Like Karen, we already know that dentures can significantly improve the appearance of your mouth. Dentures can give you a beautiful smile, and can add shape to your mouth and cheeks. With your dentist you can decided what kind of smile you want—with dentures you have choices. Karen was excited about these possibilities, but she was also apprehensive. Having a great looking smile sounded perfect, but how would dentures affect the way that her mouth and teeth functioned? Would she still be able to eat and speak naturally?

The first thing I told Karen is that if you’ve lost many teeth and require dentures, the health of your mouth is already compromised. It becomes difficult to eat and speak with teeth missing, and these problems must be rectified. Dentures make your mouth healthier, not less healthy,

Ultimately you will be able to eat, drink, and speak easily with your dentures in. However, you will probably experience an adjustment period as you’re getting used to your dentures. Sometimes it can take a couple of months for you to feel fully comfortable with your new teeth. Here’s a brief breakdown of what you can expect.

Eating
Many people getting dentures are excited about eating their favorite foods again. Karen had lost so many teeth that she wasn’t able to eat one of her favorite foods, steak, because it required too much chewing. Despite this excitement, it’s important to be patient after you’ve received your new dentures, your mouth needs time to heal and adjust before you dive back into difficult foods.

Right after you get new dentures…

  • Be careful with hot or cold food and drink, it may be difficult for your mouth to accurately discern temperature in the beginning
  • Avoid foods that require you to tear with your teeth, corn on the cop for instance
  • Don’t eat caramel or use chewing gum

Here are some helpful tips to help you quickly adjust to your new dentures.

  • Begin by eating foods that are easy to chew. Some great options include eggs, soft cooked vegetables, ice cream, yogurt, soft cheeses, fish, and soup.
  • Use a fork and knife to cut your food into manageable pieces and eat it without using your front teeth to rip or tear food into pieces. Corn on the cob should be cut off of the cob and chewed with your back molars, for example.
  • Attempt to chew using both sides of your mouth equally. This will help to even out the pressure on your gums and new dentures.
  • When you are ready to eat foods that require you to bite with your front teeth, consider using some denture adhesive. This keeps your dentures comfortably in place and also keeps food particles from becoming trapped between your gums and dentures.

Follow these simple steps to help your mouth adjust to your new dentures. You’ll be eating your favorite foods in no time!

Speech

The other common concern that patients have about dentures is that dentures will impede their ability to speak clearly and easily. People have trouble imagining how they can be articulate with dentures taking up space in their mouths. The truth is that dentures make it easier to be articulate, as it is difficult to pronounce words with teeth missing. There will, however, be a period of adjustment, when you learn to speak clearly with your new dentures.

You can try some of these things to help you acclimate to your new dentures.

  • Talk often! Talk to yourself, talk to your pet! Some people find it useful to read aloud from books or magazines so that they can really focus on the shapes and sounds their mouths are making.
  • Recognize that often the most difficult letter sounds to make with new dentures are “f” and “s.” Try to practice these sounds regularly.
  • It’s possible that with new dentures your will salivate more than normal, until your mouth becomes accustomed to the dentures. Sometime this excess saliva makes it difficult to speak clearly. Some patients have reported that it’s helpful for them to suck on a mint or a hard candy to decrease the problem of excess saliva.
  • Here’s a little trick—before you begin speaking you should bite down to lock your denture in place.

All of these problems are quite normal problems for people with new dentures. In time you’ll become used to your new teeth and eating and speaking will be a breeze.

It took Karen about a month to get used to her new dentures. During that time she practiced speaking to her houseplants and was careful about what she ate. Because Karen was patient her mouth healed in no time, and now she’s enjoying her beautiful smile!

If you’d like to find out how dentures can help you, just schedule an appointment with my office by clicking here.

Next week we’ll talk all about how to properly care for dentures.

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