Thursday, April 22, 2010

Adjusting to Dentures

Summarized From:
Patient Instructions For Immediate Dentures
Randy F. Huffines, D.D.S. Ó 2008

More than likely, you will have a harder time than you expected adjusting to dentures.
Your mouth detects even the smallest foreign object, so something as large as a denture is bound to be noticeable. It takes a while for you to feel like it belongs in your mouth, and it takes longer for you to adjust to the lower denture than it does for you to adjust to the upper denture. In most cases, a lower denture will cause more problems than an upper denture. The lower denture often feels lose, so you many need to get a denture adhesive to hold it in place. Ask your dentist which one is best for you.

You may also feel like gagging because the upper denture creates a feeling of fullness in the mouth. This will decrease as the mouth gets used to it.

Sore spots can occur even in a denture with a “perfect fit.”
This is due to the fact that the tissue the denture rests upon varies from place to place. Some areas are very thick and tough; others are thin and easily injured. You should contact your dentist as soon as a sore develops so an adjustment can be made; trying to “tough it out” can lead to a larger sore that is harder to treat. You can buy ointments to numb the area until you can get to the dentist, but these can mask the problem area and lead to larger sores if used too long. Never attempt to adjust the denture yourself.

Dry mouth
If you suffer from dry mouth, adjusting to dentures is going to be more difficult because you have less saliva to help hold your dentures in place. Ask your dentist about products that are made for this condition that you can use to make your denture more comfortable.

Eating during the first week
It is very important to maintain good nutrition while you are adjusting to dentures. It is necessary to drink plenty of fluids. During the first 24-36 hours you must eat food that does not require chewing. We recommend the following food groups:

Bread/cereal group: thin oatmeal or Cream of Wheat
Vegetable group: juices, thin soups
Fruit group: juices, blended drinks and shakes
Milk group: Milk, cheese soup, yogurt, Carnation Instant Breakfast, Ensure, Sustacal (these last two products are nutritionally complete, lactose free drinks)
Meat group: Pasteurized eggnogs, meat broths or soups, pureed meats

After the first or second day you can slowly increase the consistency of the food. In addition to the foods above, consider soft foods like small pastas, well-cooked carrots and green beans, mashed potatoes, creamed vegetables, soups, well-cooked fruits (no seeds), canned fruits, scrambled or soft-boiled eggs, and chopped meats.

It is best to cut your food into small pieces and eat it slowly. Eating with dentures is very different from eating with natural teeth. It helps to put food on both sides of your back teeth and chew straight up and down. It is better to bite food off at the corners of the mouth rather than the very front because is common with natural teeth. Nevertheless, it is hard to predict exactly what biting and chewing movements will work best for you because they vary widely from person to person. Experiment and find what is right for you, and be kind and patient to yourself.

You may have problems speaking while you are first adjusting to dentures.
To overcome this, read out loud in private to retrain your mouth. Over time your speech will return to normal.

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