Frequently Asked Questions
Patient: My dentist pulled my teeth all at once and immediately put in my dentures. The dentures are killing me - especially the bottoms. Will I ever be able to eat with dentures? Will my new dentures ever fit right? Will I speak normally again with dentures in my mouth?
Dr Dean: Yes, you will most certainly be able to eat again, they will fit right, and your talking will quickly return to normal.
Having said that, if the dentures are made correctly in the first place, you have the correct information, and you are being looked after following your initial fitting, then all should go well for you in a few weeks.
However, for many patients this is not always the case. My experience with patients who are not correctly informed before having their teeth removed may have issues like those mentioned above. This is the very reason I have dedicated a full chapter, in my Full Denture book, to inform patients as to what to do before having their teeth extracted.
I have included a story of a patient who was 47 years old, had new dentures for the first time and, for financial reasons had to go back to work with dentures which were so painful they actually caused her gums to bleed. Imagine trying to sell houses in that condition! Christine's case was a simple fix. I had her back at work selling houses within the hour - with a smile on her face.
Patient: I was meant to have surgery on my top gum (bone reduction) so that I can get dentures fitted, but elective surgeries have been cancelled due to Covid-19. My gums are really sore at this time. Can you help?"
Dr Dean: Although I do not know your specific case; for those left in the same or similar situation, I would recommend three things you should immediately do until you can return to your dental practitioner.
The first is to rinse your mouth out, at least three times per day, with salt water. The second is to lightly brush your gums with a soft toothbrush to stimulate blood-flow.
As eating will be difficult without teeth, it is best to puree as much of your food as possible until you get your dentures. As horrible as this may sound, it is better to keep up your health, rather than to swallow whole food pieces which can lead to digestive problems.
Not wearing dentures for two to three months after extraction is the best thing you can do for your gums over the long term. Preserving the bone under the gum is important, as this bone-foundation will be what is needed to support your new dentures when you get them.
If you are forced to go without teeth, don't forget to thank the dentist in twenty years from now. You will have done yourself a huge favour, which will pay off in spades as you get older.
Patient: I contacted my dentist because I needed an urgent adjustment. He said it’s not an emergency and therefore can't see me. I’m so sick of this. They are so loose. I eat they fall out; I talk they slide to one side. I’ve only had them for 2½ weeks. They are my first, or temporary dentures. Any suggestions?"
Dr Dean: The fact is, it's near impossible for any technician to get your temporary dentures correct the first time, simply because your natural teeth are in the way when the impressions are taken. In most cases, they will either fit nicely, hurt like hell, or be too loose. This is the exact reason I dedicated Chapter 7 to “first dentures”. One of the issues I talk about is that you must arrange follow-up appointments before your natural teeth are extracted, or you will suffer the consequences, as did this patient who asked the question. So what is the solution to these two scenarios? 1. If your dentures are too tight, and you continue to wear them while they hurt, you stand the risk of developing severe canker sores (ulcers), which in turn will cause you far more problems than you ever want. Here my advice is to remove them as often as possible, rinse your mouth out with salt water three times per day, and then insist on an appointment to get the plastic cut back … or go find another practitioner who will help you. I cannot emphasise enough just how critical it is to get the plastic cut back in the areas that hurt. Your gums will never get used to a tight denture, so don't ever believe that one when told to go home and "persevere". Your mouth tissue (the skin covering the bone) will simply break down into a sore spot, and will not heal (ever) until the plastic is removed. 2. If your dentures are too loose, you can use products like Polident or Cushion Grip to hold them in place until you can return to your practitioner to get a reline. Unfortunately, in this case, the continual moving, rubbing and chaffing will also cause canker sores (ulcers) to develop, which can only be fixed by relining your dentures, so they can fit nice and snug again. In any event, my advice is to see your dental practitioner as soon as possible to rectify the issue - before they becomes unbearable.
Patient: Does anyone else have a severe dry mouth when your dentures are in, and excessive saliva when they are out?"
Dr Dean: I will first address a dry mouth.
1. There are many reasons for having a dry mouth. A design aspect of your denture may be blocking your salivary gland ducts, which releases saliva when removed, or you may unknowingly suffer from sleep apnoea or blocked nasal airways which is one of the causes of a dry mouth. (By the way, the latter must be reported to your GP immediately, as sleep apnoea can be life threatening.)
In either case, a visit to your dental practitioner can help. While you wait for an appointment, you can immediately alleviate the situation by applying a small amount of glycerine to the base of each denture before inserting them into your mouth. (You'll may need to consult with your Doctor before proceeding with this action). Glycerine puts a thin lubrication between your denture base and gums, thus making them feel wet, and the wearing of your dentures more tolerable.
2. Excessive saliva may be caused by an over-extended lingual flange on the lower denture. This flange presses against the salivary glands and 'pumps' saliva as the lower denture moves. Please do not try to shorten this flange at home, as you may disrupt the entire stability of the denture. A quick consultation with your local dental practitioner is my strongest advice for a 'squishy' denture. In my book "Full Dentures " I have dedicated Chapter 10 to Denture Discomfort. Here I explain more about the ‘dry mouth’ and ‘excessive saliva’ scenarios.
This image shows an over-extended lingual flange. (An example from the book.)