swallow, or gargle with denture cleansers.
- Always thoroughly rinse the denture before placing it in your mouth.
Over time, adjusting the denture may be necessary. As you age, your mouth naturally changes, which can affect the fit of the denture. Your bone and gum ridges can recede or shrink, resulting in a poorly fitting denture.
Dentures that do not fit properly should be adjusted by your denturist. Poorly fitting dentures can cause various problems, including sores or infections. See your denturist promptly if your denture becomes loose, and maintain your regular visits, too.
Remember: You can do serious harm to your denture and to your health by trying to adjust or repair your denture yourself. Using a do-it-yourself kit can damage the appliance beyond repair. Glues sold over-the-counter often contain harmful chemicals and should not be used on a denture. If your denture breaks, cracks or chips, or if one of the teeth becomes loose, call your denturist immediately. In many cases, your denturist can make the necessary adjustments or repairs on the same day.