Dealing With Dentures

So you have acquired a fine set of dentures to replace those troublesome teeth, and you figure your dental issues are finally over?

Well, not quite.


Life with dentures is better, especially if you’ve been embarrassed about your decayed, loose or missing teeth. But your nifty new removable teeth come with their own set of potential glitches. Thankfully, most of the issues that most commonly bother denture-wearers are preventable or easily fixable.

The Adjustment Period

When you first get your new dentures, whether they are partials or a full plate, you’ll need to get used to them. Your may have sore spots or irritation on your gums. You may be unable to pronounce certain letters without hissing or whistling. You may be nervous about removing your dentures to clean them. You may also notice that you are producing a lot of saliva, or have a very dry mouth.

If your dentures are more than slightly uncomfortable, or if the discomfort lasts for more than a few days or you develop red spots or sores, head back to your dentist. Your dentures may need to be readjusted for a perfect fit, or the dentist may be able to offer suggestions that can make your first week or two with dentures more comfortable.

If you are having problems pronouncing certain words, take 20 minutes once or twice a day and read out loud to yourself. You’ll almost certainly find that you’ll be speaking more clearly very quickly.

Changes in saliva flow is normal, and will often correct by itself in a few days. Your body may think your new dentures are food, and produce more saliva in response. There’s not much to be done about this, but your body will figure it out quickly.  For dry mouth, sip water often, perhaps suck on sugar free mints. You can also ask your dentist about products that help with dry mouth.

Watch for cracking or irritation at the sides of your lips. This can come as a response to an overabundance of saliva, or it could indicate an oral infection.

A few people find that they gag on their dentures. This is almost always a matter of improper fit. If not, then try to adjust to the dentures over time – perhaps by slowly increasing the amount of time that you wear them. If you do find that you simply can’t wear dentures comfortably, you may want to look into dental implants.

Life with Dentures

Keeping your dentures and your mouth clean and healthy will require a change in your dental hygiene routine. Standard toothpaste and toothbrushes are too abrasive for dentures. Use products that are made for denture care. If you have a partial, you’ll want to use your usual toothpaste and possibly toothbrush on your natural teeth. Or you may be able to use the same, soft brush for your dentures and natural teeth, depending on your preferences and your dentist’s advice.

Your dentist will probably advise you to remove your dentures at night, clean them and store them in water or a denture cleanser. You do want to keep them moist when they aren’t in your mouth or they may dry out, become brittle and very breakable.

Speaking of breakable, even properly cared for dentures are very fragile. Dropping them just a few inches onto a hard surface can easily chip or crack them. Take your time – especially in the beginning when you’re probably a bit nervous – whenremoving or cleaning them, and put a towel onto the counter or floor to protect your dentures if you do drop them. It’s also a good idea to fill the sink with water before you clean your dentures, if you drop them the water will cushion their fall. Figure out what works for you.

Long-term denture issues

Your dentures may need to be refitted after a few years, or you may even need to get a new pair made. This can happen due to bone loss caused by periodontal disease or conditions such as diabetes. Or your gum shape may have changed naturally over the years. Some people who have lost a lot of weight insist their dentures became too big, but medical studies indicate that this is unlikely.

Dry mouth can also cause dentures to not fit well, as saliva helps “seal” the denture to the mouth’s supporting structures.

Check in with your dentist as soon as possible if your dentures start to feel loose or as if they suddenly are the wrong size – too big or too small – for your mouth. You’ll be far more comfortable and confident when your dentures fit properly, plus you’ll avoid the gum irritation and abrasion that loose-fitting dentures can cause.

One last word of advice: do not try to adjust your own dentures, no matter how skilled you are at tinkering. You’ll almost certainly end up spending more money to get them fixed after you’ve messed them up than you would have spent to get them adjusted in the first place.

Buying and maintaining dentures

Medicaid and many dental insurance plans don’t cover dentures. If your insurance does offer coverage, it is unlikely to pay to replace teeth that were missing or fragile prior to your purchase of the insurance plan. You will also have to wait, often up to a year, for denture coverage.

Dental discount plans can help you save on dentures, and there are no restrictions on pre-existing conditions and no waiting periods for procedures once the plan is activated.

To find out more about how can help you afford quality dental care, call one of our AtYourService Customer Care Representatives at 1-800-238-5163.

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