Dentures are an affordable solution to missing teeth — whether you’re replacing a single tooth, a set of teeth or all your teeth. These devices look great, usually have high function, and don’t cost an arm and a leg. And they are more affordable than dental implants.
Except that sometimes they don’t fit. In fact, poorly fitting dentures are quite common. When dentures fit poorly, they are uncomfortable and can damage your gums. There are several reasons dentures stop fitting correctly, and they’re all things your oral surgeon expects and views as completely normal.
Let’s look at some reasons for why your dentures fit poorly, what that means for your overall mouth and comfort, and what you can do about it.
Dentures Can Warp
Dentures are known to sometimes warp overtime because of age or maintenance issues. Dentures need proper care to last a long time. They need to be cleaned in lukewarm water. If dentures aren’t stored properly, they can warp — which will cause them to fit poorly. If you don’t store your dentures in water and keep them damp, they will dry out, which can also change their shape. Be careful! Dry dentures can also break easily.
Another mistake some of our patients make every so often is boiling their dentures to sanitize them. But just like that retainer you ruined in high school, you can’t boil dentures – their structure will be compromised and they’ll also definitely warp. Sanitize your dentures in a solution specifically for dentures, which is easy to find at any grocery store.
Your Jawbone May Be Receding
When we lose our teeth, our jawbone can change. Jawbone recession is actually quite common for extensive tooth loss. It can start immediately after tooth loss and will get worse overtime. When your dentures are resting on your gums on top of a receding jawbone, eventually they won’t fit right.
Once again, this is a natural process and something your oral surgeon expects – it’s just a part of having dentures. Of all the options for tooth replacement, they are the most affordable, but they’re also the most high-maintenance. If your dentures stop fitting because of jaw recession, they’ll need replaced.
Your Dentures May Just Be Old
Sadly, nothing lasts forever — this includes dentures. Over time, dentures can break or crack. Hairline cracks, bent clasps, and chips can impact how well dentures fit. Our mouths change, especially following tooth loss. Most dentures will last about 5 to 7 years before they need replacement, often because they fit poorly. Proper maintenance will help them last longer, but by nature a set of dentures is not a permanent solution to tooth loss.
Oral Health Issues
Health issues like diabetes, osteoporosis and other illnesses can change the shape of your mouth, which will affect how your dentures fit. Many oral medications can cause dry mouth, which can also impact your dentures. Plaque buildup also has an effect. That’s why it’s important to see a dentist regularly, even if you have dentures.
There are important structures in your mouth besides teeth – just because you’re missing some or all of them doesn’t mean you dental health isn’t still important. If anything, it’s arguably more important now, because dentures are mitigation instead of prevention.
The Health Impact of Poorly Fitting Dentures
When dentures start to fit poorly, you’ll notice:
- You’ll experience discomfort and pain in your mouth.
- There may be excessive noise when you eat — clangs and pops when the dentures rub together.
- You may have difficulty chewing.
- Loose fitting dentures can also affect the way you talk — they can be quite embarrassing.
- As time progresses, your gums may become flamed and irritated.
- You may develop blisters throughout your mouth. The scrapes, cuts, and blisters that develop can lead to infection.
- You may even experience ear pain because of the pressure that builds up overtime.
- Headaches are common with poorly fitting dentures.
- Go long enough with poorly fitting dentures, and an uneven bite can develop.
All these things can lead to serious, permanent damage if you just ignore it and live with uncomfortable, old dentures. Dentures that don’t fit can actually cause your jaw to atrophy. Your jaw doesn’t have the ability to form new tissue. If your dentures wear out your jaw, it literally dissolves because of the excess pressure.
What You Can Do About Poorly Fitting Dentures
First, see your dentist or oral surgeon regularly. They can make adjustments to your dentures to help them fit better. They can also help you decide when it’s time to get new dentures.
A word of caution: Never try to adjust your dentures by yourself. When your dentist adjusts your dentures, he or she uses special tools specifically for dentures and only available to dentists. Trying to adjust dentures yourself can result in a poor fit or damage them. Leave the job to a professional.
If your dentures aren’t fitting right, you could try denture adhesives to help your dentures stay in place and make them feel more secure. This should only be done for loose dentures and not as the go-to solution for poorly fitting dentures.
It may just be time to get new dentures. Talk to your dentist about when it’s time. Dentures aren’t made to last forever.
YDr. Puckett, for example, offers dental implants at a more affordable rate because of his special approach of oral surgery that prioritizes the patient over the insurance company. We’re in Wilmington, but many of our patients find we’re worth the drive from Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton because we can save them money while providing quality oral surgery. Affordable dental implants and cost-effective full mouth reconstruction can be a reality. Come in and see us!