November 28, 2014
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Dentures: What to expect

Success with your dentures, whether new or a replacement, depends on a few simple tips. First of all, and most importantly, rely on your dentist or prosthodontist. Your oral care professional can offer the best advice to help you live your life with dentures. In addition to this professional advice, here are a few things you may expect to experience while adjusting to dentures.

Gaining confidence during the adjustment period

You're probably concerned about how your dentures will look and feel. Some awkwardness is normal at first and usually diminishes quickly. Before you know it, you'll feel more confident about wearing your dentures.

How they look and feel

New wearers often report a "full-mouth" feeling, as though the dentures are too big and pushing the lips forward. This feeling will diminish as you adjust to wearing dentures. They may feel like they don't fit properly at first. They may "gag" you or cause you to bite your cheek or tongue. If you wear an upper denture, it may take some time for your tongue to get used to the feeling of being pressed against the denture and not your palate. Don't worry. These problems will decrease over time. Your dentist or prosthodontist may recommend the use of a denture adhesive to help you feel more confident.

New sensations

Because a denture is a "foreign object" in the mouth, you may produce more saliva for awhile. This, too, will decrease and eventually go away. Something as simple as sucking on a mint or hard candy will encourage you to swallow more frequently, clearing excess saliva. Some soreness is also expected, usually within a few hours of putting your dentures in your mouth. If it continues, see a dental professional; never try to make adjustments to your dentures yourself.

Speaking

When you speak, much of the sound of your voice reaches your ears through vibrations in the bones of the jaw and skull. Wearing dentures changes the sound, and makes it seem louder. This change will be much less noticeable to others than to you. If your dentures click when you speak, try speaking more slowly. The muscles in your lips, cheeks and tongue are learning to keep the denture in place. Time and practice will overcome this difficulty.

Eating

At first, you may feel that food has lost its flavor. This is because the messages your brain is receiving about your dentures can, for a short time, overpower those from your taste buds. You may also have trouble sensing how hot food and drinks are at first, so taste carefully. In time, your brain will pay less attention to your dentures and more to flavor in temperature. Here are some additional eating tips:

  • Cut food into small pieces.
  • Divide up food in your mouth so that you're chewing one half on the back left side of your mouth and the other half on the back right. This will even out the pressure on your dentures.
  • Start with soft foods, such as eggs, fish, chopped meat, cooked vegetables and puddings.

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