Getting new dentures is exciting and is bound to make your life better in multiple ways. As great as it is to be able to chew and smile, the initial few days can be pretty difficult to navigate (and even a little awkward) while your mouth gets used to them.
So what can you anticipate? You will probably start producing more saliva and may possibly develop painful spots in your mouth.
Knowing what to expect can help you feel more confident with your new dentures and make sure to practice proper denture care, as well as care for your oral health in general.
That's why we've written this beginner's guide to help you to understand what dentures are, what to expect after getting artificial teeth, and some tips to make the adjustment process easier.
Table of contents
What are dentures?
Dentures refer to the artificial replacement for missing natural teeth. They can either be partial, like flipper teeth, or full, depending on whether they replace all the teeth or just a few of them. You will also have the option of removable dentures vs. implant-supported dentures. We have an entire article about these differences, but for a summary check out the table below:
Best for dentures
Old technology—the last resort
More expensive than removable dentures
Old technology—the last resort
Preserves bone quantity and quality
Decreases bone quantity and quality
Works and feels like your own natural teeth
Doesn't feel and function like your own natural teeth
Strong an stable - no slippage
Can be unstable and unreliable
No need for denture creams or adhesives
Denture adhesives and creams often needed
Provides firm support of facial structures (lips and cheeks)
Support of facial structures decreases over time
Regardless of the type of denture you decide to use, whether flexible partial dentures, or implant dentures, experts in restorative dentistry will design your dentures specifically to fit your mouth, both in size and appearance.
Why wear dentures?
Losing your natural teeth has some harmful side effects. Not only can it cause aesthetic problems, but it also decreases the bone support needed to keep the structure of the mouth intact. Wearing dentures can help:
- Improve your speech
- Keep your cheeks from sagging inwards
- Improve your ability to chew and bite food
- Protect the remaining natural teeth from damage
If you can find the funding, it's best to go with the highest quality material, like chrome dentures which you can read about here.
New Dentures: What to Expect
As you start wearing your new false teeth, you may experience a few temporary side effects. These side effects are common and will pass.
Let's go over some of the things you may experience with new dentures.
Oftentimes, your dentist will schedule a follow-up visit around 48 hours after your initial dentures fitting. You may have already developed some sore spots in your mouth from contact with the dentures. This soreness occurs as the dentures begin settling onto the soft tissues of the mouth.
In rare instances there are other reasons for these sore spots, so let your dentist know in order for them to make an accurate evaluation.
It is absolutely normal to experience minor discomfort as you get used to your new set of dentures. How long this lasts will vary person to person. If your natural teeth were removed to make space for the new dental plate, the extraction site may also feel extra sensitive for a few days.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), many people develop temporary soreness after getting dentures. Visiting your dentist for readjustment can help alleviate this discomfort to some extent. You may also consider removing your dentures every four hours while your jaw and gums get used to them.
During the initial few weeks after getting dentures, your mouth will automatically start producing more saliva. However, this is only temporary and will go away.
Talking with new dentures
Don't be surprised if you are not able to speak properly after getting dentures. You might find that it's difficult to pronounce certain words, especially ones with “f” and “s” sounds. This is temporary, but it may take a little bit of practice and time to get back to normal speech.
Note that if your denture makes a clicking sound while you speak, it may be because the frame is not perfectly in place. Talk to your dentist because your dentures may require some fine-tuning for a better fit.
In the meanwhile, consider speaking slowly. It may feel like your new teeth are slipping away as you talk, cough, or laugh. This is common and is not something to be worried about—though it does feel a little disconcerting. All you need to do is bite down gently followed by swallowing to restore the denture to its proper position.
Can I eat with new dentures?
It's probably on the mind of every single person who has just gotten new teeth. The answer is yes, you can definitely eat with dentures in your mouth, but there are certain things to be aware of.
Adjusting to dentures includes making certain modifications in your eating habits. This is because dentures may make it difficult to bite and chew food. The first rule of thumb after getting new dentures is to be careful. Begin by eating soft foods that do not require too much chewing. Eating foods like red meat, nuts, or anything crunchy is going to put stress on your denture as well as the gums beneath it, increasing the risk of inflammation and irritation.
Is chewing with dentures difficult for you?
If you are finding eating difficult, here are some tips for chewing with new dentures:
- Eating with dentures for the first time is definitely hard. So start with a soft diet with denture-friendly foods like applesauce, cooked cereals, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs. These soft foods will help provide your body with the nutrients it needs without disturbing your oral health.
- Avoid hot foods that may burn your mouth. Having newly-fitted teeth can temporarily affect your ability to judge temperatures due to the insulating effect.
- Avoid holding any liquids in your mouth, as this can loosen the dentures.
- Avoid eating spicy foods because they can irritate the sores in your mouth that are caused by your dentures.
Once you get used to wearing dentures on a daily basis, you will be able to return to your normal diet for the most part. For some people, there are certain foods that still provide some challenges, mostly because of their hard, sticky texture. Some examples of food that you should consume with extreme care include:
- Crunchy fruits
- Raw vegetables
- Crusty bread
- Stringy meats
- Chewing gum
- Whole nuts
According to the American Dental Association, losing teeth doesn't mean that you should sacrifice your general health. So as you are struggling to get used to your new dentures, do not stop eating nutritious foods just because you find it a bit harder to eat. All you need to do is take it slow. Start with a soft diet and gradually move up to harder foods.
In the video below, Dr. Mike Glasmeier describes some of the difficulties you may encounter when trying to eat with your new dentures.
Follow your post-extraction plan
One of the most important steps you can take when getting used to your new tooth denture is to make sure you are following your treatment plan. Everyone heals differently, but most people will experience mouth soreness following an extraction.
The exact amount of time needed for you to be comfortable with your dentures also depends on the type of dentures you are using. Your gum line tends to shift over time, so dentures may need to be adjusted eventually. Take any medications prescribed by your dentist, and follow their post-extraction guidelines exactly, which will help reduce your discomfort. And it's very important that if you get same-day temporary dentures, make sure that you go back to your dentist to get your regular dentures when they're ready.
Lastly, don't skip any dental check-ups during the initial few months of getting dentures. Even if you're finally comfortable with dentures, don't forget to take care of your oral health and keep up with your regular check-ups.
Dentures can be a little hard to get used to in the beginning. But have patience and you'll feel comfortable with them soon.
Just remember to take good care of them and keep them in good shape. With just a little practice, you will talk, laugh, eat, and smile with all the confidence in the world.
How long does it take until you can eat solid food after getting dentures?
It takes almost three to four weeks before you can eat solid foods again. When you do, make sure to cut them into bite-size pieces to make the whole process a lot more comfortable.
How long does it take to get used to new dentures?
On average, it takes about 30 days to get used to dentures. Be patient during this time, as it can be difficult for you to speak and eat. Practice speaking, and start off with soft foods.
Why are my new dentures loose?
After losing teeth, your gums no longer need to hold your teeth in place so they begin to shrink. This process is called bone resorption and causes your dentures to become a little looser.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: What can adults do to maintain good oral health? Consulted 3rd March 2020.
American Dental Association: Dentures. Consulted 3rd March 2020.