UNDERSTANDING YOUR DENTURES
Many people think that by wearing dentures, they are able to eat and chew food just as easily and efficiently as when they had natural teeth. This is not always the case. Unfortunately, achieving these ‘high expectations’ can be difficult, and depends on the oral conditions of each individual mouth.
When natural teeth are lost, for whatever reason, all that remains is a bony ridge. The dentures need to sit on these ridges. Whereas the fitting surface of the a denture does not alter in shape, the bony ridge does, it shrinks, known as resorption. This starts once teeth are lost, and continues throughout one’s life. This is probably the most common reason why people have problems wearing dentures.
We are often told how one’s denture used to be ‘tight’, and now are ‘too loose’. This is because the gums have resorbed, and there is less ridge for the dentures to attach to.
Most complaints are about the lower denture. The lower jaw is the only one that ‘works’. The upper jaw is part of the skull, and does not move. Lower dentures sit in a ‘mobile environment’. For this reason, the lower gums shrink more than the upper jaw (up to 4 times more). There is not a large area to create suction in the lower jaw, as there is in the upper jaw which uses the palate.
This often causes the lower denture to move around, and for food particles to be trapped underneath. With time and perseverance, the denture wearer will learn to adapt, and learn to control their face muscles to hold the denture in place.
MEDICATION AND MEDICAL CONDITIONS
Medication, prescription or non-prescription, can cause changes in the shape of the mouth, which may cause the dentures to become ill-fitting. The oral cavity can become ‘dry’, which will not allow the dentures to sit properly, and can cause loss of retention, and excessive soreness, or irritable gums
Medical conditions can cause weight gain or loss, and can cause changes to bone structure. This can also affect the shape of the mouth. As body weight changes, so does the shape of the gums, which may affect the function of your dentures
Denture adhesives are not only for loose dentures, as people believe. Dentures are made to fit comfortably, but from time to time, there is always some movement with full dentures. Adhesives can give you that extra bit of security, and can also stop any food particles being trapped under the dentures, causing irritability or discomfort.
YOUR NEW DENTURES
There is no substitute to natural healthy teeth. Dentistry has made many advances in trying to replicate natural teeth, but they cannot be expected to do everything natural teeth could do. As long as dentures are looked after properly and maintained, they will perform satisfactorily in allowing the wearer to eat and speak quite adequately.
New dentures are not always tight fitting the first time they are worn. They need time to settle into the mouth, and for the gums to adapt to the new shape of the dentures. New dentures need at least 2-4 weeks to settle properly. Until they have settled, soreness or irritations may occur. This is normal. The dentures need to be adjusted, therefore an appointment is necessary for them to be checked.
Eating and speaking may seem awkward initially with new dentures. This is normal, as the dentures are a new foreign object in your mouth, and need to adapt to the gums. Generally after a settling- in period, eating and speaking becomes more easier.