We often talk about how dental implants are “just like” natural teeth, but this is a slight exaggeration. They are very close to natural teeth, so close that you will come to think of them as your natural teeth, but at first, they can take a little bit of adapting to. Here’s why, and how we can help you get past it.
It’s a Full Set of Teeth Again
One of the most common reasons why people find All-on-4 feels strange is that it’s a complete set of whole teeth again. If All-on-4 was recommended for you, you probably had a very damaged, worn, or even partial set of teeth. Replacing these with a full set of teeth all of a sudden can take some getting used to. Think of how much of a difference it made just losing one or two teeth, and you’ll see why your new set of teeth can take some getting used to.
Your Teeth Are Anchored Again
If you’re moving from traditional dentures to All-on-4 implant dentures, you’ll find that it’s strange having your teeth anchored again. You are probably not aware of how much your chewing habits have changed as a result of wearing dentures, but once you get your implant dentures, your teeth are suddenly anchored again. You can begin relearning how to chew efficiently.
It’s a Dental Bridge, not Individual Teeth
Another reason why your All-on-4 might feel strange is that it’s a dental bridge instead of individual teeth. Instead of being many individual teeth, it’s four dental implants that distribute the force from the dental bridge into the jawbone.
And even the feel of dental implants is bound to be a little different. Your natural teeth aren’t actually anchored directly to your jawbone–they’re connected by a tough but stretchy piece of tissue called the periodontal ligament. This gives them some stretch and movement, even if your teeth are completely healthy. But dental implants are firmly anchored in the bone, so they don’t have the same give. This takes a little bit of getting used to.
You Have a Temporary at First
And, of course, it’s important to remember that you have a temporary restoration at first. This temporary may only be roughly fitted. It looks great. It functions well. It may not feel exactly right. And the truth is that even if it were fitted perfectly at first, your mouth can undergo dramatic changes at first, so it’s best to wait until these have occurred before fitting your final dental restoration so it can fit you perfectly for years and years to come.
How to Help Your New Teeth Feel Natural
So what do you do if your new teeth feel strange and it’s bothering you? Here are some tips:
Tell us: Most importantly, let us know if you’re being bothered by your restorations. There may be some adjustments we can make. And at the very least we can make sure to incorporate your concerns into our plan for the final restoration.
Practice: Just because they feel weird doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be using your new teeth. Using them helps you adapt to them, and if you keep practicing, you’ll probably find out that your new teeth feel natural in no time.
If you’re having difficulty speaking with your new dentures, practice by reading aloud or just speaking in front of the mirror. If you want to test your clarity, you can either wait for a telemarketer to call–or, better yet, a political survey–or call in to a help line for a product you own. If you can be understood easily over the phone, you are likely quite clear in person.
Patience: And it’s important to remember that these are temporary restorations. As your mouth heals and changes, you will likely notice changes in the fit and function of the temporaries. Your final restorations will fit and feel better, especially if you give us good feedback during the temporary period and while designing your permanent restorations.