Five Things You Should Know if You Wear Dentures

If you wear dentures, you may already know these things.  For those considering dentures, this article may dispel a few myths you have heard or believed.  These are important things to know if you or a loved one wear or may soon wear dentures.

Dentures can be challenging, and one way of fighting frustration is by having accurate expectations.  We hope these points will help you have the correct expectations and give you a better denture experience.

  1. You Still Need to See the Dentist Yearly.

Many people claim to want dentures so they no longer have to go to the dentist.  While it is true that your dental needs are drastically reduced by the loss of all of your teeth, it is untrue that you never have to go to the dentist as a denture wearer.  In fact, you need to see your dentist on a yearly basis.

First of all, your dentist is the one who makes, adjusts and repairs your dentures.  We will discuss why seeing the dentist regularly for this is necessary in the next section.

More importantly, though, is the dentist’s role in identifying oral cancer.  Some studies suggest that denture wearers have a higher risk for oral cancer, and every adult needs to have a professional oral cancer screening at least once a year.  Oral cancer has a very high survival rate when caught early.  The way you catch it early is by seeing your dentist once a year!

  1. The Fit of Dentures Changes over Time.

The dentures themselves do not change, but the shape of your underlying jawbone does.  The jawbone’s only purpose is to hold teeth.  When all the teeth are missing, the upper and lower jawbones undergo a gradual shrinking process.

As the bone shrinks, gaps develop between the gums and the dentures.  These gaps change and worsen the fit of the dentures.  You might notice this fit change in the form of looseness or sore spots rubbed in new areas of the mouth.

It is important to see your dentist regularly in order to evaluate and improve the fit of your dentures.  This will help you maintain your ability to chew effectively.

  1. You Need a Dental X-Ray Every Three to Five Years.

Dental x-rays show more than just teeth.  We use x-rays to evaluate the health of the jawbone, too.  Denture wearers should have a panoramic x-ray or a three-dimensional image called a CBCT taken at least once every five years.  Some people with a higher risk for bone problems may need to have theirs taken every three years.

With these images, your dentist will screen for cysts and tumors in the jawbone and problems in the TMJs (jaw joints).

  1. Soft Foods aren’t Always the Easiest to Eat.

Chewing with dentures can be challenging.  The good news is that it is a learned skill that typically improves over time.  Most people are surprised to learn that the foods they think would be simplest to chew are actually difficult for denture wearers.

Starchy foods, like bread and potatoes, while soft, can actually be quite difficult to eat when you wear dentures.  This is because the starch becomes very sticky when you chew it.  That sticky texture can actually loosen or dislodge the dentures during chewing.

The easiest foods to chew for new denture wearers are actually cooked vegetables that are slightly crunchy.  Don’t overcook them and let them become mushy!

  1. Don’t Rely on Adhesives.

Dentures adhesives are popular ways of helping you hold your dentures in place.  They can be helpful when dentures are very loose, but you should use them as a temporary solution only.  In an ideal denture situation, the fit of the denture is so good that adhesive is not necessary.

The upper denture relies on a suction effect against the roof of the mouth.  The lower denture relies on strong muscle control of the lips, cheeks, and tongue.  This takes time, but it is attainable!

More Questions about Dentures?

Call Timberlake Dental at 940-382-1750 today to schedule a denture consultation with Dr. Chowning.  He loves helping patients restore their chewing ability with dentures.  He can answer any question you have and help you choose the best denture option for your unique situation.

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