- Oral Health»
How to Live with and Care for Your Dentures
Dentures can be a real pain. However, there are actually things you can do to feel comfortable with dentures inside your mouth.
When you age, there is a time when your natural teeth may weaken and then fall off. Of course, aging is not the only reason. Your teeth may also fall off because of the damage you cause for them. For example, you usually brush your teeth hard. Unfortunately, brushing your teeth too hard can potentially damage your teeth. By brushing your teeth too hard, you erode your tooth enamel.
However, regardless of what actually causes your teeth to fall off, you can use dentures to replace those fallen teeth, thanks to the advancements in science and technology as you can see today. Yet, wearing dentures isn’t a pleasant thing to do at all. In fact, it can be quite painful, especially if it’s the first time you’re using dentures. On the other hand, if you don’t want to wear dentures inside your mouth, you may find it almost impossible to chew your food properly, for example. Or, you may not even be able to speak clearly. So, what do you do? Do you just get mad or do you actually try to find out ways to cope with your dentures? Well, if the latter is more likely to be your choice, here are some things you can do to care for and live with your dentures.
1. Let Your Gums Take a Break
If this is the first time you’re wearing dentures, or if you’re using a new set of dentures, the gums in your mouth will usually feel irritated, giving you a sore feeling. This is especially true if you just let the dentures to be inside your mouth for quite a long time. When your gums have given you a sore feeling, it’s best for you not to wear your dentures until the gums in your mouth get healed. This can usually last a few days.
To avoid irritation to your gums, you had better remove your dentures when you’re at home or while you’re sleeping, for examples. In fact, you need to give at least six hours for your gums to take a break from the dentures.
2. Watch Out for Allergic Reactions
It’s important for you to know that some people experience allergic reactions when they use dentures. This may happen due to the adhesives or cleansers used on the dentures. Even worse, some people are allergic to the materials the dentures are made of.
In the past, some people had proven themselves allergic to a certain type of plastic used to build their dentures. In this case, the dentist would usually rebuild the dentures using other plastic materials or an entirely different material at all.
These allergic reactions can vary widely. Some people may experience irritated gums while some others may experience mouth ulcers. Whatever your allergic reactions are, if any, you should consult the dentist right away. The dentist may then need to change the adhesives, cleansers, or even the material itself used on the dentures.
3. Clean the Dentures Properly
You need to clean your dentures every day before going to bed. To do this, you need to use a toothbrush and toothpaste that are designed specifically for dentures. A regular toothbrush may be too hard while regular toothpaste has the potential to cause a serious damage that the dentures may no longer fit properly in your mouth, leaving you with sore gums, again.
After you have cleaned your dentures, the next thing you should do is to place the dentures in a glass of clean water or, better yet, denture cleaning liquid. Whenever possible, cover the glass containing the dentures. You should wash the glass daily as well and refill it with clean water or liquid. You can also brush the dentures the next morning, but that may not really be necessary as you’ve already been cleaning it for the entire night by placing it in the water or denture cleaning liquid.
4. Eat Comfortably
Now, this may sound ironic enough. How are you supposed to eat comfortably when you’re already feeling uncomfortable with dentures inside your mouth?
Well, when you use dentures for the first time, or a new set of dentures, your mouth will need some time to adjust to them. In the meantime, you also have to practice eating and drinking as you normally would. It is recommended, though, that you stay away from sticky food, such as meat or raw vegetable, for some time in the beginning. You can eat food like yogurt scrambled eggs or soup instead, they aren’t that sticky.
Also, to make it easier to chew your food especially when you’re not used to wearing dentures yet, you can try eating your food in small pieces. You can try to stabilize your dentures as well by chewing your food using either side – that you feel comfortable with – of your mouth.
5. Practice Speaking
For the initial period of wearing dentures, you may sound mumbling when you speak. Fortunately, this isn’t really that hard to overcome. All you need to do is to practice speaking a lot. You can do this by reading out loud or quietly and slowly. Practice this a lot and you’ll have become fluent in speaking once again before you know it.
6. Cope with Saliva Excess
When you wear dentures, your mouth may produce saliva in quite an excessive amount. This is what your mouth will actually do in order to digest food that gets into it. Unfortunately, the mouth has no ability to differentiate dentures from food. However, after some time, things will go back to normal and there’ll be no more saliva excess. Yet, before that happens, you can try sucking some lozenges or sugarless candies.
7. Reduce the Pain
To reduce the pain you’re having with your dentures, you can use half a cup of warm water with half a teaspoon of baking soda and half a tablespoon of dried goldenseal added into it. Rinse your mouth with this about three times daily. Yet, prior to rinsing your mouth with it, remember to cool and strain.
8. Try Consuming Herbal
It turns out that aloe vera gel has a lot of benefits, one of which is to heal sore gums. You only have to apply the appropriate amount where you’re feeling painful with your dentures. However, there’s a consequence in using the help of the aloe vera gel. After you have applied the gel, you had better wait for an hour before you even think about having anything to eat.
9. Reline the Dentures
What you should keep in mind as well when you choose to wear dentures is that your bone will shrink more and more in the future. This is because your bone was actually supposed to support your natural teeth. But, with your natural teeth gone, there’s nothing for the bone to support. Therefore, after some time, those who wear dentures will have their jaws become smaller. As a result, the dentures may not fit as well as it did before. This is when you need to reline your dentures.
Denture relining is a process in which a new part is placed upon the denture part which is supposed to fit into your gums. Fortunately, you won’t usually have to wait long for the relining process to complete. Thirty to sixty minutes are often enough.
However, before you get your dentures relined, you’ll have to choose whether you want a soft or a hard reline. With a soft reline, you get a biodegradable flexible material. You can test out the flexibility by pressing the material using any one of your fingernails. You can use a soft reline repeatedly but temporarily. It is best used when you need your gums to heal after experiencing some irritations or injuries.
A hard reline, on the other hand, doesn’t reflect the same level of flexibility. Unlike the soft reline, a hard reline is capable of lasting up to a few months. However, you won’t be able to apply a hard denture reline until your gums are back to its normal condition again, if they were injured indeed.
10. Rebase the Dentures
After relining, comes rebasing. If you choose to rebase the dentures you’re wearing, its entire base, except the teeth, will be replaced with a new one. Unfortunately, this often turns out to be quite a sophisticated process and it takes time to complete. There is no certainty how long the process may take to complete, though. In other words, you’ll have to be willing to spend your days and go to places without your dentures.
Keep in mind that even after you have done seemingly everything to take care of your dentures, it’s never impossible for problems to arise again. Fortunately, you can indeed prevent the problems from arising. To do that, you need to:
- Clearly follow what your dentist tells you to do. Jot down his/her instructions if necessary.
- Don’t only clean your dentures but also your mouth consistently every day.
- Consume healthy diets.
- Regardless of whether you’re having some problems with your dentures or not, you need to consult your dentures at least once in every six months.
Your natural teeth will eventually fall off, because of aging or other reasons. In such case, dentures can be a real help. However, dentures can also be a real pain if you don’t really take care of them and learn to live with them. Yet, with proper treatments, dentures can be your new best friend.
Here’re some pros and cons of dentures, compared to natural teeth, you may want to know:
Make you look prettier, especially when you smile
May prove troublesome to fit into your mouth
Relatively easy to take care of
You may sound mumbling while talking with dentures inside your mouth
Require only a one-time cost to last for the years to come
May prove rather difficult to chew food while eating
Often feel painful
Need special toothbrush and toothpaste
You don’t need to worry about fitting them into your mouth, they’re naturally fitted
May prove harder to take care of, compared to dentures
Easy to talk without mumbling sound
May require continuous costs to stay healthy for years
You can chew food as you wish
Once your permanent natural teeth fall off, there’ll be no replacement but dentures if you want to maintain your good/pretty look, with a full set of teeth
No pain to fear as long as you take good care of them
No need for any special toothbrush or toothpaste