You have a gorgeous new smile, courtesy of a shiny new set of full or partial dentures. While this boost to your self-confidence may have been a long time coming, adjusting to dentures can take a bit of time. Here are eight tips for getting used to new dentures, from day one and beyond.
How long does it take to get used to new dentures?
How long adjusting to dentures takes depends largely on the type of dentures you have and how long you have been missing teeth.
There are three basic types of dentures.
- Full, removable dentures: When a full-mouth restoration is necessary but the underlying health of your jawbone is challenging, full removable dentures may be the answer. This type of denture may be secured with adhesives or a plastic plate the suctions itself to the upper palate.
- Partial dentures (fixed or removable): Partial dentures replace two or more healthy teeth. They can be either removable or implanted supported.
- Implant-supported dentures: Bar-retained and ball-retained implant supported dentures snap into place to provide greater stability and structure. These fixed dentures are most often placed in the lower jaw when healthy jawbone is present to support the implant, but they can also be used in the upper jaw.
If you are recovering from the surgery of implant-supported dentures, your recovery time may make adjusting to new dentures more challenging. In general, once you are healed, getting used to dentures occurs gradually over 30 days, on average.
However, because every patient has individual needs and health concerns, the time for adjustment will vary.
Your first day with dentures: What to expect
If you have not had healthy teeth in your mouth for some time, you may feel awkward with these foreign objects in your mouth. Talking and eating with dentures may make you self-conscious at first, and you may worry about what you look like.
You may also experience new dentures pain that comes simply from having a structure in your mouth that was not there before. Your gums and cheeks may feel overly full, and it may seem strange to have these new teeth in your mouth (especially for full-mouth dentures).
Other first-day adjustments to expect include:
- Feeling of looseness
- Worry about eating or speaking
- Gum soreness
- Excessive saliva
These feelings are normal. Adjusting to dentures takes time, and the first day can be especially challenging. Be patient with yourself.
Adjusting to dentures tips
Here are eight of our favorite tips for living with dentures.
1. Give your gums a break
In the first few days to a week of having your dentures, stick to healthy, soft foods like mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, soft pasta, and yogurt. These are more gentle on your gums and allow them to adapt gradually to your new dentures.
Avoid hard or extra crunchy foods until you are more comfortable chewing. Spicy and overly salty foods may also irritate sensitive gums, so avoid those in the first few weeks as well.
Cut food into smaller bites and chew slowly. Consider this a good opportunity to practice mindful eating!
2. Remove dentures periodically
If you have removable dentures, take them out every four hours or so for the first week. This gives your gums, cheeks, and jaw a break. Your dentist will provide you with some guidelines on how long to wear your dentures at first. Follow this schedule to prevent sores or irritation in your mouth.
Remove dentures nightly (if not implant-supported) and place them in a glass of water or mild cleaning solution. You will find that this helps you to sleep better at night and is also helpful when adjusting to new dentures.
3. Sing when you speak
Maybe people will look at you funny if you sing all of your speech, but speech therapists recommend singing your speech in the privacy of your own home. This can help your cheeks and tongue get used to the feeling of dentures in your mouth.
If you cannot stand to sing, practice speaking with your new dentures by reading out loud.
4. Find the best adhesive
For dentures that are not implant-supported, using the proper adhesive will make all the difference.
Ask your dentist for recommendations, then take some time to experiment with the ones that feel best to you. Proper adhesive can go a long way towards getting used to dentures quickly.
5. Follow recovery and aftercare guidelines
If you have had teeth extracted or are adjusting to implant-supported dentures, following recovery and aftercare guidelines is crucial.
This helps you adjust not only to dentures but also protects your oral health. Take medications as directed and practice good oral hygiene as you recover.
6. Relieve pain at home
If you feel sensitivity and pain as you adjust to your new dentures, use a saltwater rinse to keep sores clean and relieve pain.
Cold foods may also provide some relief. Control swelling by taking over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen.
7. Take good care of your dentures, natural teeth, and gums
Dentures should be brushed once a day at least, and soaked nightly in water or mild cleaning solution.
Make sure to brush natural teeth and gums gently twice a day. Rinse with a non-alcoholic mouthwash to protect your oral health.
8. Know when to call your dentist
If, after several weeks your dentures still feel loose or you are experiencing pain and something just doesn’t feel right, call your dentist. They can check the fit of your dentures and look for issues. If you have had major oral surgery or a significant number of teeth extracted, an extended adjustment period may be normal, but it doesn’t hurt to check.
AZ Dentist is your weekend dentist with multiple locations across Phoenix. We know adjusting to dentures can be challenging. If you have questions or need an adjustment, get in touch today!