9 Signs your denture needs replacing
When you decided to get dentures, you made a considerable investment in your health, wellbeing and appearance. It’s simply good sense to maintain and care for this financial and very personal investment. But nothing lasts forever, so how do you know when it’s time to replace your denture?
Dentures are not a ‘fit and forget’ device.
Your denture is fabricated from extremely durable materials, but even so, just like natural teeth it will eventually wear down from continuous use. Further, it’s important to understand that your mouth is a dynamic environment. Changes to your jaws and gums can affect the life and appearance of your denture. Once natural teeth have been removed there is a degree of shrinkage in the oral tissues creating an ongoing need for adjustment to your false teeth.
After reading this post you will be better informed about when you need to think about new dentures. Some of the following signs may simply mean adjustments are required. This is why regular denture check-ups with your dental prosthetist are essential to maintain and prolong the life and health of one of your most desirable assets – your smile.
9 signs your denture needs replacing
1. The age of your denture
Generally, you can expect your denture to last about 5-6 years, given there are no major mishaps or accidents. Getting the best from your denture is as easy as taking good care of it. This means regular check-ups with your dental prosthetist and making frequent self-examinations in-between visits.
2. Loose and ill-fitting denture
A classic sign that it’s time for a new denture is when it no longer fits as it once did. Perhaps you’re using denture adhesive where you didn’t need it in the past. Or maybe your loose denture is causing you to lisp or stumble over words because it flops about in your mouth. If you experience any changes in your speech patterns, check with your dental prosthetist. An adjustment might be all that’s required to rectify the problem, but it could also be a sign that a new denture is in order.
Changes in your facial structure, like an altered appearance of your cheeks or jawline, can also indicate the need for a new denture.
Regular denture maintenance involves getting a ‘denture reline’ where a thin coating is applied to the inside of the denture to restore a snug fit. When an old denture can no longer accommodate any further relines (maximum two to three times), you know it’s time for you to replace it with a new denture.
3. Damage to your denture
Broken teeth or chips and hairline cracks can be a sign your denture is nearing the end of its life. Similarly, if the metal or acrylic resin components are misshapen or deformed it means your denture requires attention or even replacing. The materials dentures are made of fade and become brittle over time, resulting in a weakening of the denture and loss of its aesthetic qualities. This makes them more prone to the pressure of biting, chewing or being more likely to break if dropped.
In the case of a severe fracture or where the denture has broken into pieces or been repaired numerous times, a complete replacement is usually required because the denture has been compromised.
Not only can this kind of degradation lead to loss of retention, support, and stability of your denture, but also to possible chronic tissue irritation/inflammation and plaque adherence. Even worse, your appearance will suffer. i
4. The wearing down of denture teeth
When denture teeth are worn down it’s time to replace your denture. Teeth made of acrylic resin are less durable than porcelain teeth which although more expensive, last longer. ii Worn teeth cause changes affecting the vertical dimension or space between the upper and lower jaw when closed, which can have undesirable structural and facial contour changes. According to some research, this can result in adverse effects like “joint and muscle pain, tension in functional speech, difficulty in swallowing, impaired chewing, tooth sensitivity due to traumatogenic forces, pathologic bone resorption, abnormal wearing of teeth, the appearance of an elongated face, and a facial expression of fatigue.” iii
5. Discomfort when biting and chewing
Perhaps you’ve noticed some discomfort when eating. Uneven wear on your denture can change your bite. Therefore, where once the pressure of eating was evenly distributed, over time it becomes unevenly concentrated pressure, causing sore spots and eventually in some cases, hastening bone loss. iv Head and neck pain may also be a consequence of ill-fitting dentures.v
6. Sore spots
Pressure sores are an uncomfortable consequence of ill–fitting dentures and a sign that something is amiss. Even though your dentures may have fitted perfectly when they were new, loss of jawbone and gum tissue density, together with the natural wearing of your denture surfaces, means changes are inevitable. Eventually, a new denture is required to accommodate those changes. Pressure sores are not only painful but if not addressed, can lead to oral infections.
7. Gathering of food under the denture
Food getting stuck beneath your denture is a sign it no longer fits snugly. While your dental prosthetist can often resolve this issue by adjusting your denture, it may also be a sign its replacement is due.
8. Discoloration or Odour
Your dental prosthetist can counteract some types of discoloration caused by foods such as coffee and beetroot. However, with age your acrylic denture will fade and lose its brightness, becoming more porous and therefore more likely to discolour. This doesn’t apply to chrome dentures or some flexible nylon denture materials. Read here to learn how you can deal with those pesky stains at home.
Together with odours that persist even after cleaning, the discolouration can be a sign that it’s time to have your denture checked. Over time an aging acrylic denture can develop tiny fissures which harbour bacteria–causing odours and even infection. vi
9. The potential impact of dental work on existing dentures
For those who have partial dentures, it’s important to be aware that any dental work you have done may negatively impact on your existing dentures. In some cases, partial dentures cannot be modified to accommodate the changes dental work has on the way your existing denturs fits. Further, anyone other than your dental prosthetist attempting to make adjustments can make matters worse and cause ‘rocking’ of the denture in your mouth. A new denture may be the only way to resolve the situation in these cases. With a little forethought and planning, this need not always be the case. Read here for further information on dental work and your dentures.
Some dental prosthetists offer free check-ups
Avoiding problems in the first place
The old adage ‘prevention is better than a cure’ is never truer than when looking after your denture. Don’t wait until something goes wrong. Practice good oral hygiene and care for your denture on a daily basis. Plan regular consultations with your dental prosthetist to check your denture’s health. Schedule check–ups for your denture every twelve months or ask your dental prosthetist about how regular these check–ups should be for you. Some dental prosthetists offer free check-ups. In between times, make a habit of examining your dentures for tell-tale signs they need attention.
Your smile depends on it.