A great deal of skill has been used in constructing your new dentures and they must be cared for if you are to get the best service from them. Nothing has been found to equal healthy, natural teeth, but dentistry has made great progress in replacing them with artificial ones. These cannot be expected to do everything that natural teeth do, but provided they are used sensibly they will enable you to eat, speak and function quite satisfactorily.
The teeth on your new dentures have been placed as near to the exact position that your natural teeth once occupied as possible. This will support your lips and cheeks and give you as natural an appearance as possible. You can expect to undergo a period of awkwardness while getting use to the dentures regardless of whether you wore dentures before or not. Your first reaction may be that you have suddenly acquired a tremendous mouthful and that your lips are being pushed forward excessively by teeth that seem too big. This should not worry you because the feeling of fullness will soon wear off as you become accustomed to the position of the new dentures in your mouth. You may think that because they feel very big to you they will appear so to others. This is not so and there should be no need for embarrassment. You may have a feeling of gagging or excessive salivation, but when you have worn the dentures for a short time these sensations will disappear. While you are learning to use your denture, it is necessary to have patience. Control of your dentures may be difficult at first, but gradually it will become automatic. The facial muscles and tongue need time to learn the position of the new teeth and the part of the denture that touches the gums. The time required to become accustomed to new dentures varies considerably with everyone; some master their dentures in a very short time, others require weeks of patience to do so. It usually takes an average of four to eight weeks to become frilly accustomed to them. The first two weeks are generally the hardest. If you are new. to wearing dentures, you will require more time and patience in learning to adapt than those who have worn dentures before. Friends may tell you how easy it was for them, they could be bragging, or they may have forgotten.
Speaking may seem strange or even difficult at first. New dentures are never the same as old dentures and your tongue must learn where the artificial teeth are all over again. It is a good idea to read aloud to yourself for short periods during the first few days. Take occasional sips of water as reading aloud makes your mouth feel dry. There is no need to be embarrassed about speaking; other people are much less aware of the awkwardness than you are. This is because your own voice never sounds the same to other people as it does to you. When you hear yourself speak most of the sound reaches your ears by means of vibrations in the bones of the jaw and skull, this varies from the sound that travels through the air in the ordinary way. Therefore, any small changes become much more noticeable to the speaker than to anyone else.
When you begin eating with your new dentures, it is important to start slowly. Eating may present difficulties, and in fact it is the most difficult part in mastering new dentures. You must not be discouraged if you experience a few failures at first, natural teeth are firmly fixed in bone while artificial dentures only rest on the bone. When chewing on one side you may notice a tendency for the dentures to tip and loosen on the opposite side. Attempt to chew food on both sides with the teeth. This will help prevent tipping of your dentures. If you are patient and spend the necessary time practicing, you will learn to control the dentures automatically by using the muscles cheeks and tongue in your mouth. Everything in your mouth must learn what they should and should not do. With some new dentures it may have been necessary to increase the height of your upper and lower teeth to have them contact sooner. This may have been done using an appliance called an occlusal splint. With a change such as this you will have to develop new chewing habits simply because you will be chewing your food at a different position than that of your old dentures. Food that does not need hard chewing should be started off with. Also take smaller mouthfuls and chew slowly and evenly. At first do not bite off food with your front teeth; you will learn to do that later. Cut the food into smaller pieces that can easily be put into your mouth. As you begin to become more skilled at using your dentures, you will be able to fry harder and tougher foods and eventually you will be able to use your front teeth for biting. Remember, with your natural teeth you bite and pulled but with dentures you bite and push. You may also have difficulty with very thin foods such as lettuce and the skins of apples or tomatoes. You will find apples easy to eat if you first peel them and cut them into slices or quarters. After each meal it is important to remove and rinse your mouth and dentures. Small particles of food underneath a denture will eventually cause soreness if not removed from the denture or mouth.
Patients frequently report that the sense of taste is affected when they first wear dentures. They sometimes think that this is caused by their palate being covered by the dentures. In fact, most of taste buds are present on the tongue and not in the palate. There are two reasons why food seems to lose some of its taste. First, the feeling of the food being squashed against the palate is lost. Secondly, although the taste buds are working quite normally the message they send to the brain is interrupted by the very large number of other messages from the sensory nerves in the mouth, telling the brain that a strange new object is in the mouth. As you become more accustomed to your new dentures your brain pays less attention to these messages and more to the messages from the taste buds. When this happens, food regains its taste.
Because an artificial denture is a new object in the mouth you may at first develop an excessive amount of saliva. This reaction is perfectly natural and after a while it will reduce as you become accustomed to the dentures. The best way to overcome this temporary discomfort is to persevere in wearing the dentures. The use of a hard candy or gum helps. In any case, if you bear in mind that the flow of saliva has always been going on unnoticed in your mouth before you started to use your dentures, you will quickly realize that it is quite a normal condition. The dentures also require a certain amount of saliva to work properly. A dry mouth, also called Xerostomia, may cause the dentures to feel loose and occasionally sore as well. See your medical doctor should this condition exist.
Dentures, like natural teeth, must be kept clean and free from deposits to avoid permanent staining. A dirty denture looks unpleasant, causes bad breath and is very unhygienic. To keep your dentures clean you must rinse them in warm water, not hot, and rinse out your mouth after every meal. If simple rinsing will not clean the dentures thoroughly a denture brush or toothbrush may be used to remove loose food from between the teeth. Every night the dentures should be cleaned with a brush. Abrasive powders or regular toothpaste should never be used as these scratches the denture surface making them more difficult to clean. Polident Cream tooth paste works well. When brushing your dentures always take the precaution of having a few inches of water in the sink to avoid breaking your denture if you were to drop them. It is also advisable to spread a cloth or small towel in the sink for the same reason. Always hold the lower denture on the side you are brushing, never in the palm of your hand, as this may cause them to break. Every night you should use a denture cleanser but remember to brush off saliva and any food debris before you put the dentures into a bath of cleanser. These denture cleansers are available in powder, liquid or tablet form that must be mixed with water according to the manufactures Polident and Efferdent tablets work well.
Stronger solutions are available through us for those stubborn stains. Some of our ingredients are very strong, so do not use more than the instructions allow. Soaking for a few minutes is not usually sufficient, even though the denture may look quite clean. Several hours of immersion is desirable such as an overnight cleaning. Occasionally, soaking your dentures in undiluted vinegar is useful in removing persistent stains and calculus. Ultrasonic cleaners are very effective and may be purchased through us. Always rinse the dentures in water before placing them back in your mouth. Over me your dentures may become stained or you may begin to see a buildup of tarter or calculus forming. These stains require a professional cleaning, polishing and disinfection to be removed without harming or weakening the denture. This service is available through us at a reasonable cost and generally done in less than an hour.
Since dentures are prosthodontic appliances, they should normally be left out of the mouth at night, especially if you tend to grind your teeth when you sleep. This may cause a certain amount of distress in some patients. Should this be the case leave the dentures in during the night. If you do insist on wearing your dentures at night, then you should purchase a very soft bristle toothbrush. Wet this brush with water and brush your gums and palate lightly at bedtime with your dentures out, and again in the morning. This brushing helps to keep your mouth healthy by helping the blood circulate in the area. If new dentures are left out for longer than overnight, irritated areas may swell, and you may have difficulty inserting and wearing the dentures comfortably. When you are not wearing the dentures, always put them in water; never let the dry out or place them in hot water as they may warp and no longer fit properly. Ultimately it is your decision as to whether you choose to wear your dentures or not when you sleep.
Any discussion of dentures would not be complete without some comments on single dentures opposed by natural teeth. Contrary to general belief, single dentures are a source of much more trouble to both the patient and us. Because most people wearing upper and lower dentures usually are more satisfied with their dentures. People in general believe that this should be true of single dentures that oppose natural teeth or a combination of natural teeth and a partial denture. Since it is estimated that for every person who wears a single denture, there are about ten that wear upper and lower dentures. The conditions under which a single denture functions are entirely different from those of upper and lower dentures. The pressures applied to the single denture by natural teeth are many times greater than those applied by upper and lower dentures. As a result, the single denture can be easily moved, and tissue changes occur at a much faster rate. Any deviation from an ideal mouth maB1ifies itself when a single denture is subjected to the tremendous forces of natural teeth. It is safe to say that most people who wear single are not happy about the retention. Every time a person with a single denture has a meal, it is easy to subject the denture to pressures that are damaging. Patients with single upper dentures are often tempted to eat everything, and being free of a Üoub1esome lower denture, most of them see no need to change their eating habits. The same limitations that are placed on upper and lower dentures apply to single dentures. Failure to heed this warning may result in soreness or food getting underneath the denture. Single dentures also require more servicing as they tend to loosen up quicker in time. A reline or refit will tighten hem back up when needed and may be needed every two to four years.
You may find that your mouth may become sore when you start wearing your new dentures. This is because new denture will settle into the tissue allowing your gums to reshape themselves to the shape of the new dentures. This process generally takes approximately two weeks. When necessary an appointment will be given for inspection so that all the necessary adjustments can be made. Even if your mouth becomes sore, please be sure to wear your dentures for the whole of the day before your appointment, otherwise it may be difficult to tell where the sore spot is. At first you may also find that you bite your cheeks or tongue, but this usually corrects itself after a short time when the muscles, tongue and cheeks have adjusted themselves to the new support. Depending on the amount and rate of change occurring in the mouth you may require numerous adjustments and up to one month to adapt to new dentures. As a courtesy, adjustments are done at our office as soon as possible when needed. If the dentures hurt allot, make an appointment to allow us to adjust them. There is no sense suffering with them, but if they only hurt a little, fry it for a few days to see if it goes away by itself. The less grinding and adjusting we do to them the tighter they will fit. Once we loosen an area while adjusting it we cannot tighten it back up again. The unfortunate part about soreness is that we cannot predict where a denture is going to hurt you. We can only adjust it afterwards.
Occasionally patients will complain of a burning sensation in the roof of the mouth. This appears to be much more common with women. Sometimes the burning sensation appears shortly after the delivery of the dentures, or sometimes it may be weeks before this problem occurs. Most patients report that it disappears when the dentures are removed from the mouth. There is no question of the discomfort that this condition creates. While the burning sensation undoubtedly has been triggered by the dentures, it involves a nerve condition or Xerostomia (dry mouth) and is beyond the control of any Denturist. Yet, no specific cure is known. Observations indicate that it will continue for a few months or a few years and then disappear. Consulting a physician is indicated.
Many patients think complete dentures should be as efficient as natural teeth. Such is never possible, and one will illustrate the reasons. A person with healthy teeth and supporting tissues can exert at least twenty the force that a patient with dentures can exert. Thus, it is apparent the crushing, shearing and chewing forces are not as strong and effective as those with natural teeth, and the patient wearing dentures cannot realistically expect to perform as efficiently as with natural teeth. Another problem is patients who have no lower ridge remaining. When the lower ridge is flat, and the lower denture has no outside flanges the denture will always shift, lift and move easily. These patients must learn to accept more limitations than normal. The denture can easily be displaced and learning to chew in a straight up and down stoke is essential. Such a patient should accept changes in selection of foods to accommodate the impaired condition which exists. Patients with such conditions would benefit tremendously from implants. There are dentures that are held in place by implants. Two or more titanium posts which are screwed into the lower or upper jaw fixing the denture to the bone and thus any movement what so ever. These dentures can either be permanently fixed in place, so they do not come out or the more common ones are implant retained meaning that you can remove them when necessary. Implant retained dentures are now becoming the norm for lower dentures. You must pull hard to remove them. That’s how tight they are. See us for more information or a referral. We have been doing implants since the late 1980’s. Another problem is the clenching of the teeth during the day. It occurs in all age groups and creates chronic soreness which can result in a significant loss of bone in a relatively short time. Many patients will insist they are unaware of clenching. Some do it only under certain conditions, or at certain of the day. Some say they do so because the dentures are loose. But whatever the reason, it should be stopped if one is to avoid serious loss of bone or constant soreness. Returning to us for adjustments provides only temporary relief, and the time will soon come when we can no longer help. People who clench their teeth are presenting us with a problem ordinarily beyond our ability to control. If we were to treat this as strictly a dental problem, you would be told to keep the denture out. Not wearing the denture would prevent clenching. If you cannot do this, you must either break the habit or suffer future loss of bone and constant pain. If you have made a sincere effort to avoid clenching, but to no avail, a permanent soft-liner can be placed on the lower denture to reduce the pressure significantly. The last problem is chronic soreness of the lower ridge with patients whose alcoholic intake is beyond their own individual tolerance. We are not discussing alcoholism, but a large group of people who drink more than average. For reasons too technical to discuss here, it is a fact that the tissues of the mouth will suffer when some people drink alcoholic beverages in excess. Here again the problem is common to all age groups, and all types of mouths. How much or how often you drink is not for us to say, but if you are one of the many who are suffering from chronic soreness of the lower ridge, check your drinking habits. Moderation may be your only solution to successful denture service. This is another example of a dental problem beyond the control of a Denturist. Consultation with your physician is indicated.
Although your dentures will keep their shape, your mouth like the rest of your body is constantly changing. The bone which supports the denture can recede and shrink away, causing the jaw to become smaller. This can make your dentures loose and less stable, impair your ability to chew and give you deep ageing lines and wrinkles. The teeth of the dentures may also become worn and require renewal. When dentures feel loose many people resort to the use of adhesive powders or pastes to hold them in position. While these aids may be useful on a temporary basis they should not be used routinely. The looseness is a sign that natural shrinkage of the bone has occurred. Prolonged wearing of the dentures in this condition will accelerate the loss of bone. There are products available which one can use to reline or repair their dentures. DO NOT DO IT YOURSELF. Many people have found out the hard way that do it yourself relining can cause serious and irreversible damage to your mouth. If a denture is improperly relined at home, the excessive bulk and resulting pressure can cause the bone to shrink away more rapidly. When this bony ridge is gone, it is gone forever. Not only will these dentures be useless, but it will be far more difficult for us to make new ones that fit properly. We can make new dentures to fit the damaged bone lost but the do-it-yourself relines can also cause irritation to the soft tissues of the mouth. Constant irritation can lead to oral lesions, open sores, and possibly contribute to the development of other more severe conditions. To prevent or correct these problems you have been placed on a recall system with us. You will be recalled sometime within a three to five-year period depending upon the type of service you received from us. This will enable us to access any changes and make the necessary minor adjustments. There will be no charge for this extended service.
Remember, the success of your new dentures depends largely on you. They have been designed for comfort appearance, and efficiency. Take a positive attitude towards them and become one of the millions who can wear and use dentures satisfactorily.