Answers to common questions about dentures and partial dentures
What’s the different between a denture and a partial denture?
Dentures are typically thought of as a full set of teeth, either the upper denture or lower denture, comprising of all your teeth. Partial dentures are used to replace multiple teeth in a patient who still has some healthy teeth remaining.
Is it hard to get used to dentures in your mouth?
The biggest reaction to new dentures is getting used to the new feeling within your mouth. You may feel like you have a tremendous mouthful; your lips are being pushed forward, and your teeth are too big. These feelings will gradually subside as you wear the dentures during the first two weeks. You may experience an increased flow of saliva. This is common and will slowly return to normal within a few days. You will also notice that your lower denture will feel looser than your upper denture, this is normal and discussed below. The best way to get used to your dentures is to keep them in your mouth 24 hours a day for the first two weeks. After that, you and your doctor can decide when to remove your dentures to give the tissues a rest. This will usually be at night when you sleep.
Why is my lower denture loose compared to my upper denture?
We strive to achieve retention and stability on the upper and lower dentures. The lower denture will never be as tight as the upper and can be “kicked out” with your tongue. The skill that is required here is the skill of keeping your dentures in with your tongue. We stress time, patience, and practice for all new denture wearers as it will take some time to perfect wearing dentures.
Will my speaking be affected by dentures?
Your tongue position is different with the dentures than it was with your natural teeth. This could cause a hissing or whistling sound while speaking. However, most patients adapt quickly to their new dentures. A good way to retrain your tongue to its proper position is to practice by reading the daily newspaper out loud for a few days. As you do this, you will train your tongue and hear the S, Sh, Th, and Ch sounds getting clearer.
How will dentures affect the way I eat?
Eating with your new dentures is an acquired skill and with all acquired skills, it requires time, patience, and practice to master. For some, it may take weeks to learn to eat with new dentures and for others it could take up to 6 months to learn to eat all the foods you like. Of course, some foods like corn on the cob or a hard whole apple may never be fully mastered. The foods that require hard biting with the front teeth will present the most problem.
Are there tips for eating with dentures?
You will also notice that it takes more time to finish a meal with your new dentures, but you will get more efficient as time goes by. Choosing easy-to-chew foods after you first get your dentures will be a benefit in two ways. First, it will help the muscle coordination of the lips and tongue needed to control the dentures while chewing. Second, it will help “toughen up” the gums underneath the dentures, so that harder foods can be handled later.
Tips for eating with dentures:
- Do not use your front teeth for biting at first. Push food back to the side of your front teeth rather than biting things off with the front teeth.
- Cut up your food in smaller pieces than you’re used to and try to chew on both sides of the mouth at the same time.
- Try easy-to-chew foods first before you try hard foods or tougher meats.
- To reduce embarrassment, try chewing your favorite foods at home first before trying them out in public, because if a problem arises you won’t be embarrassed.
- Generally speaking, new denture wearers have a difficult time eating salads as lettuce does not tear well with denture teeth.
Do dentures impact the sense of taste?
All the taste buds are on the tongue, so covering the palate with denture acrylic should not affect a person’s taste of food. However, some new denture patients complain that they can’t taste food as well with the dentures as they could before they had dentures. Once again, this should improve with time.
Are sore spots common with new dentures?
Yes, it is normal to get sore spots with your new dentures. As the dentures “settle” they will put uneven pressures on the gums and create sore spots. This is most likely to occur within the first 2-3 weeks. If during this break in period you feel you must remove them to relieve the sore spots, call your doctor for an adjustment appointment. The doctor can quickly adjust the dentures and make your dentures comfortable again. When coming in for an adjustment appointment, be sure to wear your dentures during the 24 hours prior to the appointment. If you leave them out the doctor will not be able to see the sore spots and this will prolong the “break in” period.
How do you clean dentures?
Your doctor will discuss how to clean your dentures at your insertion appointment. There are many good denture cleaners on the market. Choose one with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper denture cleaning.