E.B. Black is a published author who writes fantasy, sci-fi, and romance novels.
If you are reading this article, you're probably considering getting dentures or have already made an appointment to remove all your teeth. You might already have dentures and just be reading this article to see if your experiences are what is normal. It's a big life change, so you're probably frightened by how it will feel to have no teeth and wear dentures instead. I was scared, too. I found a lot of the changes to be very dramatic, at first, but I'm over two months in to wearing dentures and am about as happy as you can be.
I want to share my experiences with you, so you'll find the whole thing less frightening.
What It Feels Like To Go Toothless
You don't experience this right away. Usually your doctor tells you to spend a certain amount of time (a day or more) without removing your dentures after extractions, so your gums can heal in the right shape, otherwise you'll try to put your dentures back in and it won't work. Weirdly, even though you're in pain, because you still have teeth in your mouth, it will feel like you didn't actually get anything extracted. The dentures will cause your brain to believe that your teeth are still there.
Removing your teeth for the first time will probably be traumatic for you. In the beginning, my gums were a mess. There were holes everywhere. They were bloody and bruised. It was also shocking and I cried a bit to see myself without any teeth. It's normal to feel insecure about this, especially at first. I was happy I got rid of my teeth, but also kind of frightened by the fact that I had done something irreversible.
It also felt really weird to go without any teeth. I could feel the gap where my teeth used to be. My mouth wanted to close all the way and have my teeth touch, but there were no teeth there, so it couldn't close. It made me panic for a little while and have trouble swallowing, but all of that was psychological and I soon adjusted to it.
That was only what it was like in the beginning. Now, I'm two months in and I can't really feel it anymore when I go with no teeth. It feels about the same as when I have teeth in. Sometimes I almost forget to take my teeth out at night like I'm supposed to. And other times, I'll grab something and try to chew it when I have no teeth and then have this weird moment where I realize I can't chew it because I forgot to put my teeth in.
It's difficult in a different way, at first, to talk without any teeth in because you use your teeth to pronounce things and you have to adjust to this new way of talking, but now I talk fine without teeth.
What It Feels Like To Wear Dentures Right After Extractions
Dentures feel their worse right after extractions, so you might be miserable, but they'll get better over time.
At first, your mouth is very swollen, so your dentures will probably feel enormous. It's like your cheeks are all stretched out and you're trying to fit this giant thing in your mouth. You might be very aware of the plastic plate above your tongue, where your denture resides. And it might feel like you're choking on your dentures every time you swallow for the first few hours. My mouth had trouble understanding why this giant piece of plastic was in my mouth unless I wanted to digest it and swallow it.
This also makes you salivate a lot. When you take your dentures out in the beginning there will be a lot of saliva and you might drool.
Your tongue might accidentally move around your lower dentures a lot.
Also, because they don't fit correctly (that comes later with a reline) and your extraction sites are still open, it might scrape across various parts of your gums when you try to eat certain things or talk and it will hurt. (Which is part of the reason why you need a lot of pain reliever in the beginning.)
I also had trouble tasting a lot of things and couldn't tell when food was hot or cold.
I talked with a heavy lisp all the time and sometimes talking was painful.
I'll admit, I hated all of this and I used to cry about it sometimes because I was scared it would never go away. I couldn't find anything anyone wrote about having these experiences and then the bad experiences going away. I even found a dentist who answers questions online and asked him if this stuff will go away and he gave me some vague answer about how everyone's experiences are different.
I am writing because I want to let you know that it's normal if you feel like this at first and that these things WILL NOT last. You will get better in a few weeks (or a few months at the most, but it will probably be sooner.) Whenever you get a surgery, for anything (I've had other surgeries besides this one), it's painful and hard to adjust to at first, but you get used to it and things get a lot better. You were sick before and now you removed the thing that made you sick, so you'll feel like its 100% worth it! Unfortunately, surgeries aren't magic, even plastic surgeries are bloody and painful at first, but things rapidly get better as you heal, so all these things are temporary.
What It Feels Like To Wear Dentures That Fit After You Heal
Dentures that fit after you are already healed and adjusted to them feel amazing. You'll be so happy.
They feel like my real teeth. I know that sounds weird, but it's true. When I push on them with my finger, I feel pressure and sensation in my gums. That's how it feels to have real teeth, since all your nerves are in your gums and that's where you always feel your teeth. I hardly ever call them my "fake" teeth, I refer to them as my "teeth" all the time. I used to think about them and how weird they felt all the time and now I barely give them any thoughts because they feel so natural.
The dentures do not feel huge anymore. They feel very comfortable and like they take up just the right amount of room in my mouth.
I don't drool anymore. I can talk normally. I can taste everything. I can sense when things are hot and cold, although they can't burn the roof of my mouth anymore and I can't get brain freeze anymore (because the roof of my mouth is covered.) So the heat and cold, I mostly feel in my cheeks and on my tongue rather than the roof of my mouth. This is fine with most foods and doesn't bother me, but it makes ice cream weird, so a lot of people with dentures might eat their ice cream without teeth (which is easy to do since it's soft!)
I can feel the plate still on the roof of my mouth and that might sound weird, but it doesn't bother me. Sometimes I play with it with my tongiue. It's more like entertainment to me now.
I also sometimes click my teeth together as entertainment. People without dentures will never get why people with dentures do this, so only do it when you're alone. It feels like I have a finger clicker inside my mouth and it's so satisfying to hear them click together. My teeth never click together on accident, only on purpose.
For the first twenty minutes of wearing dentures in the morning, my mouth has to adjust to how they feel, so I can't just put my teeth in and eat right away. I have to put my teeth in awhile before I eat, but I can eat right away if I need to, they're just a little unstable and awkward if I do.
The only things I "hate" about my dentures that I wish didn't happen are all things I could easily fix if I used denture glue, but I refuse to, so these things might never even happen to you if you use denture glue like a normal person does. I've never been normal, though.
Anyway, the two things I hate is when I am coughing/sneezing, sometimes my upper denture tries to fly out of my mouth. I easily deal with this by covering my mouth when I cough and sneeze and pulling my lip down with my hand as I do so. My upper lip holds it in place when I do this, but there are still moments when unexpected coughing and sneezing happens and my dentures try to fly out of my mouth.
The other thing I "hate" is when I take too big of a bite of food or chew something really chewy, sometimes my dentures will flop out of place and then my mouth is a big mess. Food is under my denture and my teeth are on top of it and I just have to spit everything out and sort through it and put it back in my mouth the "right" way. This is pretty much impossible to do in public, but so far this hasn't happened to me yet in public. People would probably think it is gross because you're taking out your fake teeth and half-chewed food.
But this very rarely happens and it only happens when I'm being careless, so it's not a big deal.
I also don't like when I'm eating popcorn and the kernels get stuck under my dentures and stab me, but pretty much I only eat popcorn at a movie theater (which has no lights) or at home, so I can always take my teeth out in either situations and run my tongue across my gums to fix it or pick a kernel off my denture.
You might be freaked out by the things I just listed, but they are really not a big deal. You're too busy thinking about how awesome it is to be able to chew everything and how awesome it is to never have teeth pain anymore. You're also preoccupied with the fact that you never have to see a drill at a dentist again and how you could probably impress people by drinking a whole Slurpee really fast without getting brain freeze. (It's a super power!)
What Dentures Feel Like Right After A Reline
Relines are the best. It's like you've given your dentures super suction power. Sometimes it's so strong that you have trouble pulling them off and putting them back on. But right after a reline, you can pretty much cough, chew a giant bite of food, or do anything and they stay right in place.
The only bad part is that they taste weird for a couple of days, but it's not that bad and it goes away completely.
What Dentures Feel Like When They're Too Loose
When they're too loose, you need a reline.
Basically, you'll need your denture glue more when they're too loose or if you're like me, you won't use denture glue and just deal with all the annoying things about loose dentures directly.
Before my first reline, I desperately needed a reline. What it felt like was that my lower dentures were flopping around more, I was sometimes choking on my dentures when I put them on, and my upper dentures would slide downwards when I opened my mouth.
It was also harder to eat certain foods.
But get a reline and it fixes everything!
What It Feels Like To Drink With Dentures
When your dentures are loose at all, the bottom denture may rise while you drink. This also might happen if you take a really big gulp of something.
The sensation doesn't really bother you, even though it may sound weird. It always makes me picture a river and how the water flows through all the different cracks of a river.
But most of the time, if your dentures fit, they don't do this. If you're having problem with this sensation and don't like it, then press your teeth together when you drink and only open your mouth. Even if they are really lose, they will stay in place. I take big gulps of water this way and it works great.
The only time drinking was weird was the first day of wearing dentures. At first, your mouth thinks it's trying to swallow the dentures, so drinking makes you feel a bit like you're choking. But you quickly adjust to it and this stops being the case.
What It Feels Like To Chew With Dentures
Everyone always says you need to chew on both sides of your mouth. I alternate between the two sides, so I don't get mouth sores, but ultimately, people are lying when they say you need to do this. I have no idea how to chew on both sides of my mouth simultaneously. I've been wearing dentures for two months now and eat pretty much anything I want. I take bigger and bigger bites all the time as I get used to the dentures, although you have to take small bites at first.
The only thing you really need to do/remember is to switch sides that you are chewing on and not take bigger bites than your mouth can currently handle.
At first you can only handle small bites, but then you graduate to bigger.
Taking bites out of sandwiches is difficult. You can't take a bite with your front teeth, you bite with your teeth a little to the side instead and it feels like, sometimes, the food is going to rip your teeth out of your mouth, but you get better at it over time. But taking bites out of huge things, like sandwiches so big that you'd have difficultly wrapping your mouth around it, might be impossible. Just use a fork and knife though and you'll be fine.
In the beginning, it feels really weird and unnatural to chew, but over time you adjust to it and it starts feeling completely natural.
If you're scared by any of these things I listed, it's most likely because they're different and the unknown is frightening, but they really aren't that scary. I just want to tell you what to expect, so it's easier to deal with it when it happens. Don't let your fear dictate your life. Dentures can improve your health a lot.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2016 EB Black
roger j leveillee on November 23, 2018:
i've had full dentures since 2015. i am 68 years old. i lost my first to at 19. i got a one tooth partial. as time went on i kept loosing more teeth. in 2013, i got partial dentures. six on the top and bottom. my bottom front teeth needed work. i asked about crowns, but they would not gaurantee them. i knew that if i lost any more teeth that my partials could not take them. i decided that it was time for full dentures. i went to a denture clinic. they made the dentures and sent me to their oral surgeon for the extractions and inserting the dentures. in 2016, i got my permanants. i have never been so happy with them.
EB Black (author) from U.S.A. on September 01, 2018:
Luwona - Thanks so much for posting and I'm glad my article could give reassurance. This is exactly why I made it because dentists/doctors are TERRIBLE at reassuring their patients. My father is a lawyer and he says it's because they all don't want lawsuits. They don't want to promise you or reassure you that you will get better and that things will get easier just in case it doesn't turn out that way. They don't want you to hold them liable.
But what this leads to is depression in patients and hopelessness. It makes it harder for people to heal and adjust.
Did he do the reline yet? I hope he did and I hope it helped some of your discomfort.
I would call your insurance company about the permanent denture thing. It varies person to person and depends on what your insurance company covers. Sometimes they won't cover a temporary so you only get a permanent, but usually in those cases, they don't make your denture right when you wake up. They wait awhile for you to heal some first.
Secondly, if you do not trust this dentist, then don't let him fool you into thinking that he's the only one that can help you. They always do that and when they aren't trustworthy or aren't a good fit for you, then that can lead you to feeling helpless.
Because if you get the screws put in and stuff, that's more permanent and you don't want someone you don't trust to do that surgery. Shop around. See other dentists. Find someone nicer that you feel you connect with and can trust more.
The screw procedure will indeed completely fix the flopping around. I know people who have gotten it. The denture will no longer move AT ALL if you get that procedure. So have hope that if worse comes to worse you can get that done.
He's lying to you when he says you just have to "deal" with the flopping around. I do think your mouth will adjust some to the dentures and once that happens, they will stay in place better. But if you are a candidate for the screws and you still need adhesive, then he didn't give you a good fit, no matter what he says.
I don't use ANY adhesive and while I do have some issues occasionally with food getting under it, it isn't a big deal. Because my dentures fit me well.
What I suggest is eating what is easy for you to eat right now. Like stick to mashed potatos or cake or mac and cheese or eggs. Very, very soft things, but things you like because you need your spirit boosted. You need to feel like you can still enjoy eating, even how things are now. Take out your dentures to eat (for now, this isn't permanent you are still adjusting) if you need to. And give yourself time to figure this all out and think about it.
Don't let the dentist panic you by his demands that you get over your problems right now. Join the facebook groups I linked to. Complain all you want and swap experiences with other people. And realize you are still healing and that you have a lot of options beyond this dentist.
I'm so sorry you are struggling so much, but I hope all these things will help you keep up your spirits.
Luwona on August 31, 2018:
Thank you for this blog. I recently got bottoms extracted and have been dealing with new experiences of bottom Dentures. I have been terrified that I will have to live this way for the rest of my life. You have helped put me at a tiny bit more ease. My dentist just says everyone says the same thing I have said. He didn’t say it will go away. He just says I have to deal with it from now on.
I always put adhesive on before I eat. Food always gets under the denture and at the bottom of the denture. I try to dislodge bits and pieces with my tongue or fingers, thinking to myself, “geez! I can’t ever eat in public, again. Then there is food mixed in with the adhesive. It hurts, embarrassing and I have lost a ton of weight since the procedure, 5 weeks ago. I only eat to stay alive. I’m so miserable. A couple days ago, I went to get it filed down to relieve pressure points that make my gums very sore. He just told me that I have to deal with my complaints of food and the flopping around. Then at the end of the conversation, he said “I know what I can do for you,,, I’m going to put this liner on your denture and it will fill in the gaps.” He said it as if it was a remedy that just popped into his head. I just looked at him like I want to freakin pull your head off. Of course I want something to keep them from flopping around. I guess this is considered the reline?
I am wondering about what you said about permanent denture. My dentist said this original is my permanent denture. Is that accurate? At this point, I don’t trust my dentist. I feel like I’m getting the express lane treatment ( maybe it’s just me feeling overwhelmed and whiny).
Next question... I have the option of having this bottom denture screwed in with 2 screws (again, he said it will be with this original denture). Will that keep it from flopping and keep food from getting under it? Or is that a never ending thing? The installation of the screws are another 3000.00. I hate the adhesive. I have to reapply, at least three times a day.
EB Black (author) from U.S.A. on February 05, 2018:
What happens when you eat with your bottom teeth in?
I'm not a dentist and I don't know what your ridges look like, but it sounds like you have poor fitting dentures. It shouldn't be that easy for them to fall out, especially with glue.
Did the reline help at all?
What happens when you drink hot things? Does it mess up the glue or something?
I do think this CAN get better with your permanents if your dentist knows what he is doing and gives you a good fit. I'm assuming you have no problems with your ridges or your dentist would have told you that you did, right? So this sounds like your dentures were made incorrectly, to be honest.
Also, over time, your lips build muscle that helps keep the denture more in place. With my temporaries, my dentures would "float" when I drank liquids. They never, ever do that with my permanents.
I do think it will get better for you when you get your permanents and your mouth adjusts, but if it doesn't, see a new dentist who can get you better fitting dentures. Good fitting dentures are worth any price you need to pay for them because they can last a life time.
Loretta R. on January 31, 2018:
Hi, I'm a 52 year old female who has always had soft teeth, and have always hated my smile. Always wanted that pretty smile. Well on February 14, 2017 I had All of my top teeth extracted, a most harable experience, then on Feb. 24, 2017 I went to another dentist and had most of my bottom teeth extracted, (he left me four in front with 4 spaces between and one in the very back. So when I left the second office I had a full top set and a partial on the bottom. Went back in three months and had a feline and now it's time to go back for my perminate set. I'm unsure of what to expect with the tweet I have now I can't eat anything with the bottom teeth in, I have to remove them and it is very embarrassing , I can't drink anything hot and have to be very careful of eating hop things or my dentures will fall. I do use denture glue and I hate it. What I'm trying to ask is can I drink hot coffee when I get my perminate dentures in a few weeks?