Partial Dentures
 

Are Partial Dentures Easy to get Used to?

If you have never worn a partial denture, it's going to take a bit of getting used to.

There will be a period of adjustment during which some rubbing and discomfort is to be expected whilst they bed in. Some minor modifications by your dentist are generally needed, this is totally normal. Anyone who has worn one before will tell you this. Even experienced wearers will need a period of adjustment when a replacement partial denture is made- the only difference is they now know what to expect and what it takes to get used to them. Most people are able to wear them effectively after a little perseverance.

How fast you adjust depends on a number of things, including:

  • The individual
Some of you will adapt a lot more quickly than others, but everyone can get there if they stick with it.

  • Previous experience
If you have worn a removable partial denture before, the time to adjust to the new set is going to be less than if you haven’t. The more similar the design to the previous denture, the quicker you will get used to wearing it.

  • Age
The older you are, the slower you tend to adapt and the more difficult it can be getting used to big changes in your mouth.

A simple acrylic denture is the most bulky, covers the most area, is least close fitting and has the least retention (grip). Thus it requires the most getting used to and more muscle control than the other options. Chrome dentures and Flexi-dentures tend to have better grip and be thinner so are easier to wear initially.

  • How many teeth are being replaced
The more teeth on the plate, the larger it becomes and the more foreign it will feel in your mouth to begin with.

  • Free-end saddles
This is 'dentist speak' for having teeth- all back molars missing on one side. The reason it is important is because there is no back tooth to support the denture, meaning it will be slightly more unstable and need to get support from your ridge (top part of your gum) instead.

As a result you have less grip and it can drop slightly in the top jaw or move around a bit in the bottom (depending on which other teeth are present to help make it steady). Muscle control in these circumstances needs to be greater and as such dentures with free-end saddles take a bit more getting used to. An implant or precision attachment can be used to improve the situation.

How Long will it Take to get Used to my Partial Dentures?

Most people will be comfortable wearing them after a couple of weeks, though good control can take longer to master and will depend on some of the factors discussed above.

The first week expect soreness and rubbing in a couple of areas. This may make your gums a little red or result in a nasty little ulcer. Most dentists will arrange a follow up appointment a few days or a week later to see how you are getting on.

If you are suffering a lot before this time call up and try and get an appointment sooner. It is important to wear the dentures the day before going in to see your dentist as this will mark the gums in the areas that need adjusting and make it easier to identify the problem spots.

If you have had much soreness and ulcers as a result of the first week wearing them, then these are going to take a little time to heal and the best thing you can do to begin with, is leave the dentures out as much as possible to allow your gums to recover. Warm salt rinses or a chlorhexidine mouthwash can help to speed up your recovery.

When comfortable to do so, begin wearing them as much as possible and see how things go this time round. Another visit to the dentist for further adjustments is fairly common so don’t worry if you need to go back. It's unfortunately part of the process!

Most of the time one or two denture adjustments, (or what we dentists refer to as ‘denture eases’) are necessary- some times none are needed and occasionally many!

When Should I Wear Them?

Once your partial denture is comfortable, wear it as much as you possibly can. The more you wear them, the more used to them you become, and the more at home and part of your mouth they will feel.

DIY Adjustments?

My Grandad Bill, is a bit of a wood turner and wears complete dentures. So when his dentures were rubbing, he went out to the shed and drilled holes where the sore spots were. The pain went but the dentures wouldn’t stay in any more – they had lost all their seal. The Dentist got a little bit of a shock when he saw him as you can imagine, he said, slightly confused "Did I make these??"

Please don’t adjust your dentures at home, you will severely affect the fit if you take too much off- they have been very carefully prepared to fit your mouth and you may end up doing more harm than good. If you do, don't be surprised if they need to be remade.

If your denture breaks- see a dentist. Don't use super glue to put it back together- that sort of glue is not meant to be in your mouth and makes it actually more difficult to repair the denture.

If your denture has metal clasps and is getting loose, don’t try and tighten the clasps yourself- you can easily snap them with too much pressure or over tighten them so you can’t get the denture out- this is a job for the dentist not a carpenter. Trust me I have seen may people try to save a dollar by doing it themselves, only to end up paying to have a whole new clasp attached.

What about Eating with my Dentures?

It can take a bit of practice and perseverance to learn to eat with your new dentures. To begin with try to have a softer diet; cutting food up into small pieces and chewing slowly to get used the dentures and develop the control necessary.

Sticky foods like toffees and steak, and hard foods such as chocolate, nuts and raw carrots should be avoided to begin with, but as you gain confidence you can widen the amounts of food you eat to keep a healthy balanced diet. The more missing teeth your denture is replacing, the more slowly you need to take things.