Call Us Today!

(615) 259-5100

Blog

Adjusting to Life with Dentures: A Practical Transition Guide for Nashville Seniors

Adjusting to Life with Dentures: A Practical Transition Guide for Nashville Seniors

Adjusting to Life with Dentures: A Practical Transition Guide for Nashville Seniors
Dr. Jones
January 29, 2024

Life with dentures isn’t going to be the simple transition you might hope for. Nashville seniors don’t often realize that there is an adjustment period as you learn to talk with them or how it feels to chew with new teeth in place. You might even find your gums and jaws experience mild pain as they adjust.

Dentures can be full or partial. Partials have the plate and brackets that attach them to healthy teeth on each side of a gap. Full dentures are a set of false teeth that you affix over the gums. They look like teeth and make it easier to chew foods like meat and crunchier vegetables.

It’s normal to find the experience alarming, but patience and time help. It’s also important to know how to make the adjustment a little easier to handle. Dr. Jody Jones, Nashville’s denture expert, has a few tips that can help make the adjustment easier to handle

Follow Your Dentist’s Instructions if You Had Extractions

If you had teeth removed before the dentures, you need to take care of your healing gums. Follow your oral surgeon’s or dentist’s instructions regarding saltwater rinses, foods to avoid, and how long to leave gauze in place. 

You may have been fitted with immediate dentures over the gaps left after an extraction. Immediate dentures are often used as they help with bleeding and swelling, and they can protect the gums as they heal. If you had them placed, you need to leave them in your mouth for as long as your doctor recommended, which might be 24 to 48 hours. When it’s time for permanent dentures, you’ll return to have them fitted.

Find a Quiet Place to Practice Speaking

Your mouth’s muscles became accustomed to positioning your tongue and lips in certain positions when you talked. Dentures change this. There may be teeth where there used to be a gap. Even though dentures don’t weigh much, even that slight change in weight makes your muscles work harder. All of this impacts your speech, and it takes time to adjust.

You might feel embarrassed talking to others after getting new dentures. Stand in front of a mirror or use a video camera in a quiet place and practice speaking. Get used to talking with them, and playback the video to see how you sounded. You might find it’s not as bad as you think.

Some people find that singing is even better as there is pacing to keep up with. Try that and see which method works best for you.

Watch What You Eat

Some foods are not good options when you have dentures. As tempting as it is to have some of them, you need to avoid these foods.

  • Candy
  • Corn Nuts
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Roasted edamame (soybeans)

Chewing foods evenly on both sides of the jaw helps prevent dentures from popping up on one side. That’s why dentists tell denture wearers to avoid these foods. Hard foods like popcorn kernels, Corn Nuts, or roasted soybeans are also crunchy, which isn’t ideal for denture users. Candies aren’t a healthy option, and sticky candies like caramels, gummies, and toffee are especially problematic.

Coffee, black tea, and red wine increase the risk of staining on your dentures. Ask your dentist if it’s okay to keep drinking these beverages. You may need to clean your dentures more often to prevent noticeable stains.

Some dentists recommend their patients avoid steak and chewier meats like pork chops. If you’re willing to cut the meat into smaller pieces that are easier to chew, you can still enjoy these meats. Just make sure you take the time to cut the meat into bite-sized morsels first. Alternatively, a chopped steak can satisfy a craving while being very easy to eat. 

Keep Them Submerged When You’re Not Wearing Them

When you’re not wearing your dentures, keep them submerged in a mild cleaning solution or cold water. Most dentures rely on moisture to maintain their shape. Use cold water. Boiling them can cause them to warp. 

When dentures are in your mouth, the saliva keeps them wet and helps them maintain their shape. If you accidentally forget to soak them overnight, it won’t be that bad. If a week passes and you haven’t worn them, you might find that they don’t fit as well as they did. That can lead to rubbing and gum discomfort.

Try a Denture Adhesive

Denture adhesive keeps your dentures from slipping around while you talk or eat. You might find one product works better for you than others, so don’t rule out adhesive if you try one and it doesn’t work for you. Your dentist can recommend some of the best denture adhesives if you need help.

When it comes to denture adhesives, some creams come in a tube, powders that you sprinkle on your wet dentures, or steps that you typically place on your dry dentures. Creams often have the best strength, but strips can be helpful for poor-fitting dentures.

Don’t apply the adhesive to your dentures if you haven’t cleaned them first. If you have sensitive gums, look for products that don’t contain zinc or other ingredients that are known to be more irritating.

Take Proper Care of Them

Just as you would take care of your natural teeth, use the same routines to care for your dentures. Brush them with a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle cleaning product. Do not use an abrasive product. Soak them as directed. Make sure you’re taking care of your gums, too. Gauze or a soft washcloth helps remove food particles and residual denture adhesive. 

 

If you still have some teeth and wear a partial denture, brush and floss your natural teeth twice a day. Rinse with a fluoride mouthwash. Drink plenty of water to help rinse the gums, teeth, tongue, and dentures between meals.

Attend All Denture Appointments

Most importantly, see your Nashville dentist regularly. Most people should go twice a year for a cleaning and exam, but some patients need to go more often. If gum disease is present, you might find yourself going every three or four months. Make sure you keep those appointments.

After being fitted with dentures, you’ll have several appointments to ensure the fit is correct and you’re adjusting to life with dentures. Don’t miss these appointments as they help prevent discomfort that might drive you from using them regularly.

If you find your new dentures continually rub or tear off the skin from your gums, talk to your dentist in Nashville for advice. If your dentures are not fitting correctly, it needs to be resolved. Dentures shouldn’t be painful to wear.

At Jody Jones DDS, we strive to make every patient as comfortable as possible. If you need dentures or already have them and need a Nashville dentist who better understands your dental anxiety, give us a call or fill out the online form. We specialize in dental anxiety and work hard to ensure you have a great experience.