Tooth loss becomes more likely as we get older, and there are several ways to replace your lost ones with artificial teeth. Dental implants are an excellent choice for younger people to replace natural teeth. However, for older patients, full or partial dentures are a more usual choice as the procedures to fit them are less invasive and traumatic. Both methods are great for restoring your smile and come with their own range of options. For example, a patient may choose to have partial dentures to replace a few missing teeth, just a lower or upper denture, or the dentists may remove all teeth and replace them with full dentures.
Unfortunately, it does take some time to get used to new dentures, and there’s a bit of an adjustment period. But how long does it take to get used to them, and can you do anything to reduce this period? Read on to learn how to get used to dentures.
Expect Some Discomfort When First Wearing Dentures
According to dentists, once you have your dentures fitted, you’ll soon become aware of some minor irritation and soreness — much as you would expect from any dental procedure. This is because your gums need some time to become used to the new teeth. Although the denture fixative does provide some cushioning, the new dentures will still rub against your gums as they heal. You might not even want to speak at first. As your jawbone settles without natural teeth, you may need to have your dentures adjusted. The discomfort will fade as time passes and you get used to wearing your new dentures. As your dentist will tell you, you should ultimately be used to your new dentures within 30 days.
The First Day
On the first day after having your new teeth fitted, avoid sticky or hard foods; you’ll need to eat soft foods like mashed potatoes, ice cream, or pudding. This will get you used to moving your mouth and tongue and is also gentler on your gums. It won’t be easy to eat food, and most people won’t want to attempt to chew or bite anything. Don’t worry; wearing dentures will get easier as you get accustomed to them!
The First Two Weeks
You’ll begin adjusting to your new dentures in the first few days. During this time, you’ll experience increased salivation and some sore spots. However, this is normal and shouldn’t worry you; the pain will reduce over time. To make it a little more comfortable and easier to chew, try washing your mouth with warm salt water to help your gums heal. You may also need to practice speaking as the dentures have changed the shape of your mouth. Although you can start eating more solid foods, avoid biting down with your front teeth as this can cause the dentures to become unstuck at the back teeth. You’ll still need to stick to mainly soft foods for these first two weeks.
By Day 30, Your Dentures Will Feel Like Natural Teeth
As the weeks pass, you’ll find that talking and eating are a learning curve, but things will get easier as you adjust. The sore spots and salivation will decrease in the third and fourth weeks after receiving your new dentures. You’ll be able to speak better, smile, and eat more solid foods — although you might want to take small bites and cut food into smaller pieces to make things easier. Thirty days after the dental procedure, most denture wearers will find that the eating process is a little more normal; they can eat most foods again, and chewing is more manageable. You’ll also be able to talk normally as you get used to how the dentures fit, and you’re no longer producing more saliva than usual. In addition, you may find that you smile more readily! You may still want to avoid hard candies, though, as biting down on them can cause your dentures to come loose. If you’re still having trouble adjusting, you should consult your dentist.
Some Tips and Common Problems With New Dentures
If you’re having trouble adjusting to dentures, there are a few tips you can follow before resorting to asking your dentist for help. For example, regularly using a good denture cleanser will keep your dentures in good condition, reducing wear and helping you chew a little more easily. Finding a quality fixing compound will help, too — the cheap brands are not always as good. If you need more tips and advice, you can always contact your dentist; they’ll know the needs of their patient and are the expert in dental matters.
Most denture issues are caused by either poor fit or wear over time. In general, you should replace them every five to seven years. Most problems you may come across are found in new patients. These include:
- A foreign object stuck between gum and denture. This usually only happens if the dentures don’t fit properly but can happen if you don’t fix them correctly or clean them properly before wearing them.
- Jaw or neck pain. This can happen if your dentures don’t fit correctly or if they’ve become worn, in which case you should have them replaced.
- The dentures make your face look unnatural, old, or strange. This only happens if the dentures haven’t been made to suit your face properly, so you should ask your dentist to adjust or replace them. However, it may occur if you’ve had them for a long time, in which case get them replaced.
Getting the Best Care
Of course, not all older people can fully care for themselves and their dental requirements. At Riddle Village, we look after the needs of our older citizens at a range of levels, from those wanting independent living or respite care to those who need nursing care or rehabilitation. This can include some of their dental needs, such as ensuring their dentures are kept clean and treatment plans are adhered to. If you have an older family relative that may need respite care, rehabilitation, or skilled nursing care, contact us today to schedule a visit.