Getting dentures, (full or partial) can take a bit of getting used to, even for experienced denture wearers. I tell my patients that it takes 30 days to transition through this adjustment period and requires practice, perseverance and patience.
When you first start out, two of the most troubling sounds to conquer are words with the letters ‘S’ or ‘F’. Repeating words that include the letters ‘S’ , ‘Th’ or ‘F’ really help so does repeating the numbers 66 and 67.
Before tackling a difficult word, try biting down and swallowing just before you are about to speak. This helps get the dentures in place and slows things down so you can think about managing the new dentures in your mouth while you are speaking.
Definitely the fastest way to become a pro is to practice, practice and practice some more – before you venture out into a social situation. If setting aside practice time is a challenge, here are our tips:
Remember when you practiced presentations in front of the bathroom mirror? Check yourself out, but this time pay special attention to your lips, tongue and dentures. This way you’ll be able to make any adjustments to pronunciation while you’re listening to yourself.
After several days of bathroom chatting, it’s time to practice with a friend so you’ll get feedback and can tweak any problems or errors. Otherwise, you may find yourself improving but only to your own ears!
Beginning with the newspaper, reading aloud is a great way to practice with your new dentures, whether it’s to yourself, a friend or family member. And it could be your favourite book, or something challenging such as Shakespeare, poetry or tongue twisters which help expand your range of practice words.
Family members are great to practice with. Because they know you so well, they can anticipate much of what you’re going to say which can give you a confidence boost when you're first starting out, when it can feel like two steps forward and then one step back.
Avoid the pitfall of allowing your loved ones to talk for you and lose your incentive to practice harder to get your speech perfect.
And take a lesson from Hollywood.
Actor Jonah Hill, who played Danny Azoff in The Wolf of Wall Street. had to sport a new set of massive, snow-white veneers for this part. The problem was, when he said his lines he spoke with a lisp.
His speech coach told him not to worry and to simply practice a couple of hours daily. But with who? Hill said that he couldn’t find anyone to practice with, so he called the unsuspecting folks on the customer service lines. And it worked like a charm. Not only did he have to speak clearly and enunciate properly to be understood but he had to respond to in a real-live conversation.
If it worked for Hill, it can work for you.
So give yourself a break and give your tongue some time to learn some new songs for the shower! Go ahead, sing your head off!