Adjusting to Life With Dentures

When you get traditional dentures, you don’t just pop them in and go about your day. They feel awkward at first, and it takes practice to learn how to eat and talk with this new appliance in your mouth. But you’re not on your own.

At Strauss Dental in Oregon City, Dr. Julie Strauss and her team help you every step of the way, from ensuring your dentures are a perfect fit — which makes your adjustment smoother — to helping you over any problems that arise. 

Here’s a look at what to expect as you adjust to life with dentures.

Your adjustment depends on the type of denture

Traditional dentures require the most extended adjustment period. These dentures are made to fit snugly over your gums, where they form a seal with saliva. The upper piece also has material covering the roof of your mouth to improve suction.

To improve the stability of dentures, you can use a denture adhesive. But the seal is easy to break because the dentures are made to come out so you can clean them and your gums. The potential movement, combined with the new sensation of dentures in your mouth are the top reasons it takes time and practice to adjust to your new teeth.

In contrast, you don’t need an adjustment period if you get implant-supported dentures. These dentures are anchored in place by a post that’s inserted into your jaw and unites with your jawbone. The implanted posts secure that the dentures permanently attached to the posts feel and act like your natural teeth. 

Be gentle on your gums at the start

When you first start wearing your dentures, it’s natural for your gums to feel sore while adjusting to the dentures. It’s also natural for your mouth to produce more saliva for a short time.

For the first few days, it helps to stick with a soft diet. Pudding, cooked cereal, applesauce, scrambled eggs, and soups like tomato soup that don’t have meats and vegetables are a few ideas.

Soothe your sore gums by rinsing with warm saltwater. And if the soreness is intolerable or worsens, call us so we can help.

Gradually return to everyday eating habits

When your gums aren’t sore, and you’re more accustomed to the feel of your dentures, you can start to include your usual foods. Take it slowly and stick to soft foods. For example, eat cooked vegetables rather than fresh and go with fish rather than a steak. Cut all your food (even soft foods) into bite-sized pieces, so they’re easier to eat.

Check the temperature of hot foods and beverages before putting them in your mouth. Dentures tend to have an insulating effect, so you may not feel the actual temperature until it’s too late.

The following tips will help you adjust to eating everyday foods with new dentures:

When you bite using your front teeth, your dentures can become unstable and move around. Chewing on both sides maintains even pressure that keeps your dentures stable.

Over the next one to three weeks, you begin to feel more comfortable with biting and chewing. As you gain confidence, introduce firmer foods, always chewing and biting carefully at first.

Before long, you’re back to eating nearly the same diet you had before your dentures. But there will always be some foods that you should eat with care, even after your gums are healthy and you have great-fitting dentures. Hard or sticky foods and candies, fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds can challenge dentures. 

Learning to speak with dentures

In the first few weeks, your dentures’ unusual feel may make it hard to say some words. It helps to speak slowly, but mostly you need to practice. Try reading a book out loud, repeating the words that are difficult to say, or singing along with your favorite songs.

If your dentures move when you talk, smile, or laugh, gently bite down and swallow to get them back into their proper position. If you continue to have trouble with your dentures slipping, we may need to adjust the fit. Dentures that were once a great fit may become loose as your gums heal and change shape over time. 

We’re glad to offer advice about denture adhesives, which ones might work best for you, and how to use them. But if your dentures are loose due to a bad fit, a bond won’t help — contact Strauss Dental. Either call the office at 503-656-2139 or request an appointment online.

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