Are you on the fence about getting dentures? It’s safe to say we’ve all heard the old jokes about gummy smiles and false teeth, but the truth is dentures aren’t as bad as you think.
Leading dentist Luke Cronin previously told Starts at 60 that unlike false teeth worn by your grandparents (that no doubt looked obviously fake), dentures these days have changed quite dramatically – so you don’t need to worry about your teeth falling out during a meal or mid-conversation!
“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.”
So, if you’re wondering whether dentures are a good option for you, here are the answers to some of the most common denture-related questions.
As you may already know, dentures are artificial teeth constructed to replace missing teeth that have been removed which help restore your smile. There are many different types of dentures including complete dentures and partial plates. Full dentures replace all your teeth and rest directly on the gums, while partial dentures replace some 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.
Like many things, not all products work the same and it can take people a while to find a denture adhesive (a paste or powder placed on dentures to help them stay in place) that works for their mouth and false teeth. 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.”
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 false teeth 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.
Just like teeth, false teeth 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 false teeth. Instead, they need to be washed daily using a soft brush and denture cleaning product that is available from most dental clinics, 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.