The 10 Biggest Myths About Dentures
If you're reading this article, you likely already have dentures or are thinking about getting them. I remember devouring everything I could find online about these devices when I was thinking about getting them. I read about what it felt like to get them, the pros and cons, patients' opinions versus dentists', and anything someone wrote on a forum.
Now that I have them, I've learned that there is a lot of false information out there—and I decided to write this article to help set the record straight. Sometimes even dentists may provide false information because they've never worn dentures themselves. They don't know what it's really like.
My advice is to only read articles or posts written by people who actually have the experience of wearing dentures—and ignore what most other people say. In this article, I will discuss ten myths that aren't true, and I'll give you the truth. It's important that you have accurate information when making this important health decision.
MYTH 1: Dentures only give you 10%-15% of the chewing ability that you have with normal teeth.
This is not true at all, especially if you get indentures (which are dentures that attach to your gums). Just so you know, I do not have indentures, but I'd still rate my chewing ability at about 80-90% as good as what it's like to chew with real teeth. I don't use glue either.
The temporary dentures are harder to chew with than the permanent dentures, so there is a bit of choking problems, even after you learn fully how to chew with the temporaries. Still, it's nowhere near as low as 10-15%. I'd rate it more like 70-75% chewing ability and this is because temporary dentures use weaker materials and don't fit as well. The better the fit (which is something you can always fix), the easier it is to chew whatever you want!
The only thing I've discovered that I can not eat at this time is raw carrots.
But can I chew nuts? Yep. I can chew all nuts, even almonds with these permanent dentures. I can eat all the fruit I've tried to eat, most of the vegetables. I can eat sandwiches and hamburgers and chips and hard crackers. I can eat ciabatta bread and peanut butter, but articles claim that some of these things are impossible to eat. They are wrong.
The only problems come when you take too big of bite of your food (it has to be a massive bite for this to be a problem.) Sometimes this or eating nuts and popcorn causes little pieces of food to go under your dentures. But I still eat those foods anyway. Just a little rinse of your dentures fixes this problem and you can keep eating. Articles make it sound like it's impossible to eat these foods when that isn't true.
The other weird thing about dentures is that chocolate becomes more like peanut butter. It sticks to the roof of your mouth sometimes and it's really sticky.
But other than that, my dentures are great. I chew better than my husband who still has all his bad teeth.
MYTH 2: You'll Regret Getting Dentures
If you're even considering getting dentures, you probably need them and will benefit from them. People don't just randomly think one day,"It would be cool to pull out all of my teeth and wear fake teeth instead." Even though it involves never having to experience the drill of the dentist again, the procedure is so painful and dramatic (in the beginning), that it's not generally something you'll consider unless you've already tried a bunch of other things. It's the kind of thing you think about when your teeth keep breaking, when you're faced with blood coming from your gums every day, difficulty eating, or excruciating teeth pain. It's the kind of thing you usually don't turn to until you've already spent a lot of money trying to save your teeth and failing.
I am in several facebook groups where people talk about the process of getting your teeth extracted and adjusting to dentures. People get this procedure done every day in those groups. People are terrified beforehand usually. I was terrified as well. It may be painful and difficult to adjust to in the beginning. But not one person I've talked to, not even one, has said they regret getting dentures.
The only people who regret it are people who were forced. There are certain communities, like some Amish communities that force everyone in the community to get dentures because they don't have a proper dentist, whether they want to or not. They force people with perfectly healthy teeth to pull them all and replace them with fake teeth. Of course, those people are going to regret it because they didn't need the procedure.
But if you're suffering in ways that I mentioned earlier, if you have problems with all (or most) of your teeth, if your dental work keeps needing to get redone over and over again, then you're not going to regret getting dentures. Dentures will be one of the best things that has ever happened to you.
MYTH 3: You're Too Young To Have Dentures
I got my dentures at thirty and needed them in my mid-twenties, I just didn't realize it yet. You're not too young to get dentures. People lose all their teeth for a variety of reasons when they are young and it's almost never because they didn't brush. Things like anorexia, bulimia, diabetes, and more can cause your teeth to rot away quickly, even if you treat those diseases.
It's okay to need dentures when you are young. They won't make you look any older. I know this partly because my friends all know I have dentures because I told all of them. They all forget, though, because my dentures look like natural and beautiful teeth. So they'll make comments forgetting that my teeth are fake.
Lots of young people have dentures, it's just you can't tell based on looking at them that they do, so most people don't realize it. Don't believe the stereotypes.
MYTH 4: You Must Have Done Something Wrong For Your Teeth To Be This Bad
Genetics and disease have a lot more to do with whether or not your teeth will remain healthy the majority of your life. Of course flossing and brushing helps keep them in a better condition than if you neglected those things. But I used to floss every day and brush regularly, yet I still needed dentures by the time I was thirty. Because no matter how well you take care of your teeth, genetics can still destroy them.
Mine were destroyed because of diabetes and stomach issues I had from when I was a little girl. Also, my great grandmother had dentures by the time she was thirty.
Dentists or people you are close to might make you feel bad for needing dentures, but don't let them. If you're getting dentures and you need them, then that does mean you are taking care of yourself. It does mean you are being responsible for your teeth. You shouldn't be shamed.
Getting dentures is a scary life change to make and if you go through with it, you should be proud of yourself and how brave you are. Don't let other people bring you down.
MYTH 5: You Have To Chew Using Both Sides Of Your Mouth
This is not something I can do. I was absolutely terrified about getting dentures because I can't chew on both sides of my mouth simultaneously no matter how hard I try.
They tell you to do this in order to avoid "flipping" or "tipping" your dentures, which is what they call it when the food gets stuck between your dentures and gums because your dentures get knocked out of place while you are eating. This does happen sometimes, moreso in the beginning than later, partly because your dentiures don't fit right in the beginning and partly because you are not used to them.
But I never chew using both sides of my mouth and I don't have a problem with this hardly ever. Maybe once every month or two at the most.
I do recommend you switching sides that you are chewing with through out a meal though. It doesn't always happen, but sometimes if you chew on only one side, you get a sore spot on your gums.
The term "sore spot" used to scare me so much before I got dentures. I had radiating, electric, stabbing waves of pain when I used to have bad teeth, so I got scared sore spots were like that. They aren't. They are just a mild tenderness in your gums and if it happens, you can always take off your dentures to relieve the discomfort for a few hours. It's nothing like having bad teeth was.
So do you need to chew on both sides of your mouth? Nope. I don't even use adhesive on my dentures and I am fine.
MYTH 6: There Are Lots Of Things You Can't Eat
Like I mentioned before, you can eat pretty much everything.
I can't eat carrot sticks, but I feel like if I try again in the future, since my permanent dentures are still brand new, that I might be able to eat carrot sticks.
I've chewed gum, I've eaten stick candy. The limits are nowhere near what the dentist will tell you.
MYTH 7: You Have To Use Denture Adhesive For Them To Stay In Place
Denture adhesive is only there to help your dentures stick to your mouth when they don't fit properly. I've never used adhesive, even for a day, the entire time I've had dentures. They fit well and stay in place because my cheek and tongue have developed muscles that keep them where they need to be.
I thought I'd always feel my dentures sliding around or hate the way the plate would feel on the roof of my mouth. After having braces, I hated the plate on the roof of my mouth from my retainer. I thought it was going to be like that, especially since dentures are thicker than retainers.
The reality is, I notice them in my mouth so little that sometimes I forget that I took my dentures out and try to bite something or other times I forget that I left them in when I meant to take them out. I even shared an embarrassing story on facebook one time about having a conversation with my landlord without dentures because I had forgotten that I had taken them out before she knocked on my door.
You forget that they are there after awhile. They don't fly out when I sneeze or when I cough, even when my mouth is open. It takes a lot for them to come out as long as they fit you well.
How To Make Your Dentures Fit Better
MYTH 8: You'll Be Able To Eat And Adjust To Your Dentures Right Away
Some people are lucky, especially people who have lost the majority of their teeth already (so their gums don't need to heal as much) and they are able to eat potato chips on the first day.
But for most of us, it is mush for weeks or months. Eventually we slowly learn how to eat again. Once you do, life is suddenly more colorful, magical, and perfect than it used to be, but you have to struggle a bit before you get there.
Usually when you need dentures, chewing every meal was already a struggle anyway. As you heal and adjust, it goes uphill from there.
MYTH 9: If Your Dentist Says You Don't Need Dentures, Then You Don't Need Them
My dentist insisted (probably because I am young) that I shouldn't get dentures. I'm the one that convinced her otherwise. She wanted to give me $40,000 worth of more work on my teeth. I had already spent about that much less than five years before that trying to fix my teeth and them failing. I explained this to her, I explained that I was already in a lot of debt and the fixes weren't permanent. Every time I repaired a tooth, two more would have problems again. I felt that my real teeth were a lost cause.
So did she, although she didn't admit it to me. When your teeth are failing permanently, dentists will start telling you to do ridiculous things to keep them, like brush six times a day, floss twice, get deep cleanings of your mouth once a month, and smear stuff all over your teeth every day to help you salivate more. That's what they were telling me to do towards the end.
They couldn't admit that my mouth was a sinking ship and it was time to get a new boat rather than keep plugging up the holes. I was right and have never been happier with my mouth since I got my dentures done.
MYTH 10: That People Will Judge You For Having Dentures
At first there may be slurring of words and difficulty speaking, but once that clears up, no one will notice you have dentures at all. Even if you tell them repeatedly, it just won't stick into their head unless they see you physically remove your teeth.
I've also never had anyone speak ill of me for needing dentures. They usually forget and do not care.
Most of the self-consciousness is in your own head.