Aftercare for New Dentures
You have just had the final step of your denture construction completed, but this is not the final step in wearing a new denture. Our mouths are very sensitive, we can feel a hair’s width between our teeth, and no matter how hard we try to make the new denture the same as the old one, there is bound to be change and you will feel this change in your mouth. It will require time to become accustomed to the changes. Generally, the greater the change, the longer the time it will take to become accustomed to them but other factors such as age, ability and design will also affect how long it will take.
If this is your first denture, then remember that a denture is not a replacement for teeth but a replacement for no teeth. You do not use a denture how you would have used your own teeth. The first couple of weeks will require that you eat softer foods. Overtime, you may start to add more solid foods to your diet. The keys are to cut your food into small bites and place even amounts of food on both sides during chewing. This makes the dentures more stable. Remember to slow down when eating and you will learn the tricks to master your new dentures more rapidly.
If this is a successive set of dentures, then remember that you have been used to wearing a denture of a certain shape (even if that shape was worn down or damaged) and that changing that shape will be recognised by your mouth. Dentures are held in the mouth using either; clasping surrounding teeth, suction to the roof of the mouth, muscle control and hugging closely the bony ridges of your mouth. Unfortunately, as we age, the teeth we rely on to clasp loosen and are lost, suction weakens as our saliva volume diminishes, muscle control weakens and bony ridges resorb and shrink. A degree of relearning how to wear a denture will be necessary.
It is perfectly normal to experience some discomfort associated with a new denture. Sore spots can develop during your adjustment period. Think about it—your gums were never intended to have hard plastic/metal or nylon fitted against them. Compare this to wearing a new set of shoes. They are the right size and shape, but you would never go hiking in a new set of hiking boots. The skin in your mouth likewise requires time to thicken in areas where the new denture engages.
Do not attempt to adjust your dentures yourself. If an ulcer forms or the dentures stay very sore for a couple of days, we want you to return to the surgery with the dentures in your mouth so we can find the problem and make the necessary adjustments.
Talking may be difficult initially too. It may seem as if you have a mouth full of saliva and your tongue may seem boxed-in. You may have some difficulty with specific sounds. Give this some time and you will overcome these obstacles. Reading aloud is always helpful to improve your phonetics whilst wearing the new dentures.
Dentures need to be kept clean. They should be brushed twice a day with a denture toothbrush and toothpaste. This will keep your dentures from staining and keep your breath fresh. Dentures should be steeped in cleansers overnight to reduce the amount of bacteria that lives on the surface the denture. Not all cleansers are suitable for every denture so please ask your dentist for the most suitable cleanser.
Don’t forget to clean your gums and tongue to prevent build-up of bacteria and help to prevent bad breath.
At night, we recommend taking your dentures out. This allows the tissue to breathe and removes the pressure that is placed on the gums all day long. Failure to do so can lead to a condition known as denture stomatitis. This is when the area of the mouth covered by the denture becomes infected, swollen and tender. It can become sever enough to prevent you from wearing your denture at all!
Dentures should be kept in water when out of your mouth to prevent warpage.
Remember that the gum tissue and bone is in constant state of change, but dentures are not. Over time, your dentures will loosen and need to be professionally relined or rebased.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the surgery for advice.