Adjusting to dentures is a gradual process that takes persistence and time. In the first few days, dentures will feel quite foreign in your mouth. Performing basic functions like eating, speaking clearly, and smiling may seem challenging.
Within the first 1-2 weeks you’ll slowly improve adjusting the dentures with your tongue and controlling them while chewing soft foods. Speech clarity continues improving over the next month.
As the tissues adapt and neuromuscular control develops, eating a wider diet gets easier around 6-8 weeks. By 2-3 months, most patients experience only occasional slight discomfort and are proficient with insertion and removal. After several months, wearing your false teeth should start to feel more automatic and comfortable. But the process varies for each patient. Some may take over a year to fully adapt to dentures.
Regular follow-up appointments for adjustment along with diligent daily wear help speed adaptation. With patience and practice, handling dentures eventually becomes second nature. But anticipate several months of progressive acclimation to gain dexterity and function. Communicate with your denturist throughout for optimal results.
The First Few Days with Dentures
Those first 24 to 48 hours with new dentures often feel awkward. As you leave your dentist’s office with new dentures in place, focus on these tips for initial adjustment:
- Speak slowly and deliberately until your speech becomes more natural. New dentures can temporarily affect pronunciation.
- Stick to soft, mushy foods cut into small pieces to stabilize the dentures while chewing. Avoid hard, crunchy foods that could dislodge them.
- Remove dentures at night to give your gums a break from pressure.
- Rinse dentures thoroughly after eating and brush them morning and night. Keeping them clean is crucial.
- Use denture adhesive if you feel the dentures are unstable or loose when speaking or chewing. This helps hold them in place initially.
- Take any pain relievers as recommended by your denturist to ease sore spots. Slight pain is common.
- Note any rubbing spots or areas of poor fit and have your denturist adjust at a follow-up visit. Multiple adjustments are common.
- Give your cheeks, lips and tongue time to adapt to the dentures. Oral muscles need practice manipulating the prosthetics.
- Be patient with yourself as you re-learn speaking, smiling, and other functions. Skill builds over time.
With diligence and follow-up care, the first week is often the most uncomfortable adjustment period. Report any concerns promptly to aid the acclimation process.
Sore spots and rubbing are common at first. Make a note of problem areas to have your dentist adjust at follow-up visits. With cushioning and denture adhesive, you should begin adjusting within the first week.
The First Weeks with Dentures
The first 2 to 4 weeks involve acclimation as you integrate the dentures into your oral functions. You can expect:
- Moderate improvement in chewing ability within 2 weeks
- Gradual increases in diet texture and complexity each week
- Ongoing speech practice resulting in clarity within 4 weeks
- Decreased gum and jaw soreness within 1 month
- Better tactile control handling the dentures in and out
As neuromuscular control develops, tasks become easier. But avoid taking dentures out for extended periods during the day to prevent jawbone atrophy. Follow-up with your dentist for any debonding, cracking or changes in fit. The first month is a period of rapid improvement and adaptation.
Months to Years Later with Dentures
In the following weeks to months, denture use should begin to feel much more natural. Timeframes vary, but expect:
- Greatly increased chewing skill and diet enjoyment after 2 months
- Only occasional minor soreness after 3 months
- Ability to sleep comfortably with dentures after 6 months
- Able to wear dentures all day without much thought by 9 months
- Oral tissues completely adapted to dentures around 1 year
- Annual denture adjustments to maintain proper fit
- Gradual bone loss over 5+ years may require denture refitting
- Eventually a remake may be needed after 5-10+ years of wear
With good oral hygiene and care, well-made dentures can last many years before needing to be remade. But plan on needing periodic adjustments, relines, and remake procedures over time.
Adapting to dentures is a process with stages of acclimation spanning weeks to months. Patience, practice, and follow-up adjustments help make dentures feel natural faster. While the timeline varies by individual, set realistic expectations to ease into denture wear. Work closely with your dentist during the transition. Before you know it, your new smile will feel comfortably normal.