There’s a fine line between becoming one with your dentures or feeling like they’re a foreign object sliding around in your mouth. Like wearing any new prosthetic, getting used to dentures takes some time and the right know-how.
Eating, talking, singing, and laughing all make daily life worthwhile. Solving denture discomfort will allow you not only to tolerate dentures but to enjoy life with a new smile. Here are 9 tips and tricks we denturists have gathered to help you along the way.
Opt for Nylon-based Materials
The base of complete dentures is the point where many patients tend to feel some discomfort. Unlike all-on-4 implants or partial dentures on implants, complete dentures rely on a smooth suction grip between your gums and the denture. They aren’t screwed on tightly, so it comes down to how the base material takes to your gum line, and much of the comfort owes to the choice of material.
In a 2011 study, nylon-based materials like Velplast and Flexite got higher reported comfort ratings (among other benefits) over the conventional material, PMMA.
Get a Proper Fitting from a Denturist
Proper fitting for your dentures is make-or-break for a comfortable experience. There are some DIY methods for dentures, where you can create your own positive and negative moulds. But these methods leave a lot of room for error, and you wouldn’t have professional denturist standards and procedures to rely on.
Employ Proper Hygiene & Care
You can’t expect physical comfort from dentures unless you care for them as directed. But the good news is, with proper care they’ll serve you well for a long time, and they’ll feel comfortable with regular use.
When you maintain your dentures, use approved cleaners (discussed more below), and water that’s not too hot. You should brush them with a soft-bristle toothbrush daily, and let them soak overnight. Soaking them overnight not only maintains the dentures, but it gives your gums a rest, which improves your daywear comfort.
An adhesive sometimes comes in a clear or white gel, in powder form, or in pads applied the gums of complete dentures. If you experience discomfort due to slipping dentures, an adhesive should assist the suction grip.
Get Damage Repaired
Dropping them can be harmful, but not fixing them when they’re broken is worse. Complete dentures with PMMA base materials can be quite brittle. Not only can the base become damaged, but the teeth can chip or crack as well.
Teeth come in porcelain or acrylic resin mainly, and porcelain tends to be the more breakable type. Only a denturist can repair them to a standard with your oral and facial health in mind.
Malocclusion means improper bite, which can affect people wearing dentures, or anyone really. In dental patients without dentures, malocclusion means their own teeth are broken or worn out somehow, and it’s affecting the position their jaw takes when they bite down.
In the same way, broken dentures with broken teeth could easily affect your jaw’s position when you bite, so the issue can be similar. Malocclusion leads to problems with your jaw, and bite pressure changes could break more teeth, whether natural or those of a denture.
Try Singing While Wearing Your Dentures
A lot of the discomfort from dentures comes from being unused to wearing them! Sometimes, there can be a psychological factor where you feel you’ve got a foreign object in your mouth, hindering your speech and the overall feeling of your mouth.
One way to trick your brain into getting used to dentures is to wear them while singing! Speech therapists recommend singing for improving the kinaesthetics of your dentures. By singing, your mind will get used to the dentures, how they feel, and how your facial and jaw muscles move with them — in a fun and dynamic way.
Use Approved Cleaners
Using approved denture cleaners gives you the chance to grant some longevity to your dentures. Regular kinds of toothpaste have too much abrasive material in them — which they need to remove plaque from the enamel of natural teeth.
These abrasives will just wear out the materials in your dentures faster. Chlorine can suppress bacteria, but it can corrode the denture as well, so it’s best to avoid this type of cleaner.
A mild soap followed by a thorough rinse, or an approved denture cleaning solution is your best bet. That way, your dentures will last longer, and your gums won’t be nearly as irritated by the subtle presence of bacteria.
Adapt Your Chewing Habits
Learning to eat with your dentures is not without its challenges. It’s best to start with soft foods, slowly chewing them until you feel comfortable.
Also, chewing at the back of your mouth with complete dentures is a lot better than chewing food at the front. There’s better leverage at the back of your mouth, so it stands less chance of becoming dislodged. If your dentures get looser as you chew, there’s bound to be discomfort.
You’ll feel a lot more comfortable with dentures when your brain gets used to welcoming them as a part of your mouth. They won’t be setting off alarm bells instead of highlighting flavours picked up by your tastebuds.
Follow Your Post Extraction Plan
For many of the patients we’ve helped, they welcome their new dentures on the heels of one or more dental extractions. It’s not long after the point where they learn they need a new set of teeth, and to do so, the old ones have to go. Healing takes time.
Soreness at the site where a tooth used to be is normal, and that’s where the replacement goes. If you show up for aftercare consultation, take any medication as prescribed, and otherwise follow all directions — your dentures should start feeling like your natural teeth.
Relax & Smile
If all else fails, your denturist is here to help. Getting used to dentures is a process, but once they feel comfortable, your mouth will get back to feeling normal. If you have any concerns about the fitting process, schedule a consultation. We’ll be happy to take your questions about denture comfort.