Like many other parts of our body, we often take our teeth for granted. As long as they are painless and functioning well, we don’t bother about them. However, the moment they troubleshoot, we realise their existence in a big way. But what happens when you lose a tooth or a few teeth? Losing teeth can be scary, embarrassing and highly inconvenient. In order to avoid these situations, missing teeth must always be replaced. While implants and fixed dentures are usually easy to eat with, most people find it difficult to adjust eating with flexible partial dentures.
Dentures are artificial, a man-made replacement for missing teeth. They can be removable or fixed. Fixed partial dentures are crowns and bridges that are fixed by the dentist and cannot be removed by the patient.
But, in cases where a fixed partial denture or an implant cannot be given to a patient but his/her missing teeth need replacement, removable dentures are given. Removable dentures, as the name suggests, can be removed and re-worn by the patient.
These dentures are made out of rigid or flexible material, with the flexible dentures being way more comfortable than the rigid ones.
Before we learn ways to make eating with flexible partial dentures easy, it is essential we understand what they are, when are they advised to patients and why it may take time to get used to eating with them.
What are Flexible Partial Dentures?
Flexible partial dentures are made from an advanced thermoplastic material that makes these dentures thin, light, flexible and highly durable. Compared to the rigid acrylic removable partial dentures, flexible partial dentures are way more comfortable for the patients.
However, eating with flexible partial dentures has always been a query of most patients. Due to their removable nature, one of the most common questions asked by patients with flexible partial dentures is “Can you eat with the dentures?”
Before we go on to eating with flexible partial dentures, let’s see the many advantages they have over the acrylic ones, which makes them a popular choice with both dentists and their patients. Some of these include –
- They are more aesthetic and natural-looking than the acrylic removable dentures
- Due to their flexible nature, they mould very well to the curvatures and folds in the mouth, making it very comfortable to the wearer
- They are strong and durable and most companies provide a lifelong warranty for breakage- that is how strong and long-lasting these dentures are
- They are low on maintenance as they do not stain or absorb odours
Tips on How to Eat with DenturesEating with dentures for the first time might be slightly uncomfortable for most patients. But, here are a few tips that can help you through!
- Start with Soft foods- Compared to your oral tissues, even the flexible denture is slightly hard. Also, new dentures are like new shoes and you don’t know where they will irritate you. To avoid excessive trauma to your gums, it is best to start with soft foods first while eating with flexible partial dentures before progressing to harder foods.
- Avoid hot foods initially- The next thing to watch out for while eating with flexible partial dentures is the temperature of the food. Our oral tissues are adept at gauging the temperature of food while eating. However, the materials used to make removable dentures are insulating in nature and you might not be able to judge how hot your food is. To avoid thermal trauma, avoid hot foods in the initial days.
- Avoid holding liquids in your mouth- Your dentures are being supported by your gums, the bone underneath and the adjacent teeth. They all work in tandem to provide retention to your dentures. Holding liquids like water or juice in your mouth while eating with flexible partial dentures can loosen them.
- Avoid spicy foods till you get used to your dentures- It is not uncommon for people to experience mild trauma to their gums while learning to eat with dentures. Eating hot and spicy food can aggravate their discomfort and so, must be avoided.
- Chew slowly and on both sides to keep your denture balanced- Your dentures need to be stable for you to be able to chew properly. However, how you chew also affects the stability of your denture! So, remember to chew from both sides to keep our denture stable.
- Take small bitesWhile learning to eat with dentures, it is advisable to take small bites as they are easy to chew rather than taking bigger ones.
- Avoid sticky and gummy foodsSticky and gummy foods can lift your denture off the gums making it difficult to chew. Hence, avoid sticky or gummy foods like toffees, pizza, candy, raisins, marshmallows, etc. When you are learning to eat with dentures for the first time, your dentist may also suggest the use of a denture adhesive to help stabilise and retain the denture while you get used to it. It may take a few days or weeks for you to get used to eating with flexible partial dentures. Taking baby steps every day can help you get completely used to eating with flexible partial dentures. Once you are comfortable eating with them, you can eat almost anything you want to.