Last Updated on October 19, 2023 by Jade Roberts
If you’re either considering or have already embarked on the journey of getting dentures, you’re in the right place. We’re delving into a topic that reaches beyond teeth – the holistic experience of getting dentures and the impacts it can have on your physical well-being, mental outlook, and emotional landscape.
Getting dentures is a process that encompasses several aspects of daily life and deserves our attention. We’ll look at the physical shifts and ways you must adapt to dentures. We’ll then explore the complex relationship between self-image and emotional responses, as well as the psychological transformations that occur as you navigate your new life with dentures. From handling social interactions to finding effective coping strategies, we’re here to guide you through the highs and lows.
So, join us as we take a closer look at the changes you may experience as a part of the process of getting dentures.
Physical Changes and Adjustments
Okay, let’s begin by talking about that new guest in your mouth. Dentures are going to feel like a foreign object, whether you are getting partial dentures or complete dentures. That’s because they are, and that is a normal response. It means that your mouth is going to require some time to adjust to having that foreign object in it. While adjusting to the feeling of wearing dentures, you may encounter a few unusual sensations.
These may include increased salivation and a few sore spots where your dentures are pressing down heavily on your gums. You may even find your bite has altered slightly and that your chewing force has decreased. One of the most obvious changes that people around you may notice is how you speak. There may be alterations to how you pronounce some words or sounds, especially “s” or “f” sounds. This a temporary phase, though. Your dentures will periodically be adjusted by your dentist for increased comfort, your tongue and oral muscles will eventually adapt, and your speech will naturally improve in time.
Self-Image and Emotional Response
Getting dentures can cause you to have many different feelings. It is normal to have concerns about how they are going to fit and how they are going to make you look. This is very common if this is your first time with dentures and it will take a little getting used to. However, as time passes, these concerns will fade.
One of the best things about getting dentures is how they improve your self-image and self-esteem. You may find yourself smiling much more than you used to. You will also discover that a perfect smile will make you feel much better about yourself and boost your confidence. As hard as it may be to believe, this self-empowerment is possible with dentures.
Mental Shifts and Psychological Effects
There are going to be some mental adjustments now that you have dentures. When you consider that you have had only natural teeth up to this point, your dental care routine is going to change your daily habits. These changes include a new denture care routine before and after bed, which sometimes replaces an old toothbrushing routine in the case of complete dentures. This shift in your daily habits can lead to a shift in how you see yourself, your daily routine, and possibly a change in your self-identity.
It is important to remember that these changes won’t happen immediately and that you will do better if you move at your own pace. Adjusting to dentures is much more than dealing with the new objects in your mouth. It also involves your emotions, routine, and mindset.
Navigating Social Interactions
One of the major tests you will be faced with is your interactions with others around you. It is common to feel some anxiety as you embark on social situations wearing dentures. The following tips will help you work your way through everything from casual chats to intimate heart-to-heart conversations.
- Facing The Fear of Judgment: The stigma attached to dentures may present an emotional challenge. This can result in a fear of being judged by assumptions made about dentures. You must accept these feelings but remember, your dentures do not define you. They are just part of the “new” you and you may be somewhat amazed to discover that most people you encounter will not even notice you are wearing dentures.
- Strategies for Building Confidence: The first step to building your confidence in social situations is to embrace your dentures as being a part of who you are. Your smile is your strength and by practicing self-compassion and positive self-talk, you can give yourself a mental boost when needed. Visualization is also helpful. If you imagine yourself with confidence, it can give you the right mindset to step out and be social without concern.
- Explaining Dentures to Others: It is empowering to address questions or concerns from others. As you explain about your dentures, simple is best as that will often be all that is required to satisfy curiosity. As an example, you may choose to say something like, “My dentures help me to maintain my smile” which will promote understanding instead of judgment.
- The Power of Authenticity: Working your way through social interactions is an opportunity to embrace authenticity. People will see and feel your confidence as a result. They will see you as a real person, not just someone with dentures, and that authenticity is to be celebrated.
Coping Strategies and Support Systems
The emotional landscape surrounding getting dentures can be intimidating. Coping strategies can help with this at times. This includes positive self-talk, mindfulness techniques, or deep breathing exercises. One or more may help you during your journey with dentures.
Support systems are a little different. They provide a source for listening and encouragement. You should find support from members of your family, friends, and even online communities. Anywhere you can connect, share experiences, and find solace knowing you are not alone can help.
Long-Term Benefits and Adjustments
The physical, mental, and emotional impacts you first experienced will shift as time passes. The initial discomfort fades as your mouth and mind adjust to your dentures. Along with this, your emotional journey will transform as you become comfortable with your dentures.
Eventually, the benefits of dentures will become apparent. Your oral health will improve, and you will once again be able to enjoy certain foods. Your confidence will increase as your smile shows the new you. The adjustments you’ve had to make to your daily oral hygiene will become routine and everything will normalize over time.
What To Expect When Getting Dentures
It is vital to set realistic expectations when you get dentures. The process is often lengthy and the physical and emotional adjustments take time to get used to. Your mouth may need extra time to adjust to dentures and although eating and speaking may be strange at first, these issues are only temporary.
As for your emotional well-being, expect to experience a gambit of emotions. But it is normal to be uncertain, self-conscious, and excited. Here is a look at what you can expect when you get dentures.
- Denture Fabrication: The process of making dentures can at times be time-consuming. Each case is different, but you can expect multiple visits to the dental office prior to getting your dentures to take home. It is important to work with a dentist that you trust, and to ask lots of questions before you start.
- Initial Impressions: Your mouth is going to feel strange the first few days after getting dentures. Your mouth must adapt to the new sensations, and you may experience some discomfort or irritation. Usually, this initial discomfort can be fixed with a quick visit to your dentist where they will adjust your dentures.
- Speech Adjustments: Dentures in your mouth are going to change the way you speak at first. Once your tongue and other soft tissue adapt to the dentures, you will be able to speak more normally.
- Eating with Dentures: Chewing with dentures will require some extra practice. To get used to the feeling, start with soft foods, and slowly introduce your favorite foods as things improve. It is important to understand that dentures will never give you the same chewing forces you once had with natural teeth, but they will help get you much closer to that natural bite.
- Stability of Dentures: As a general rule-of-thumb, upper dentures tend to be more stable than lower dentures. Ask your dentist about implant-retained dentures if you feel that you need more stability with your dentures.
- Follow-Up Appointments: Expect to have follow-up appointments, often yearly, scheduled to allow your dentist to check that your dentures fit properly and to make adjustments when required.
- Emotional Ups and Downs: You may experience a wide spectrum of emotions ranging from excitement to uncertainty. It is normal and embracing change will help you to cope.
- Growing Comfort: It won’t be long, and your dentures will become a normal part of your daily routine. As this happens, you will find wearing them to be comfortable and natural.
Seeking Professional Guidance
As challenging as the journey may be when you first get new dentures, it is comforting to know that you can turn to dentists, prosthodontists, or counselors for professional guidance throughout the process.
For help with your dentures or oral health, the best experts in this field are dentists or prosthodontists. For emotional support, contacting a counselor may be the best solution. Regardless of your need, there is someone you can trust to help you when you require assistance.
Getting dentures is much more than just foreign objects inside of your mouth. There are physical, mental, and emotional hurdles that pop up as you adjust to your dentures. The good news is that for the most part, these hurdles are only temporary.
As your mouth adjusts and gets used to the differences in eating, speaking, and oral hygiene, so will the way you feel about having dentures. If you have difficulties adjusting, some of the methods mentioned above may help, and you can always get extra help from professionals, if needed.
The important thing to keep in mind is that getting dentures is not a bad thing. From giving you a fresh, new smile, to boosting your confidence and self-esteem, dentures are far from a negative. It’s about finding your rhythm, adjusting to the new normal, and emerging stronger, more confident, and ready to share your bright smile with the world.