Getting Dentures For the First Time


The first step in obtaining your first set of dentures is having your teeth extracted.  Just which teeth are to be extracted, and how many, will depend on whether you are getting “partial dentures” or “full dentures”.  With “full” dentures, of course, all of the remaining teeth will have to come out.  To be sure, tooth extractions are traumatic, and a period of time is required for your gums to heal, and also to shrink to their permanent shape.  Just how long this will take will vary according to the number of teeth extracted, as well as the degree of physical trauma experienced.  This can sometimes take several weeks.  The steps for this process are as follows:

Taking an Impression of Your Mouth: After your gums have healed following the extraction (usually four to six weeks), the dentist will take a preliminary impression of your mouth as a guide for making the new dentures.

Selecting your New Teeth: The dentist will then help you decide which tooth shapes and which colors (shades of white) you want for your new dentures.  The objective is to make the new dentures look as real and natural as possible.

Initial Fitting:  After the dentures are made (this usually takes around 30 days), you will be scheduled for an appointment for the initial fitting.  The dentures will be placed in your mouth and the dentist will make the necessary adjustments to insure a good, comfortable fit.  After the initial fitting, you will probably need additional appointments for fine adjustments so that sore areas can be eliminated.

During this process, the patient can expect to be without teeth for as much as three months.

Immediate Dentures? Yes or No?:  The very best results in obtaining a new set of dentures is to wait after the teeth have been extracted until the gums have healed completely and shrunk to their final, permanent shape.  But, for a variety of reasons, i.e., professional, social, or just plain vanity, many of us are either unable or unwilling to be without teeth for such a period of time.  For such patients, “immediate dentures” are available.

For “immediate dentures,” the dentist will make a wax impression of the teeth before they are extracted. The permanent dentures are made using this wax impression as a guide.  This process usually takes a couple of weeks. The patient then returns for a second appointment to have the teeth extracted, after which the “immediate denture” is placed in the mouth.  The patient wears the dentures while the healing and shrinking process takes place, and is, therefore, never without teeth.  But as this healing and shrinking process occurs, the dentures will require a number of compensatory adjustments to insure a good fit.

Dentures Will Feel Unnatural at First. Dentures are, after all, a foreign object in the mouth, and will take a bit of getting used to. First time denture wearers often experience unnatural feelings such as, a full mouth feeling, soreness and irritation, increased saliva, and gag reflexes.  But before very long you will begin to get used to them, until eventually they will feel natural and you won’t even be aware that they are in your mouth.

Eating and Talking with Dentures:  Eating and talking with dentures can be a significant learning experience for new denture wearers.  Here are some tips for adjusting to life as a denture wearer:

Tips for Eating:

1) Choose foods that are easier to chew and swallow, like eggs, fish, cheese, chopped meat, cooked vegetables and ice cream, and leave those beef jerky strips alone.

2) Take small bites, chew slowly, and try not to bite down hard with your front teeth.  Try to balance food evenly in your mouth when you chew, so your dentures remain securely in place.

3) Hot foods will take some getting used to, as your mouth will not be able to sense heat as it did before.

4) Avoid chewy or hard foods, like caramel and chewing gum.

Tips for Speaking:

1) Practice speaking aloud while wearing your new dentures.

2) Read aloud from a book or magazine in front of a mirror.

3) Try biting down and swallowing just before you begin to speak.  This helps set your dentures or partials in place.

Taking Care of  Your Dentures:  Keeping your dentures clean and in good shape is really, really important.  You should both soak and brush your dentures daily.  You can purchase cleansers at your drug store, then use as directed.  You should also be careful about the toothpaste you use.  Dentures are not as hard as your natural teeth.  Abrasive tooth paste can scratch them.

Beware of Low Cost Denture Mills

Denture stores, offering quick, low cost dentures at a fraction of the price a dental office would charge may seem tempting.  But the best advice we can offer is, “patient beware!”  At Arlington Dental Center we have had numerous patients complain about the the dentures they purchased from a “denture mill.” Typical complaints are that they don’t fit properly, causing sore spots in the mouth, they look fake and unnatural. One person said she has to take her economy dentures out in order to eat.  Remember… get what you pay for. Once you purchase your first set of dentures, you are stuck with them for years and will wear them day in and day out.  It is absolutely essential that you are satisfied with the way they look and the way they feel in your mouth.  Much better to pay a little more and get a first rate job, with dentures you will be happy with for years to come.  Thinking about dentures?  Call Arlington Dental Center.  We guarantee you will like your smile.

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