The Care of Your Dentures
The following suggestions are to help you learn how to use and how to care for you new dentures.
Most people have a "breaking in" period after they receive their new dentures before they feel comfortable. This amount of time varies with each person. A person's determination and perseverance can affect this time as well. You must first learn to get used to your dentures; then you can gradually start to use them.
What to expect: It is normal for your new dentures to feel awkward at first. Your speech will have changed, and your appearance may even change slightly. Your mouth may also have a feeling of fullness. These are all normal side effects. Following the instructions below will help gain a relaxation of the muscles of you rlips, tongue, and cheeks. However, don't expect too much too soon; time, patience, and cooperation are needed.
Your first impression when you place you new dentures in you mouth may be that they are too loose and that your mouth is too full. If your top denture feels as if it has loosened, close your teeth together, press your tongue to the roof of your mouth and swallow all of the air out from underneath the denture. The muscles of the tongue, cheeks, and lips tend to dislodge the denture, but these same muscles can be trained to assist in keeping these dentures in place. The lower denture, typically, is more difficult to keep in place than the upper. This is because the action of the tongue and lips have more bearing on it. The lower denture also has a smaller "ridge" of bone for the denture to sit on. Do not form a habit of loosening your dentures with the tongue and lips. Do not form the habit of placing the jaws in unnatural postions as this calls attention to the mouth and makes the dentures more conspicuous. Don' t form the habit of drawing the tongue backwards when opening your mouth. Stability and tightness can be improved by keeping the tip of the tongue in contact with the lower front teeth as much as possible, particularly when coughing or laughing.
Soreness (sore spots): Soreness may develop at any time. Sometimes it is they may appear the first few days after receiving your new dentures or they can even develop weeks or months later. However, you cannot become accustomed to your dentures unless you wear them. If sore spots do occur, please call our office so that we can have you come in and adjust those for you. Sore spots do not go away or heal themselves. There is a spot on your denture that is rubbing on your gums too much and that extra material needs to be relieved. Never attempt to correct the area in the denture that you think is causing the soreness. Wear your dentures for 6 hours before returning to the office for an adjustment.
You may accidentally bite your tongue or cheeks. This is usually a temporary annoyance that corrects itself when you start to learn to eat with your dentures, and your tongue and cheeks have time to get used to their new environment. If the problem persists, please call the office.
Do not invite criticism of your new dentures until you have worn them for several weeks. On the same note, don't let comments about your new dentures discourage you. At first, you may be somewhat self-conscious and your facial expressions may be slightly altered. After you lose this self-conscious feeling, your lips and cheeks start to relax and this will make you feel and look better. This can best be accomplished by trying to forget that you are wearing dentures and centering your mind on other activities and your work.
Eating: While it may be tempting to jump right into eating some difficlut foods, hold off for awhile. A lot of patience is needed when learning to eat with your new dentures. First, get accustomed to having them in your mouth, and then you can begin to eat soft foods and those that are easy to chew. Bread is sticky and is often difficult to chew. Do not chew gum or other sticky or adhesive foods. Take small bites and chew slowly. Try to overcome the difficulities as they appear. Make sure you keep the food distributed evenly on both sides of your mouth and remember to shew on the back teeth.
Biting off foods, like apples and corn-on-the-cob, etc., can be quite difficult. To bite off a mouthful, apply pressure against the front teeth when closing. Don't try to break off the bite like you could with natural teeth. Instead, be sure that the mouthful has been completely bitten off before relieving the pressure. Preferably, bite food off on the side of the mouth. The front teeth were not placed in the dentures for biting; their use it to restore appearance and to facilitate speech.
Speech: Learning to talk with your dentures in place requires lots practice. Reading aloud is a very good way to learn to speak clearly. Practice words or sounds that are not clear. Avoid making movements of the lips and tongue that tend to displace the dentures or cause them to click. Careful practice and perseverance will produce desired results.
Mouth and Denture Hygiene: It is extremely important that your dentures are kept clean, not only for sanitary reasons, but also because debris can collect underneath your dentures and cause discomfort and sore spots.
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KENNETH B. ALLEN, DDS, PC
You'll love our care and your smile will show it! ™