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People who have lost their teeth - whether due to decay, injury or gum disease - may welcome dentures as a way to help them talk, laugh and eat naturally again.
Now, Marcine Hays, the patient education coordinator at Oak Park Family Dental Care, suggests that patients should be prepared that it will take some time to adapt to their new teeth.
For example, people have to learn how to chew with dentures by taking smaller bites and making sure food is chewed on both sides of the mouth at the same time, she says.
According to the American Dental Association, many people find that dentures initially feel loose until their cheek and tongue muscles learn how to keep them properly placed. Meanwhile, some patients temporarily experience increased saliva flow during this adjustment period.
Hays says that it can take up to six months for people's mouths to get used to dentures. She also advises that denture wearers act quickly if they find their dentures do not fit properly.
"If you're not wearing your dentures because they hurt or fit poorly, see your dentist or denturist. There is help available," she writes.
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