Whether you’re looking at getting your first denture or you’ve been wearing dentures for years, most patients will experience some difficulty when adapting to dentures. Happily, these problems can be effectively managed and in most cases overcome with patience, time, practice, and proper care and treatment options best suited to your needs.
Here are three common challenges reported by people wearing new dentures, along with tips for how to overcome each challenge.
Changes to speech
It is common for denture patients to initially have difficulty speaking when adapting to dentures. In particular, pronouncing words with “S,” “Z,” or “F” sounds can be difficult.
Rest assured that slightly slurred speech and other difficulties producing crisp, clear sounds are a normal response to the initial denture adjustment period. In time and with practice, your lips and tongue will adjust to your new denture and your ability to form sounds properly will improve.
If you find yourself lisping (a misarticulation mostly due to an error in tongue placement within the mouth), try speaking more slowly and deliberately than you would normally. This will give your mouth, lips, and tongue time and practice adjusting to your new denture.
If there are specific sounds that prove problematic for you, try working on correcting each sound in isolation. Again, slowing your speech down during practice sessions will help you more quickly master each sound.
If difficulty speaking persists, schedule an appointment with your Denturist to discuss.
Trouble with eating
Eating certain foods with a denture can be difficult at first. Foods that are fibrous (e.g., meat), hard (e.g., nuts, carrots), leafy (e.g., lettuce, spinach), or that require hard biting with your front teeth (e.g., apples, corn) are the most challenging.
Initially, it may help to increase the amount of soft foods in your diet. Yogurt, eggs, oatmeal, avocados, bananas, soups, and fish are ideal foods in terms of nutrition and consistency. As you become accustomed to your new denture, you can reintroduce more challenging foods into your diet.
Cutting your food up into smaller pieces than you would normally, and chewing on both sides of your mouth at the same time, can make chewing easier and help you adjust to eating with your new dentures.
If you continue to have difficulty chewing your food properly, schedule an appointment with your Denturist for an assessment.
Initially, you may feel clumsy speaking, smiling, laughing, or eating with your new denture. In time, your body will adjust, you will stop noticing your denture as much, and you will gain confidence in wearing your new denture. All of this will help you to relax in social situations.
If you find yourself avoiding social situations because of embarrassment while eating, speaking, or laughing, don’t ignore these symptoms. Loose or ill-fitting dentures; sore spots; clicking, whistling, or other noises when you talk – these are all problems that can be corrected. A visit to your Denturist can diagnose any underlying issues and help to get you socializing normally again.