Being able to smile confidently is priceless. For many, dentures are the best solution for replacing lost teeth and restoring their smile, in addition to helping them eat and talk more easily. Getting used to wearing dentures can take a little time as your mouth adjusts. Here's what to expect with dentures and some suggestions for easing the transition.
Adjusting to new dentures
You're probably wondering how long it takes for new dentures to settle in and feel "right." Having a new dental appliance always feels strange, and with dentures, you almost have to relearn how to do basic things like eat and laugh. Of course, it's well worth the work!
As new dentures settle in, it's normal to experience some minor irritation or soreness for the first few weeks, says the American Dental Association (ADA). Your dentures might feel loose and slip while the muscles in your mouth learn to keep them in place. It's also common to have increased saliva flow with new dentures due to having a "foreign object" in your mouth. All of these problems should diminish as you get used to your false teeth or dentures. If any problems persist or worsen, especially pain, contact your dentist.
Eating with new dentures
When you first get dentures, eating will take some practice. Get started with soft foods — mashed potatoes, yogurt, bananas or scrambled eggs — so your gums and jaw muscles can get used to the motion of eating. Cut food into small pieces and chew slowly to help keep your dentures in place, advises the Cleveland Clinic.
As chewing gets easier, start transitioning into more solid foods — rice, pasta, cooked vegetables or soft meat are good options. Make sure to chew on both sides of your mouth to help keep your dentures from slipping. Avoid very hot foods because you might not be able to sense temperature as easily. Also, stay away from hard or chewy foods to make sure your dentures stay stable and comfortable.
Talking with new dentures
You probably aren't surprised to learn that talking with dentures takes practice, too. Certain words and sounds might be harder than before, especially "s" and "f" sounds. It can be helpful to practice speaking out loud in front of a mirror or reading aloud to know which words give you trouble.
If you notice your dentures making a clicking sound when you talk, speak more slowly. This happens when your dentures aren't perfectly in place, which is normal for new denture-wearers. All the muscles in your mouth — lips, tongue and cheeks — have to get used to the dentures, but eventually they'll help keep everything in place.
Like many people, you might feel your new dentures slip when you laugh, cough or talk. Don't panic! Simply bite down gently and swallow to restore your dentures to the correct position.
With a little patience, adapting to dentures doesn't have to be difficult. Remember to care for your dentures to keep them in excellent shape. With practice, you'll be able to eat, talk, laugh and smile confidently.