Dentures typically induce a range of strong emotions. You are probably thrilled to have beautiful teeth, especially if you battled with your teeth for years. However, you now have a mouthful of plastic that feels huge and uncontrollable. Fortunately, most people adapt to dentures surprisingly quickly. Here are a few tips for managing the first days and weeks.
1. Have Patience
Especially if you had teeth extracted and immediate dentures placed, it is normal to feel sore and uncomfortable for a few days. You probably have an appointment scheduled for relining and adjustment after your mouth heals, but every day can feel like a new challenge in the meantime.
Be patient with yourself. It’s fine to cancel a social event if you feel self-conscious, or to survive on pudding and yogurt for several days. Give yourself permission to heal rather than forcing yourself to do too much too soon.
At the same time, it is important to set goals. Each day, try to do a bit more than you did the previous day, such as trying a slightly more challenging food. People who are proactive tend to adapt more quickly than those who give in to fear or frustration.
2. Speak and Sing
At first, talking with your dentures in might make you feel like you have a mouthful of marbles. Overcome this with practice. Read aloud from your favorite book. Do vocal warm ups for actors. Bring up your favorite playlist and belt out songs that require careful word formation.
3. Pay Attention to Your Cheek and Tongue Muscles
Eating with dentures can feel bizarre. You must chew with pieces of acrylic, and then guide your food past a large plastic palate in order to swallow, and you will have none of the sensory cues you expect from the roof of your mouth. Your muscles can easily adapt, but it will take some practice. Divide the food evenly between both sides of your mouth and chew carefully, paying attention to how the food feels in your mouth. Before you know it, chewing and swallowing will again feel normal.
4. Try an Adhesive
Properly-fitted dentures should not require any adhesive, but in the early days, adhesives can help you feel more comfortable. Your dentures will be stable, so you can learn to adapt without worrying about them slipping. If you had extractions, be sure to avoid getting adhesive into the open extraction sites.
5. See the Dentist
Your dentist wants you to succeed, and it is common to need minor adjustments for fit and comfort, especially after the first few days of healing. If you have pain, your dentures don’t seem to be seating properly, or you feel like you can’t adapt, make an appointment. It is far better to head off potential problems early than to try to adapt to dentures that are not quite correct yet. In many cases, a tiny adjustment can make a tremendous difference.