Dentures of one form or another have been in use for more than 2,000 years. However, these substitutions for missing teeth have never been as effective, easy to use, and appealing as they are today.
Dentures that fit properly can improve your appearance, eating, and speaking. But before you start wearing dentures, you must make a choice. After all your teeth are removed, you can wait until the extraction sites are healed before having dentures made or you can have immediate dentures inserted right away.
Four Main Benefits of Immediate Dentures
- You will never have to appear in public without teeth.
- Immediate dentures protect the extraction sites, help control bleeding, and keep bits of food from entering the wounds, which can cause irritation and inflammation.
- Immediate dentures can minimize changes in your appearance that can occur when your natural teeth are removed. Because the dentures provide continual support, the tongue, lips, and cheeks will not change position.
- Your transition to dentures is shortened. You will not have to learn to speak and chew without teeth and then relearn with dentures.
Yet, immediate dentures are not for everyone. A few people should not have them because of general health concerns and specific oral problems.
When you first begin to wear dentures, they may feel loose. Until you have learned to keep them in place with the muscle of your cheeks and tongue, they may tip when you chew, allowing food or liquids to pass under them.
No matter how thin the dentures are, they will feel bulky. They may make your tongue feel crowded or may cause a slight gagging sensation. Until your gum ridges are adjusted to supporting dentures, your mouth may feel sore or irritated. Your saliva flow may also increase temporarily.
After a few weeks, as your oral tissues become adjusted to wearing dentures, these problems should decrease. If you continue to experience irritation or excessive soreness in any area, you should see your dentist.
When you first get dentures, your facial expression may seem different. A more normal expression will return when the muscles of your cheeks and lips adapt to the dentures.
Dentures may improve your appearance by changing the shape of your face, and reducing facial creases. Denture teeth also will look straight, white, and healthy.
When you are first learning to use your dentures, it is best to eat soft foods. Cut your food into small pieces and chew slowly on both sides with your back teeth to keep your dentures from tipping. After a few days, when the dentures feel more comfortable, gradually try coarser and harder foods until you are able to eat a more normal diet. Avoid eating sticky or very hard foods until you have more experience wearing dentures.
Be cautious when eating. Remember that dentures now cover many surfaces of your mouth, so it will be more difficult for you to feel a burn from hot foods or a sharp bone.
Sometimes, wearing dentures can make a difference in the way you pronounce certain words. To help overcome any speech difficulties, practice reading aloud. If the denture teeth click together when you talk, speak more slowly. Bring any problems to your dentist's attention at your checkup. At first, you may find that your dentures become loose when you laugh, cough, or even smile. To reposition them, close your teeth together gently and swallow.
When To Wear Your Dentures
Follow your dentist's advice on how long you should wear your dentures each day. You may be advised to wear the dentures most of the time for the first few days. This helps protect tooth extraction sites and helps the mouth tissues adjust to certain dentures more rapidly. Also, if the dentures are left out of your mouth for long periods of time, any sore spots in your mouth may swell, making it difficult to reinsert the dentures.
Caring For Your Dentures
For a healthy mouth and fresh breath, clean plaque, and food deposits from your dentures daily. This also helps keep the dentures from becoming permanently stained.
Dentures should be handled carefully! Dropping them - even a few inches into the sink - can break the denture base or a tooth. When cleaning or inserting your dentures, hold them over a towel or basin half-filled with water. Always keep your dentures out of reach of children and pets.
Before brushing your dentures, rinse them well to remove any loose particles. next, apply your favorite denture cleaner to a moistened brush and clean all surfaces of the dentures. Brush thoroughly and carefully.
Long-Term Denture Success
Although your dentures will keep their shape, your mouth continues to change. The bone and gum ridge that support your dentures can recede or shrink, causing your jaws to come closer together. If ridge shrinkage occurs, your dentures will begin to feel loose and less stable. Your ability to chew will decrease, and your face will acquire deep aging lines and wrinkles.
Prolonged use of ill-fitting dentures can irritate the gums, tongue, and cheeks and cause the ridges of the mouth to shrink to the point where it will be almost impossible to fit them with normal dentures. Constant irritation can also lead to open sores and serious infections.
To prevent or correct these problems, you should see your dentist regularly. Only your dentist can determine what changes have taken place in your mouth and what should be done to correct the fit of your dentures.
Your success in wearing dentures depends on you. With a positive attitude, you can become one of the millions of people who wear dentures successfully.