Getting used to new dentures can take some time. Denture problems are common, especially in the early days after fitting. Even the very best-made dentures are foreign to your mouth and will feel as such for the first while.
Your tongue, lips, cheeks, gums and any natural teeth all need time with getting used to dentures.
The 4 Common Problem Areas With New Dentures
Have you just got new dentures made or getting some soon? There are four common problem areas you might want to be aware of and prepare for:
1. Denture Irritation
Minor irritation, especially on eating, is one of the common problems with new dentures. Your dentist can make small adjustments at the review appointment to remove any irritations. If they are causing any severe irritation, remove your dentures. Just before you can attend your dentist, try to wear the dentures again as any areas of irritation will show up on the gums so the dentist will know exactly where the problems lie.
Several review appointments and adjustments may be necessary before the dentures are adjusted exactly as needed.
2. Denture Fit
Dentures may feel a little loose at first, especially lower complete dentures. It takes some time for the dentures to ‘bed-in’. The muscles of the cheeks, lips and tongue need time in getting used to the dentures. These areas need this time to learn how to keep the denture in place without your thinking about it. Wearing the dentures for the first night after fitting may help you adjust, but after this take them out every night.
However even the best complete lower dentures will never feel as secure as upper dentures. This is unfortunately one of the unavoidable lower denture problems.
While getting used to dentures, it may be useful to use a denture adhesive. There are many types including gels, pastes and strips.
Adhesives can give extra confidence when eating and speaking as your mouth is adapting to dentures. However in the long term they are not usually necessary with well-fitting dentures.
3. Eating with Dentures
Getting used to eating with your new dentures will also take time and is one of the common early denture problems.
Start with liquids and soft foods such as soups, soft bread and eggs. Avoid harder-to-eat foods at the beginning. Build up your exposure to these harder foods over time, once you are more comfortable. Have patience and stick at it! You will soon master eating more difficult foods.
You will need time to learn new mouth movements and learn where to chew down on food.
Tips for eating with dentures at the beginning include:
- Cut food into small pieces.
- Don’t bite up and down on food with your front teeth. This may dislodge the dentures. Use the side and back teeth more at the start.
- Use a sideways chewing motion to eat food.
- Don’t tear or pull food when eating off a fork.
- Having food on both sides of the mouth can help keep the dentures balanced.
It is important that you stick with learning to eat more difficult foods. This will enable you to get a healthier, more varied and balanced diet.
4. Speaking with Dentures
Again, speaking normally will take practice. The first three days or so are the most difficult. The dentures themselves will feel awkward to speak with. This problem will also be compounded by increased saliva flow in the first few days.
Practice and a little patience are needed in these few days. Your speech will soon return to normal as you get used to things.
Some words will remain difficult for longer. Practice saying these words aloud.
Getting Used to Dentures: Other Possible Problems
As you have read, getting used to dentures can be difficult and take some time. There are also other possible factors to keep in mind:
- As noted, there will be increased salivary flow. This generally lasts only a few days as a natural reaction to a foreign object in the mouth. As your mouth gets used to the denture, the saliva flow will return to normal.
- Certain extreme movements such as coughing, sneezing and yawning may dislodge the dentures. This is normal until you get used to these strong dislodging forces on the dentures.
- Cleaning your dentures is a new skill that will also need time to learn.
Denture Problems in the Longer Term
Common denture problems are a result of poor oral and dental hygiene.
If not looked after, plaque can accumulate causing gum disease around, and decay of, remaining natural teeth. Fungal infections such as thrush or inflammation such as denture-induced stomatitis are also a common problem under dentures if they are not cleaned properly and if not removed every night.
A very small percentage of people can be allergic to the acrylic used in dentures. A different type of plastic material can be used in this case.
Some people will find it very difficult to adjust to wearing a denture. Problems may include constant gagging and an inability to eat with dentures.
Preventing Most Denture Problems
“How can I prevent most denture problems?” Many denture problems are avoidable if you follow this advice:
- Keep your dentures and mouth clean. See here for advice on how to clean your dentures.
- Follow the dentist’s instructions on wearing the dentures.
- Remove dentures at night.
- Contact your dentist if you have any problems or concerns with the dentures.
- Continue to attend your dentist for regular check-ups…
Regular check-ups are important even if you have dentures that aren’t troubling you. Your dentist will keep an eye on the fit of your dentures and the health of the gums/teeth underneath. You can sometimes have problems here without being aware of them.
Dentists will check all parts of your mouth for any diseases or infections. Monitoring for oral cancer is a key role of the dentist. Although this is a rare occurrence, if it occurs the sooner it is picked up the better the outlook.
Getting Used to Dentures: Summary
Learning to live with new dentures undoubtedly can be difficult. It takes time getting used to dentures, and learning how to eat and speak with them. Stick with it and they will become easier to wear. The first few days are the hardest. But if new dentures are causing you pain, contact your dentist.
Return to the main page on getting dentures here.