Expert answers: How to best adjust to life with dentures

More than 37.5 million people worldwide will be wearing full dentures by 2020. Source: Getty

There is a lot of stigma surrounding dentures and false teeth and many people who require them put off visiting a dentist because they are scared or don’t know what to expect.

For many, they have an outdated view that dentures will be ill-fitting, look fake and feel uncomfortable. The truth is more than 37.5 million people worldwide will be wearing full dentures by 2020 and it isn’t something people need to feel embarrassed, ashamed or scared about.

Speaking to Starts at 60, dentist and Philips Sonicare Ambassador Luke Cronin explained that unlike dentures worn by people in the past, dentures these days are more aesthetically pleasing and comfortable.

“There have been significant improvements in the materials used to make dentures and the cement or adhesive to hold dentures in place,” he said. “This means improved comfort but you need to have realistic expectations when you start wearing dentures.”

Will dentures feel the same as teeth?

In simple terms, the mouth is going to feel different when dentures are worn and it can take a bit of getting used to. For some, it will temporarily impact speech, while others can find it takes a while to adjust to the new feeling.

“Give yourself time to get used to the feel of dentures,” Cronin said. “Your tongue and cheeks will need to adjust.”

The good news is speech typically improves quickly and practicing will ensure people are back to speaking normal in no time.

Do all adhesives work the same?

Like many things, not all products work the same and it can take people a while to find an adhesive that works for their mouth and dentures. Talking to a dentist or health professional is key and it may take some time before people find the right fit for them.

“Experiment with adhesives,” Cronin recommended. “If you are having ongoing issues with the fit of your dentures, see your dentist.”

Read more: Dentures demystified: Everything you need to know about false teeth

Do dentures hurt?

At first, it can take a while for the mouth to get used to new dentures and it’s important for people not to overwork their mouth or put up with pain and discomfort. As such, resting the mouth between six and eight hours daily at first is important. Thankfully, you can do this while you sleep.

“This will allow the tissue to heal if there is any soreness or irritation,” Cronin said.

Equally, if pain and irritation continues long term, it is important to speak to a dentist. It could be that the dentures need to be adjusted. Dentures should be checked with a dentist once a year to ensure they are still the right fit and not causing any further oral health problems.

Do I still need to clean dentures?

Just like teeth, dentures do need to be cleaned because they are constantly coming into contact with food, beverages and other bacteria that can cause bad breath and oral hygiene problems.

Standard toothpastes should be avoided because it can cause damage to the dentures. Instead, they need to be washed daily using a soft brush and denture cleaning product that is available from most dentists, pharmacists and supermarkets.

“Generally try to avoid sticky foods and take extra care with hard foods such as nuts that can break dentures,” Cronin added.

Do you wear dentures? How long did it take you to get used to them?

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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