IT ALL STARTS WITH A SMILE
With a positive attitude, patience and practice, you’ll be facing the future with confidence. And before long, your smile will come as easily as ever.
When you first start wearing your dentures, you may notice that they feel large in your mouth and your lips feel as if they are being pushed forward. You may experience a gag reaction to this fullness, particularly in the back of your mouth. This is a normal reaction. In a short period of time, this sensation will go away and your dentures will feel more natural.
Something else you may notice is an increase in the amount of saliva in your mouth. This is a perfectly normal reaction to the presence of a “foreign object” in your mouth. Try to swallow more frequently or suck on a mint. In a few days (sometimes in a few hours), your mouth will become accustomed to the denture, and the saliva flow will return to normal.
SPEAKING WITH CONFIDENCE
If you’re like many new denture wearers, you’ll have difficulty with your speech at first. A common problem is pronouncing words containing “s” sounds. In most cases, practicing speech aloud while wearing your new dentures will help restore your normal speaking quality quickly. Reading aloud from a book or magazine in front of a mirror is a good way to accomplish this. Another good practice is to bite down and swallow prior to speaking to “set” the dentures in place. This will improve your speaking clarity. With a little patience, it won’t be long before your speech pattern returns to normal.
EATING WITH CONFIDENCE
Eating with dentures will take some getting used to, but before long you’ll be enjoying your favorite foods. They key to success is to be patient and take it slow. You should start out by eating soft foods that are easy to chew and swallow (fish, eggs, cheese, chopped meat, cooked vegetables, and ice cream).
Initially take small bites and learn to chew slowly. As you gain confidence with your dentures, you may want to move on to harder-to-eat vegetables, meats and fruits.
FEELING SECURE ABOUT HOW YOUR DENTURES FIT
Dentures often start out reasonable well. As long as there is a bone ridge to keep the dentures stable, they can be tolerated by many. But when the bone shrinks away due to chewing the pressure it gets harder to have stable and retentive dentures. Since the bone shrinks (resorbs), at a rate of 3 to 5% each year, living with dentures, especially the lower denture becomes more difficult as the suction is lost and the denture starts to move around. One third to one half of denture wearers use denture adhesive to regain the suction. When I recommend denture adhesive I always tell the patient to use just a little bit here and there. Some people get carried away and want total security and apply a quarter of a tube a day. Swallowing that much material is not good for you and can make you sick.
Denture adhesive abuse, using multiple tubes of adhesive every week, can result in the ingestion and absorption of zinc. In small quantities it is harmless, but in excessive quantities it results in a copper deficiency that can lead to neurological symptoms. Long-term use can have devastating effects such as peripheral neuropathy among other neurological symptoms that have not been fully investigated. Most manufacturers have now discontinued the use of zinc in their products but it still not good for good digestive system.
To help keep your dentures fresh, clean and effective, it’s important that you get into a simple daily routine. Because the supporting bone and tissues in your mouth need regular rest from denture wearing, it is important to remove them for at least a few hours each day. When you are not wearing your dentures, rinse and store them in a water filled container to prevent them from drying out. Always rinse your dentures in water first to remove loose food particles. Do so over a sink filled with water so that if you drop your dentures, they will not break. If your dentures do fall on a hard surface, the teeth can fracture. Denture teeth are made of tough composite plastic but on high impact can fracture. The break shows up as a clean fracture. Never use SUPER hot water to clean your dentures, AS IT can warp them. Clean your dentures daily. Use a denture brush or a medium stiff tooth brush and some hand soap first. Then soak them in one of the denture cleaning products. We have found that“STAIN AWAY” cleans the dentures very effectively and is economical to use. Partial dentures (the metal ones with clasps) require a different kind of “Stain Away” specifically made for partial dentures that won’t damage the metal.
THE IMPORTANCE OF REGULAR DENTAL VISITS
To help maintain your dentures as well as your oral health, regular dental visits are extremely important. During your checkup, Dr. Binon will thoroughly examine the lining of your mouth, tongue, palate, jaws, and ridges that support your dentures to ensure they remain healthy. He will also check for any changes that may have occurred within your mouth. Remember that as you wear dentures, the gums will change (shrink) and it will be necessary to reline the denture periodically. Typically that needs to be done every 3 to 5 years. The longer you wait to refit your dentures, the greater the bone loss and the more difficult it is to regain a good fit and stability. It’s not only about the fit, but the more sore spots and soft tissue issue you will encounter.
WHEN TO CALL YOUR PROSTHODONTIST
Remember, Dr. Binon and the office staff, are there to help you through this adjustment period. Call us for any of the following reasons:
- Sore spots – Sore spots are small sores that form in the mouth as a result of your denture irritating the soft tissue.
- As the denture settles on your gum tissue your bite may need to be further adjusted. If the contact of the teeth feels uneven we need to check and adjust it.
- At first the denture may feel too big, especially if you have worn the same denture for a long time and have lost support of the lower third of your face and your “bite” is opened up. Or you are a new denture wearer, they may feel way too big. If that feeling persists over several weeks then perhaps you cannot get used to it and we may need to change it.
- Adjustments and relining – Your mouth chances in size and shape naturally over time causing a less secure fit. Your denture may then need to be relined or adjusted.
- Chips or breaks – If your denture breaks, do not attempt to repair it yourself.
- If the dentures have no retention even after relines and adjustments, your anatomy and the loss of denture ridge may require more aggressive solutions such as dental implants.