How to Prepare, Receive and Wear New Dentures: A Complete Guide for Newbies
You have finally decided to bite the bullet and opt for dentures—now what? The process is relatively straightforward, but it’s still important to be prepared as you don’t want to make any mistakes that could result in some early damage to your new dentures.
In this guide, we’ll look at the three steps of getting a new set of dentures:
- Choosing the right set and preparing for the appointment
- Getting them fitted
- Using them for the first month
If you follow these steps, those new dentures will do everything you want them to do and will remain clean and strong for years to come.
Step One: Preparing for Your Dentures
The first step is to choose the right dentures and make sure you are prepared for the process that lies ahead. Fortunately, getting fitted for dentures is not a complicated process. Just make sure you know…
Which Dentist will Fit Your Dentures?
The skill of the dentist is very important, as is the professionalism of the clinic and the quality of the dental lab. All of these things combine to create a service that will either make your life easier or leave you with a lot of stress and frustration.
Check the dentists in your local area, and if you’re insured, make sure you focus on ones that are in your insurer’s network. Look for customer reviews, ask for recommendations from friends, family members, and physicians, and take your time.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether a dentist is worth your time and money is to Google them. If there are any complaints or customer warnings, they will appear. If there is nothing but great reviews and acclaim, you’ll see that as well.
What Type of Denture is Right for You?
There are several types of denture and they all offer something a little different.
If you have a little extra cash in your pocket and want to pay for the best possible dentures, you should consider implant-supported dentures. The dentist will drill titanium screws into your jawbone and use these to secure the dentures in place.
They won’t move around and they are usually much stronger and more stable. They should last for up to 10 years and the screws themselves will last for at least 20 years, providing there are no issues with the bone. The problem with these implants is that you pay for every screw and then you have to cover the cost of the actual prosthesis.
The procedure is more invasive, as well, and you’ll need to spend more time on the dentist’s chair.
A budget set of dentures will save you a lot of money and should last for many years. However, they won’t look as impressive and may have some structural issues.
You can discuss your options with your dentist. A good dentist will offer you a plethora of different treatment options and won’t simply direct you toward a single solution.
How Long Will the Process Take?
Dentures are not fitted during your first appointment and there will be a transition period.
Usually, patients have a few remaining teeth in their mouth at the point that they need dentures. Those teeth may be blackened and decayed or they may have been weakened by bacteria and/or gum disease. In any case, they will need to be removed before a mold can be taken of your gums, and as that mold needs to be sent to a dental lab, you may need to spend several days or even weeks without any teeth.
Extracted teeth leave bleeding holes, and these need to heal. Some dentists deliver a faster service than others, though. It really all comes down to the dental lab that they use and their proximity to that lab. Some dental offices even have their own facilities onsite, in which case they will be much quicker.
Do You Need Immediate Dentures?
If you don’t like the idea of being without teeth for several days or weeks, you should enquire about immediate dentists. As the name suggests, the dentures will be fitted as soon as your teeth have been extracted. They slide over the gums and protect them while they heal. They will also ensure that you’re not completely toothless while you wait for your permanent dentures to be constructed.
The additional processes involved in making and fitting immediate dentures mean that you’ll need to pay a little more. You may also experience some discomfort as your healing gums become inflamed and press against the dentures.
How Much Will They Cost?
Price is one of the most important considerations for the majority of new denture wearers, and it’s easy to see why. Dentures can be expensive, with the best sets costing more than $5,000. Once you add tests and extractions to the mix, you could find yourself seriously out of pocket if you pay for the most expensive options.
There are cheaper alternatives, though. It’s worth looking at these options before you make your commitment, especially if you’re working on a strict budget. There is a big difference between the cheapest and the most expensive, but there is also an element of depreciating returns here, and a $2,000 set isn’t necessarily twice as good as a $1,000 set.
Does the Dentist Offer Free Adjustments?
Dentures constantly need adjustments and these requirements remain for many years. Your mouth and your dentures can change shape ever-so-slightly, and as they are designed to fit perfectly, even the slightest change can lead to loose and wobbly dentures. You’re not going to find a dentist that will offer you free realignments throughout the life of the prosthesis, but some of them will promise free adjustments for between 1 and 12 months, depending on the price that you pay.
It’s generally not long enough to account for the gradual changes that occur as a result of bone loss and gum recession, but it’s enough to cover you for the changes that occur due to healing gums.
If you’re a smoker who quits just before or after getting fitted for dentures, these free alignments will save you a lot of money. Your gums harden when faced with all that smoke and they may also recede slightly. When you stop smoking, the gums soften and expand, at which point you will need to take your dentist up on their offer!
Step Two: Getting Your Dentures
You’ve found your dentist, chosen your dentures, and now you’re ready to get them fitted. There isn’t a lot of preparation involved during this stage, but there are still a few important steps to consider.
Prepare for Extractions
As noted above, your remaining teeth need to be extracted before you can be fitted for dentures. It’s a different story if you’re purchasing partial dentures, of course, but if your remaining teeth are decayed, rotted, or loose, your dentist will probably recommend extractions and a full set of dentures.
The good news is that extractions are usually straightforward at this point. If you have lost multiple teeth to decay or gum disease, it’s unlikely that your dentist is going to need a lot of leverage to pluck those remaining teeth. The bad news is that you’ll need to pay for the extractions and it could get very costly very quickly.
Tell The Dentist About your Anxieties
Dentists are perfectly equipped to deal with odontophobia, also known as dentophobia or simply “dental phobia”. If you have any anxieties about the dentist, and they often prevent you from getting the treatments that you need or turn you into a nervous wreck in the waiting room, it’s important to let them know.
There are many ways they can help you, and not all of them revolve around addictive medications that leave you groggy and fatigued. For instance, they could arrange a visit at a quieter time, allowing you to get comfortable in the waiting room and enter the dentist’s office at a more relaxed pace.
Ask Any Questions on Your Mind
It doesn’t matter how stupid you think that your questions are—ask them. You can’t know if you don’t ask, and your dentist should always be ready to answer anything that’s on your mind.
We have included some top tips below to help you clean and maintain your dentures and these apply to most types of denture. However, there may be something that makes your situation different, so ask away!
Check and Recheck
During every step of the process, from the coloring to the fit, you need to check and double-check to make sure that the dentures look exactly as you want them to look. If there is an issue, regardless of how small or insignificant it seems, tell them and wait for them to fix it. You’re paying a lot of money for the service and those dentures will be in your mouth or on your nightstand for the next 5 to 7 years, so don’t accept anything that you are not happy with.
Step Three: Wearing Your Dentures
Your dentures have been fitted and you’re ready to go! This is when things get both interesting and tricky, and those first few days and even weeks can seem a little overwhelming if you are a first-time denture-wearer. With that in mind, we have provided a day-by-day process to help you through and ensure you’re an experienced denture-wearer by the end.
Before you put those dentures into your mouth, it’s important to know a few things and to have a few essential tools:
- Be Careful What You Eat: Avoid anything that is hard and small, including nuts and seeds. They can chip your teeth and damage the mechanisms. If you eat meat, make sure it’s tender and soft. And if you can’t avoid eating tough meat, cut it into small chunks and eat with both sides of your mouth. Dentures weren’t made for ripping and tearing and they’re definitely not designed to crunch through small seeds and kernels—even real teeth have a hard time doing that!
- By a Cleaning Kit: Pick up an XODENT Denture Cleaning Kit. It’s affordable and contains everything that you need to keep your dentures clean, along with instructions that you should follow. In fact, we include two sets in every kit. You can give one to your partner or use it as a travel kit, ensuring you’re not caught short when you’re away from home.
- Don’t Dry Them Out: if you ever find yourself away from home without your denture-cleaning kit, it’s important not to leave them on to dry out the nightstand. A few weeks like that and they will dry and warp. Instead, place them in a glass of warm water and keep them moist.
- Don’t Use a Hard-Bristle Brush: Throw away your hard-bristled toothbrush or turn it into a bathroom cleaning implement, as it’s too tough for your dentures! We include soft-bristled brushes in our kits and these are tailormade for dentures. They will brush the stains and food particles away without harming the dentures.
- Don’t Neglect Your Gums: Just because you have removed all of your real teeth doesn’t mean that you can neglect your dental hygiene. You still need to rinse your mouth and should also lightly brush your gums to stimulate blood flow and keep them healthy.
- Stop Smoking! You’ve probably heard those words before, but if you smoke, you could be doing some serious damage to your dentures. Smoking will stain and discolor your dentures while also damaging your gums.
The first day is the most important.
Generally, dentures need to be removed every night and soaked in a denture cleaning solution. However, for that first night, you should keep them in as it will help you to get used to them. Your dentist will tell you if this is not recommended, which is the case if you have bruxism.
You should stick with soft foods during that first day. You don’t need to limit yourself to a liquid diet, but try to stick with soups, stews, mashed potatoes, ice cream, cakes, and anything that is soft, tender, and moist. Chew with both sides of your mouth to create a balance and ensure that you’re not placing too much pressure on one side.
Finally, you should use that first day to talk as much as you can, whether that means chatting with your partner and/or friends all day or gossiping with your cat. You can also read aloud or talk to yourself in the mirror. It might feel a little odd, but it will help—trust us.
Dentures can feel very alien during that first day. You may have a slight lisp as you try to get comfortable with your dentures and talking is the only way to get used to them and lose that lisp.
Day 2 and Onward
During this period, your mouth will gradually acclimatize to your dentures. You should continue talking as much as you can, but you shouldn’t be wearing them to sleep anymore and need to remove them every evening.
Rinsing your mouth and your dentures after eating a big meal will help as well.
You may notice that you have more saliva than usual and have a few sore spots. These are caused by the dentures rubbing your gum tissue and while it can be very uncomfortable, it will go away in time.
Try to avoid using mouthwash to numb your mouth, as it will also dry it out and you need that saliva to keep your mouth healthy and your dentures in place.
Instead, simply add a quarter of a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water and rinse. It will hydrate your mouth, clean the wounds, and calm the irritation.
Day 14 and Onward
At this point, you should be much more comfortable and familiar with your dentures. If you notice that they start to feel a little looser when you eat, talk, or exercise, you can use a little dental adhesive. If that doesn’t work, or you need to use a lot of it, contact your dentist immediately and ask them about a realignment.
As noted already, some dentists will provide this completely free of charge.
You can start to eat more problematic foods, including tougher meats and fish. However, it’s important not to overdo it and don’t eat anything that requires you to tear at the food.
If you still have sore spots or lesions in your mouth, keep using the salt water and make sure you tell your dentist about them during the realignment.
Day 28 and Onward
Once you reach this stage, you should be comfortable with the dentures and be ready for long-term use. It’s normal for them to feel a little loose at times and you may still experience some sore spots, as well. Just keep following the steps above and if you notice anything unusual or feel extremely uncomfortable at any time, simply speak with your dentist and let them know what the issue is.