For dental patients who have experienced the stress of extreme tooth decay or tooth loss, the implantation of dentures can have an overwhelmingly positive effect on self-confidence and satisfaction with their smile. Though dentures can greatly improve the appearance of your teeth and return any lost functionality, they can also take some getting used to.
Your recovery period after denture implantation generally depends on what type of dentures you received. The three common types of dentures are:
- Full, removable dentures. These dentures are best for dental patients who need full-mouth restoration but may not have the jawbone density required for dental implantation. These are usually secured using adhesives or a plastic plate-like fixture that sticks to the upper palate of the mouth using suction.
- Implanted dentures. Those with the jawbone health to support dental implants will sometimes opt for these dentures. They snap firmly into place with bar-retained or ball-retained structures to provide incredible stability.
- Partial dentures. Partial dentures can be either fixed or removable and are often used when only a few teeth need replacing.
Whatever type of dentures you’ve had implanted, you will experience a period of adjustment with varying levels of discomfort and newness. This especially depends on whether or not you’ve spent any period of time without teeth before receiving your dentures.
What can I do to better adjust to my dentures?
- Expect some discomfort. In the initial days and weeks with your dentures, you may experience some feelings of looseness, soreness in your gums, more saliva than usual, and even self-consciousness about what your dentures look like. All of these feelings are completely normal, so remember to trust the process and be patient. If you want your dentures to become comfortable, you’ll have to work through all of the discomfort of the adjustment period.
- Eat soft foods at first. As your dentures are adapting to the shape of your mouth and gums, the last thing you want to do is irritate your sensitive mouth by eating excessively hard or crunchy foods. Incorporate foods like pudding, mashed potatoes, soft fruits, and ice cream into your diet as you adjust to your dentures, and gently introduce more solid foods over time as you become more comfortable.
- Give your mouth a break. Most dentists recommend that those with removable dentures take them out every few hours during the first week or so of denture wear. Your jaw, gums, and cheeks will be adjusting to a new foreign object, and these little breaks will allow them to rest, preventing inflammation. Additionally, you will most likely be advised to remove your dentures before going to sleep each night. This will also give your mouth a much-needed break, especially during the initial adjustment phase.
- Sing your speech. Though it may seem silly, speech therapists recommend delivering speech in a sing-song manner in the first few days of denture wear to help the cheeks and tongue adjust to their new normal. Reading out loud is another useful technique to help improve your overall comfort level with your new dentures.