Getting Prepared for Life with Dentures

When a visit to the dentist ends with the recommendation of partial or full dentures as your only hope for a fix, you may find yourself thrown into a world of worry and anxiety. Many questions run through the minds of people in this situation. Will you look good in dentures? Which denture clinic will work best? How will your life change with dentures? Will the procedure hurt--and many similar questions that can easily plunge you into unnecessary distress. The truth is, with qualified and experienced hands working on you at the denture clinic, you need not worry much about most of these questions. The following are some guidelines on what to expect, and how you can deal with them during a transition to partial or full dentures.

Immediate, temporary, and permanent dentures

The first decision you may have to make at the denture clinic is whether to get immediate dentures after tooth extraction, or stay without them while your gums heal before permanent dentures are fixed. Many people opt for immediate dentures primarily because nobody wants to walk around with gaping toothless jaws--it can be embarrassing and could potentially lower your self esteem. In many occasions, dentists recommend the extraction of back teeth first while the front teeth are left intact. Once the gums heal from the extractions, the dentists can then fashion more suitable dentures that will be permanent based on your healing pattern.

Immediate dentures can be left in place, with constant adjustments and dentist supervision, to become permanent dentures. However, you may find the dentist at the denture clinic recommends temporary dentures during the healing process. Once your gums are fully healed, the temporary dentures are removed and your permanent dentures that were made based on your healed gum are installed.   

Relines, alveoleoplasty, pressure sores

As your gums heal, several changes occur that may make your dentures less comfortable or even loose. Remember, when your gums heal they shrink and become compact. The dentist, therefore, has to "reline" the dentures using soft lining material. This will help the dentures fix more appropriately on the shrunken gums and jawbone.  

Sometimes, the bone that held the removed teeth remains sharp and irregular. This results in discomfort and pain when the dentures slide in and out of position at these points. Your denture clinic may, in this case, recommend a procedure called "Alveoloplasty". This is the smoothing of the bone to ensure dentures glide in place smoothly.  Pressure sores should not be an alarming incident. As dentures set, discomfort is expected from time to time. See your dentist regularly when they present for relief medication and advice.

Food, life, and care

Dentures may be uncomfortable in the first days and weeks of use for everyone. The discomfort, however, fades as you get used to the prosthesis. You may notice unusually high amounts of saliva in your mouth during the first days--this also reduces with time. You should start with eating soft foods and work your way slowly towards tougher foods with time. Of course, do not expect your dentures to handle very tough foods that you were once used to. But with time, you will notice that your dentures can handle a very wide array of foods fit for a comfortable lifestyle. Finally, remember to always clean your dentures daily. Opportunistic oral disease-causing microorganisms may use dentures as breeding ground and so regular thorough cleaning is a must.