Whether you've been wearing dentures for years or whether you're just beginning, we'll help you make them work for you, so you feel comfortable and confident.
You might worry that your dentures will change your appearance, or that others will notice that you're wearing dentures. However, we'll custom-make your dentures to fit you, so that they look completely natural. Of course, as with any new situation, wearing new dentures may make you feel a little self-conscious, and close friends and family might notice a small change - though they probably won't be able to tell the reason for it. In general, changes that you notice and feel won't show to others around you.
Dentures can feel a little strange at first. Talking, eating and smiling may require different muscle movements that need to be learned, and you may find that you produce more saliva than normal. But after a short while, using your dentures will feel natural. You may find it useful to practise movements in front of a mirror, and to pay attention to the sounds you make as you talk, so you adjust your speech successfully to your new dentures.
It's also helpful not to use your old dentures if you're trying to get used to new ones, as this makes the process of adjustment much slower and more difficult.
At first, food may not taste the same, as the dentures may temporarily affect your taste buds. However, as most taste buds are on the tongue, eventually everything will taste as it should. In the meantime it's often a good idea to take care with hot food and drinks, as your ability to sense heat may be affected.
Eating and drinking
It may take a while to get used to eating and drinking with dentures but with practice they shouldn't restrict your choice of food. It'll help to cut food into smaller pieces than usual to start with, to chew slowly, and to divide the food in your mouth into two and then chew each half at the back of each side of your mouth to avoid tipping the denture. Using a small amount of denture fixative will increase your confidence and help you adapt more quickly.
If you feel any pain, tell us as soon as possible rather than waiting for your next planned visit. Wear your dentures to the visit so that we can see where the sore places are and so resolve them more easily.
Cleaning your dentures
You need to treat your dentures as you would your natural teeth. Keep them as clean as possible to prevent any further tooth loss, inflamed gums, bacterial and fungal infections, and bad breath.
Dentures need both brushing and soaking. Brush them twice a day and after eating, using either a denture brush, nail brush or medium texture toothbrush, with soap or a mild detergent - not toothpaste which will damage the surface of the dentures. Always clean your dentures over a bowl of water or a folded towel in case you drop them.
Also, regularly soak your dentures to remove bacteria and stubborn stains. You should use a commercial cleaner; soaking for 10-20 minutes will kill 99% of bacteria. For plastic dentures only you could use very weak bleach or Milton, slightly warmed. For metal dentures, you can use vinegar. Don't use mouthwash - it's not designed for soaking dentures and has no effect. Sonic denture cleaners are units that produce a sonic wave to agitate the cleaning solution and makes it work more effectively.
If the plaque that you produce in your mouth isn't removed properly, it can react with your saliva and harden into tartar; some people build up tartar on their dentures just as they would on their natural teeth. As with your own teeth, you won't be able to remove this tartar completely yourself and eventually it can make the denture uncomfortable and unsightly. We can remove tartar for you.
Even if you have no natural teeth it's still important to visit us regularly. We can check the gums and lining of your mouth to make sure they are still healthy. We can adjust your dentures so as to avoid your losing bone where the dentures are worn or have a bad bite, or so as to take into account any changes to your muscle control and the appearance of your face. We can also check any deterioration in your dentures, which can lead to an accumulation of bacteria - this will not only make your mouth sore and uncomfortable but will also lead to infection.
You should come for a checkup at least every two years, and expect to have your dentures modified or replaced about every five years.