What to do with damaged or poorly fitting dentures

Dentures are false teeth which are specially made to fit the mouth to replace missing teeth. They are convenient to wear and can restore confidence in the looks of an individual if correctly fitted. In addition, they make eating and speaking easier, but they need to be looked after.

The Australian Dental Prosthetists Association (ADPA) recommends that dentures should be brushed nightly. Poorly maintained dentures can create problems. Food remnants collecting underneath them can turn rancid, and bacteria feeding on such remnants can spread to adjoining oral tissue leading to an infection.

The shape of the gum lines may change over time and dentures are subjected to wear and tear, especially when patients bite down on partial dentures to fit them in place.  Dentures do not respond to changes in the shape of the mouth, so this may cause them to become ill-fitting or loose.

It is advisable to proactively look-out for signs that a denture is becoming loose. These may include difficulty in chewing or gum irritation. The dentist can fix the problem by applying new surface material to the base of the denture. Depending on the extent of the problem, the dentist can also replace the base of the denture or replace the denture outright with a new base and a new set of false teeth.

Dentures can become damaged if they are dropped, and attempt to repair them at home using over-the-counter adhesives is not only hazardous but can lead to irritation and sores in surrounding oral tissue. Most damages are due to chipping and cracking. Damage to the pink base of the denture requires prompt attention as this can injure the surrounding gums.

Fixing a damaged denture at home or incorrectly replacing them may cause harm or irreparable damage which may lead to expensive replacements. It is advisable to see a dentist for appropriate advice when a denture becomes ill-fitted or broken. The dentist can decide if the damage can be repaired in the dental office or if it will need to be sent off to a dental laboratory for repairs.

If the dentist is unable to fix the denture in the office, a dental laboratory with on-site technicians specially trained to make custom impressions and repair dentures will be on hand to do the job. They have access to professional-grade materials such as special acrylics and denture adhesives which are not easily available in the stores. A denture with chipped tooth may be repaired same day, but a cracked base would take a little longer to repair.