Instructions – Wearing Dentures
Eating With Dentures
Learning to eat with new dentures requires time and patience.
Before placing food in the mouth bring the teeth together and swallow. This will seat the denture in the mouth. Then place small bites of food in the mouth and chew it slowly on the side that seems most natural and comfortable. Try to move the jaw in a straight up and down motion. Shifting the lower jaw to get a shearing motion will unseat the dentures.
Avoid foods that are hard, tough, sticky, or require considerable chewing. Vegetables should be cooked. Doughy foods, such as breads will stick to dentures and should be eaten with liquids.
When trying to eat a sandwich, cookies or any other food that is generally bitten down on with the front teeth and then torn off, the denture can dislodge. Cut the food into smaller sizes, hold it against the upper front teeth or the lower front, whichever is more comfortable, slowly bring the teeth together through the food and then tear the remaining section. If sandwiches continue to be a problem, cut them into bite sized pieces.
Food can loose some flavor with dentures. However, there should be no problem tasting your food.
Food will collect under your dentures. Food that normally drifts onto the floor of the mouth or into the cheeks will find its way under the lower denture. Upward and backward movements of the tongue (as in swallowing) will force food under the upper denture. Food will also adhere to plastic surfaces much easier than to the mouth tissues. People wearing dentures are far more conscious of food collecting in their mouths than those with natural teeth are. This is because the denture flanges (sides) occupy space where normally food would collect. The only practical solution to this problem is to change your eating habits. Try eating smaller amounts more slowly and clear your mouth as well as possible before taking more food.
Liquid can sometimes present a problem especially for lower dentures. If you are in the habit of holding a liquid in your mouth long enough to taste it, the denture will invariably loosen. It is usually the lower denture that causes the most trouble. In order to overcome this, you must break the habit of momentarily holding the liquid and keep the function of swallowing continually. This means that as soon as the liquid fills your mouth, you should swallow.
Some patients complain of saliva collecting under the upper denture. The upper denture does cover the salivary glands on the cheek side of the denture. The majority of people are able to express the saliva from under their denture by bracing the lower jaw against the upper jaw and swallowing. However, if the saliva gets trapped in the front part of the denture, you will have to remove it and rinse it with water.
When patients gag with their dentures in their mouths, they usually insist it be because the upper denture extends too far back in the mouth. This may or may not be the cause. If you insist the dentist trim the back of the denture too much, you upper denture will become loose. Sometimes the presence of a hard candy in the mouth relieves the tendency to gag. Some people experience momentary gagging every time they place the dentures in their mouths. This condition may continue indefinitely or in most cases, the patient psychologically over comes the sensation.
Soreness goes hand in hand with a new denture. All new dentures “settle,” and all tissues do not accept pressure in the same manner. Whenever soreness exists, allow the dentist to see you and make appropriate adjustments. It is likely that it will take a few adjustments before all sore spots are gone. Before seeing the dentist for adjustments, wear the denture for at least one hour so he can see the irritated area exactly and only adjust that area on the denture.
Biting the cheek with new dentures is common. It in no way implies that the teeth are too wide or positioned incorrectly. It can be the result of flabby cheek muscles, which the denture will help overcome in a few days. If the condition becomes troublesome, the dentist will round off the outside edges of the teeth so no damage is done to the cheek tissue. For some people it may be necessary to do these two or three times.