Dealing with Damaged Dentures
Dentures are a common resolution for a person who loses all or many of his or her teeth. Though they do work well when treated properly by the denture-wearer, they can break from time to time.
According to David Allen, DMD, of W. David Allen Dentistry in Athens, GA, they can get damaged or break fairly regularly, especially if a person tends to chew on certain foods or candy. “They can bite something they shouldn’t be biting, or maybe there is a change in their bite, and, over time, it’s putting too much stress in on particular area,” Dr. Allen says.
Dentures will need to be relined or remade after being worn for a while, according to the American Dental Association. They may need to be replaced completely if they are loose and teeth look over-worn, which happens when the mouth naturally changes in the aging process.
For example, the ADA says gum and bone ridges can shrink and cause jaws to align differently, and it is imperative to replace loosely fitting dentures to prevent health issues in the future.
How to Handle Damaged Dentures
According to the ADA, a patient should not attempt to fix or adjust her dentures because they can be more seriously affected that way and possibly harm oral health by creating irritation and mouth sores.
Dentists provide patients with instructions about their dentures, including how long they should be worn, so it's important to pay attention to these guidelines.
Dentures are extremely delicate and can break when dropped just a few inches. The ADA recommends standing over a towel or soft surface when handling dentures and keeping them away from pets and kids.
The price to repair dentures depends on the severity of the damage. “If it’s a little crack, it’s not a big deal,” Allen says. “It would probably be $100 to a couple hundred dollars.”
The patient with broken or damaged dentures should see his dentist as soon as possible for issues including cracking or chipping of the dentures, as well as loosening of a tooth. Dentists can most often make the changes the same day the patient comes in, depending on severity of the damage.
According to the ADA, over-the-counter glue usually contains harmful chemicals and should not be used to fix damaged dentures.
Can You Avoid Denture Damage?
Allen says the trick to avoiding damaged dentures is to become mindful of the limitations. “It is a prosthetic; it’s a crutch,” he says. “All prosthetics have their limitations.”
Allen says people wearing dentures should stay away from items known to cause damage. “Diets will change, the way you chew changes according to basically which meals or foods people want to eat with their natural teeth,” Allen says. “Hard carrots, beef jerky, jaw breakers… all those things are too hard.”
Additionally, people need to take care of their teeth, even with full dentures. Before putting in dentures, the ADA recommends brushing gums, tongue and palate with a toothbrush with soft-bristles, which removes plaque and activates circulation in a person’s mouth. Proper nutrition is important for oral health as well, according to the ADA.
Like natural teeth, dentures need to be brushed daily to get rid of plaque and food remnants and prevent stains. There are toothbrushes made especially for dentures, too.
For denture cleaning, people can use hand soap, dishwashing liquids, or denture cleansers recommended by their dentists. However, any powdered household cleaning products should be avoided.
Dentures could lose their initial shape if they are left to dry out when they are not being worn. To avoid this, the ADA recommends storing them in water or a denture cleanser solution.
Ultimately, dentists can recommend a specific type of denture repair, in addition to a cleansing and care process to cater to each patient’s needs.