5 Tips for Adjusting to Life With Dentures

Untreated dental decay and advanced gum disease are frequent contributing factors in tooth loss, a problematic and all-too-common adult oral health issue: More than half of adults in the United States have lost at least one tooth, and approximately 40 million men and women no longer have any of their natural teeth. 

Partial or complete dentures are an excellent, cost-effective restorative option for patients who either can’t afford dental implants or can’t undergo implant surgery for some reason. 

Here at Smiles in Springfield, we understand that dentures require a period of adjustment. As dentists who specialize in providing long-term restorative solutions, we don’t just want to make that process easier — we want you to thrive with your new teeth. 

With that in mind, here are five proven strategies to help you adjust to life with dentures more quickly and comfortably: 

1. Start with soft foods

New dentures are designed to fit flawlessly, but they can still feel like a foreign object for the first week or two. This unfamiliar feeling can create a bit of a learning curve when it comes to eating normally. 

To master the art of chewing with dentures, switch to a soft-food diet — think eggs, oatmeal, stew, rice, bananas, etc. Soft foods allow you to chew without a lot of pressure so you’re less likely to bite your tongue, scrape your cheek, or inadvertently pop your dentures out of place.  

When you’re ready to move on to harder or tougher foods like apples or meat, cut them into small, bite-sized pieces you can chew more easily with your molars. Continue to fine-tune your jaw motions and pressure while chewing until eating with dentures becomes second nature. 

2. Practice speaking 

When it comes to clear speech, new dentures can feel more like a hindrance than a help. Some words may be harder to pronounce at first, and your dentures may shift out of place or click as you speak.  

Patience is key as you get used to speaking while wearing dentures. Daily speech practice can help — think out loud when you’re alone, read aloud slowly, or sing along to your favorite song. Singing smooth, fluid phrases is a great way to get used to forming words with dentures. 

3. Address sore spots

It’s not unusual to experience minor sore spots when “breaking in” new dentures for the first couple of weeks. To minimize sore spots as your gums get used to your dentures, try removing them for a few minutes every four hours or so during the day. 

To soothe sore spots and reduce minor inflammation, rinse your mouth with warm salt water and gently apply an over-the-counter medicated topical gel made to relieve denture pain.  

If sore spots persist — especially if they’re in the same place — visit your dentist at Smiles in Springfield for a readjustment. Remember, initial discomfort is normal, but persistent discomfort is not. 

4. Try using an adhesive

Made to fit securely against the underlying gum tissue and supporting bone, dentures are designed to remain firmly in place without the use of a special adhesive — in fact, your saliva actually forms a seal between your gums and your dentures.    

But when you’re adjusting to life with dentures, the right adhesive can be a real game-changer. Denture adhesive works very well for keeping your new teeth in position, even as you practice chewing and speaking. Less slippage can also mean fewer sore spots during your adjustment period.  

5. Don’t ignore discomfort

Many factors can influence how quickly you adjust to dentures, including the quality of your underlying gum and bone tissues, whether you required extractions before your dentures were fitted, and the type of dentures you have (full or partial). 

While you can expect some amount of discomfort as you get used to your new dentures, any soreness, irritation, or perceived fit problems should gradually lessen within a few weeks. 

If your difficulties don’t let up, or if you find yourself using adhesive to keep poorly fitting dentures in place, you may simply need an adjustment for a better fit. 

If you’d like to learn more about getting dentures, we can help. Call 703-634-4239 to schedule a visit with one of the restorative specialists in our Springfield, Virginia, office today.  

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