Your smile is more than an aesthetic benefit. Teeth play an important role in nutrition and health. From speech to food digestion, teeth have a big job to do. Teeth are meant to last a lifetime, but dental problems can set in for various reasons. In fact, 178 million people in the United States are missing at least one tooth, and an astounding 40 million are missing all of their teeth.
The problem worsens as you get older. Did you know that a whopping 30% of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have lost all their natural teeth?
Fortunately, modern dentures do an excellent job of filling in for your natural teeth, enabling your mouth to functional normally so that you can bite, chew, talk, and smile with ease. With that said, there are things you should know if you’re considering dentures.
At A Caring Dental Group, Dr. Benedict Kim, rated among America’s Best Dentists in 2015 by the National Consumer Advisory Board, is dedicated to helping patients in Cleveland, Ohio, and the surrounding areas find long-lasting solutions for missing teeth and other dental issues. Dr. Kim, along with our expert team, help patients make the transition to dentures, and we’re here to help you.
We’ve put together some facts that you need to know about dentures.
#1: There’s a transition period
Whether you’ve lost several or most of your teeth as a result of decay, trauma, or gum disease, you have several options for restoring your smile with dentures. Before we can set you up with custom-designed dentures, we may need to remove any tooth remnants in your jawbone.
Once that’s complete, we set you up with immediate dentures that have two key roles:
- Enabling your gums to heal so they can support your traditional dentures.
- Restoring chewing function so that you can eat while your gums heal.
Getting used to dentures can be tricky. It’s perfectly normal to experience some discomfort during this transition period. The gums are typically sensitive after we perform work to prepare for the immediate dentures. This transition period requires patience. Once you’re used to the new feeling of having dentures, you’ll find yourself chewing, talking, and smiling with renewed confidence. When you know what to expect you can use the transition period widely.
#2: Singing can assist denture transition
Singing your speech is a little known secret that can help you get used to your dentures. Speech therapists have long known the benefits of singing to improve speech issues. The same holds true for patients new to dentures.
If you find speaking to be awkward initially, try singing instead. By singing in your car, in your shower, or with your family and friends, you’ll find that speech comes more easily.
#3: A soft diet helps ease into dentures
Dentures take some getting used. That means there’s a period where talking and eating may feel different. To help you adjust to dentures it’s helpful to make a few temporary changes to your diet.
You can save yourself frustration by initially sticking with soft foods before diving into foods like steak and corn-on-the-cob. Soft foods are easier to chew and as you get used to having dentures, you can gradually transition back to your regular diet. When you first start eating with your dentures, don’t dive right into a steak with corn-on-the-cob on the side. Once you’re accustomed to chewing and swallowing with oral appliances you’ll feel much more confident and can enjoy your favorite foods again.
#4: Dentures don’t transmit sensation
Natural teeth have a soft center that contains a nerve that transmits sensation signals. Since your dentures aren’t armed with nerves, you’ll be less able to determine whether your food or drink is too hot or too cold. In other words, be sure to check the temperature of your coffee before you take a swig, as hot liquid can damage your dentures.
#5: Dentures require care
Whether you have full or partial dentures, it’s important that you’re vigilant in taking good care of them. Patients with complete dentures need to take them out every night and place them in a special cleaning solution that gets rid of bacteria and debris. You should also use this time to gently brush your gums. Just as a pebble in your shoe causes discomfort, so, too, does debris in your dentures.
With partial dentures that are anchored by your natural teeth, care for them as you do your existing teeth. This means brushing, flossing, and rinsing daily.
Dentures can improve your quality of life. If you have more questions about adjusting to life with dentures, reach out to a member of our team to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kim. You can also send us a message here on our website, or use our easy online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.