Dentures and Partial Dentures

Whether this is your first denture or your tenth, you will find that adjusting to your new denture will probably take some time. Everyone hears about a friend or relative who had no trouble at all with a new denture, never had it adjusted and can eat anything they want.  

These people are in the minority. The mouth and jaws adapt to old dentures, and even if they are ill-fitting, the mouth gets used to this and doesn’t like all the changes that new dentures bring.

When you start to wear your new dentures, you will be conscious of many things about your mouth, which you weren’t before. It will take several days for the gums to adapt to the different pressures the new dentures place on them. After 2 to 3 days, the dentures will start to feel as though they are “settling in,” and the retention and stability will increase. 

Using adhesives during this “break-in” period will make the dentures more comfortable. However, use as little as possible the first 2-3 days so the adhesives will not interfere with the denture adapting to the gums. 

A full lower denture is the most difficult to master. You may need to continue to wear adhesives on a lower, especially if you have a severely resorbed ridge or poor muscle control of the tongue and cheeks.

Your success in wearing your new dentures depends more on you than on any other factor. If you meet the challenge with determination, you will be surprised at the short time it will take to achieve success with your new dentures. 

Here are some tips to help you get used to your new dentures.

HAVE PATIENCE – Learning to wear a denture takes time. Follow our advice, and don’t become discouraged. Don’t listen to friends who tell you how easy it was for them. Each case is different.

LOWERS ARE SLOWER – A lower denture usually takes far longer to master than an upper denture. Your facial muscles and tongue are continually moving the dentures. Take your time, and don’t worry if your tongue feels strange or restricted. It will soon accustom itself to the new position.

EATING – Don’t take large bites at first. Cut all food into small portions. Attempt to chew evenly on both sides to “balance” the denture. Do not bite into food directly. Bite off to the side to help stabilize the denture. Slice hard foods like apples, and cut corn off the cob to help preserve your natural ridge in the front.

SORE SPOTS – You may experience some sore spots with your new denture. We will gladly adjust your denture. Four adjustment appointments are included with the cost of your denture. After that, there will be a small appointment fee to help offset sterilization costs.

SPEECH – If you have a tendency to slur your words or your speech seems difficult, practice reading aloud or speaking in front of a mirror. Counting aloud will help the tongue retrain itself faster, especially numbers in the 30s, 50s, and 60s (for example thirty-one, thirty-two, etc.)  It may take several weeks for your speech to return to normal.

TISSUE CHANGE – Remember that your gum tissue changes daily, your denture does not. It is important to visit our office regularly for a denture check-up. Periodically you may need a reline.  An ill-fitting denture will accelerate the loss of bone in your jaws.

CLEANING – An unclean denture is never healthful, attractive, or comfortable. Your denture will form plaque and tartar just like natural teeth and needs to be cleaned daily. We recommend using a denture cleaning solution (such as Efferdent) in addition to brushing your denture with a denture brush and soap. Be sure to keep water in the sink when cleaning to avoid fracturing the denture should it drop. 

It is healthiest to remove your denture at night and soak it in solution.  If you feel more comfortable sleeping in your dentures, it is important to take your dentures out for an hour a day to keep your gums healthy. Never use any household chemicals such as bleach on your denture.

ADHESIVES – For many years, dentists recommended against the long-term use of adhesives, and many still do. Their feeling is that with proper ridge form, muscle control and fit, a satisfactory result can be obtained without adhesive. This is true for many people but may not apply to your situation. With lower dentures, however, you may notice a distinct improvement with adhesive.  

If this is your first denture after it “settles” the denture may begin to feel loose due to your gums shrinking. You may need to increase the amount of adhesive. The edge of your denture may feel as though it is “sticking out.” This is actually the original position for your gum.

IMMEDIATE DENTURES – Immediate dentures usually require more visits for sore spot adjustment of the removed bone chips. Some of the worst painful areas are where the denture is applying the most pressure to help with bone remodeling.  

Some people find that the immediate denture becomes very loose very quickly. If this occurs, we can place temporary soft liners to help improve the fit of the denture while the mouth is healing and changing. 

Full lower immediate dentures are especially challenging to master. If you have these, you may need adhesive on the lower even after final relining is complete.

Another limitation of the immediate denture is that the lab may not have the room to ideally position the teeth because the gums and ridges have not yet shrunk. We estimate where the ridge shape will be by removing the teeth on the stone model, and quite often there is very little room for the denture teeth. 

In addition, we are unable to try the dentures in the mouth before they are finished since immediate dentures must be placed in the mouth at the time of extraction. We are also unable to change the appearance of the denture once it is made.

Although there are limitations to an immediate denture, the outcome is usually positive. The most important factor is your attitude toward mastering the denture or partial, and the realization that the process is gradual.  

Your mouth will be changing daily, but your denture does not, so please be patient during this healing stage. Your final fit will not occur until the majority of the changes in your mouth are complete, and the dentures are relined or new ones are made.