If you’re faced with losing all or most of your teeth, dentures are a great way to restore your appearance and allow you to eat and speak normally. However, facing multiple extractions, along with often-lengthy healing and adjustment periods can be daunting, and it’s understandable if you have some anxiety about the procedure. Whether you’re getting full or partial dentures, we’ve listed some important information about what you should expect, and how you can get used to your new dentures faster.
The Impression Procedure
No matter what kind of dentures you’re getting, your dentist will need to take a mold of your mouth in order to make an exact replica of your teeth. It’s common to have multiple impressions made over several visits in order to make sure that even the smallest detail is captured and ensure the most natural fit. Your dentist will then test the bite, speech, fit, teeth color, and gum color in order to make dentures that are as comfortable and close to your natural teeth as possible.
The Extraction Procedure
In some cases, you may have already lost the teeth the dentures will be replacing, and in other cases you teeth will need to be extracted. Having some or all of your teeth remove is often the most daunting part of the process for most people, as there will be a healing period during which your gums may be very sore.
Some people elect to get immediate dentures, which are placed in your mouth right after your teeth are extracted. The benefit is that you will be able to speak and chew more normally right after the procedure, though there will still be an adjustment period as you get used to the dentures and you may require multiple adjustments to the dentures as your gums heal.
Others elect to wait until their gums heal from the extractions before receiving their dentures. The benefits are that allowing your mouth to heal allows your dentures to fit better sooner, and often requires fewer adjustments in follow-up appointments. However, it also means that you will experience a longer period of not being able to chew or speak properly while your gums heal and the dentures are made.
Adjusting To Your New Dentures
The adjustment period can be difficult to predict, as everyone heals differently. However, you don’t need to assume that it will take a long time for you to get used to your new dentures. Although chewing and speaking like normal may take a little time, you will get the hang of it — we promise!
To help you get used to chewing, start first with soft foods cut into small pieces and try to chew using the back teeth on both sides of your mouth, instead of one side or the other. This will help keep the pressure even and prevent your dentures from falling out, as they might do if you bite or chew with the front of the dentures. Over time, you can begin to incorporate harder foods until you can chew like normal.
Speaking with dentures can also take some time, especially because you may find it difficult to keep your lower dentures in place. Try using your tongue to hold your dentures down as you speak — over time, you’ll need to do this less and less. Try picking a favorite book and reading it out loud to help practice your speech. You may find that some words are more difficult to pronounce than others, so it may be helpful to make a list of those words and practice them consistently. Over the course of a few weeks, you’ll find yourself talking just as you had before you got dentures, and you’ll find you hardly remember they’re there at all.
Getting dentures is a complex procedure that involves many steps. Remember, it’s perfectly natural to be anxious about this process and how it may alter your life. However, you can rest assured that you will adjust and you will heal, and eventually your dentures will be just an afterthought. Do you have dentures? If so, feel free to let us know about your experience or share some adjustment tips below!