Is there a benefit to knowing how long dentures last? Whether you are contemplating or already have dentures, knowing the expected lifespan of your denture and how you might extend it, can help you get best value for your money. What’s not to like about that? In this article we look at dentures made from acrylic, cobalt chrome, or some flexible compound, in both a full, and partial denture configuration. Because everyone’s situation and clinical needs are unique, we can only estimate the lifespan for each denture option. We also briefly outline the lifespan of implant retained dentures and how to maximise their longevity. To begin, we give an estimated life expectancy range for each denture type, keeping in mind that every denture wearer is different depending on factors mentioned above.
How long do acrylic dentures and immediate dentures last?
With good care and proper maintenance an acrylic denture can last between 5 and 7 years. While the acrylic immediate denture has the same makeup as a normal acrylic denture, the patient’s changing oral landscape will require the immediate denture to be relined, perhaps several times, to ensure fit as the oral tissue recovers and the gums recede. So, while the denture may not wear out as such, eventually it will become incompatible with the patient’s changing mouth. Therefore, it is recommended an immediate denture be replaced after 2 years.
How long do chrome cobalt dentures last?
A chrome cobalt denture overall has a longer lifespan than an acrylic denture lasting between 5 and 10 years with good care and regular maintenance. The chrome-cobalt denture's metal frame, on the other hand, can endure up to 20 years assuming it still fits.
How long do flexible dentures last?
The lifespan of a flexible denture is between 2 and 5 years. Because of the durable material of which they are made, flexible dentures are less prone to breaking, so accidental damage is minimal compared to conventional dentures.
How long do partial dentures last?
Your partial denture may not last as long as its full denture cousin even though it is made from the same material. This is because a partial denture relies upon the continuing health of adjacent teeth to which it is fixed. Therefore, if you lose these teeth, your partial denture will require additional teeth added. Partial dentures by their very nature are structurally more vulnerable to damage or breaking unless particular care is taken when handling them.
Factors that impact on how long dentures last
Having a good denture maintenance program will ensure you get the most from your denture. Cleaning your denture twice a day, resting your mouth and dentures overnight, and having regular denture checks are essential measures for extending the life of your denture. Because your bite changes overtime, periodic adjustments need to be made. During a denture check, your prosthetist will examine it for fit and structural integrity, making corrections as needed for looseness to avoid unnecessary breakages and oral discomfort. The denture check can also include the removal of plaque from your denture. Bacterial build-up caused by plaque and calculus can not only discolour your denture, but with time cause it to warp and become brittle. If it’s a partial denture, the condition of your surrounding teeth must be maintained otherwise they can adversely affect the denture and shorten its life. Ill-fitting dentures can also impact negatively on your general health and quality of life. Regular relines, repairs and adjustments will prolong the life of your denture if it breaks, is loose, or is wearing out. Care must be taken when cleaning your denture to avoid damaging its delicate surface thus allowing the accumulation of harmful bacteria. Regular maintenance of your denture has the additional benefit of safeguarding your oral health and your overall well-being.
Your oral hygiene
Maintaining a healthy mouth and gums will not only make your denture more comfortable but also minimise wear on your denture. Poor oral hygiene can result in mouth ulcers, infection, and gum disease among other problems. This can affect the way you chew and bite causing uneven pressure on your denture, or overtime may cause receding gums or bone loss causing your denture to become loose and more susceptible to breakage.
Your bite registration
An uneven bite due to your upper and lower jaw misaligning, can cause your denture to wear more quickly. Undue pressure on the dentures caused by misalignment can make them more vulnerable to breakage and slippage. If you have an uneven bite, your prosthetist can compensate for this in your denture design.
Making the best denture choice you can afford
Choose the best quality your budget allows when first deciding on your denture. A well-designed denture will fit better and therefore be under less pressure. Some materials are stronger than others, take for example, a thermoplastic denture base which is stronger than an acrylic base.iii It goes without saying, not only do you want your dentures to last, but you also want them to look sensational. Some tooth materials are more resistant to wear and staining,iv and more closely mimic the natural translucency of healthy natural teeth.
Avoiding accidental loss and breakage
Taking simple safety measures when cleaning and storing your denture will help prevent accidental damage or loss. Dropping your denture on hard surfaces can result in cracks or even shattering. Speak to your prosthetist about labelling your denture so if it goes missing in a hospital or aged care facility, it can be identified as yours. Remove your denture in the event of a stomach upset. More people than you can imagine lose their dentures this way, sometimes even down the toilet.
Food, beverage, and lifestyle choices
Making sensible food choices will avoid extreme grinding or chewing of hard food which may damage your denture by exerting excessive pressure on the teeth or by warping the denture base to the point of breaking. The main stain and discolour offenders are red wines, coffee, and foods like beetroot and berries causing dentures to stain and discolour. This doesn’t mean you have to eliminate these items from your diet. Rinsing your denture immediately after consuming them will minimise any staining. A twice daily cleaning regime discourages harmful plaque and calculus build-up. Lifestyle habits like smoking tobacco, can leave a film of tar and nicotine on your denture giving it an unpleasant yellowish tinge. Smoking adversely affects oral health, delays healing and increases the risk of infection. None of these outcomes is good for denture wearers.
How long do implant retained dentures last?
Implant retained dentures have two components. The implanted posts and the denture they secure. A full or partialimplant retained denture has a similar lifespan as a conventional denture. However, the implant components may wear over time due to the constant removal and replacement onto the posts for cleaning, together with other lifestyle factors. Like the conventional denture, the implant retained denture is made of acrylic, and is subject to the same wear and tear of daily usage, including discoloration and staining. For this reason, the implant retained denture requires a similar maintenance program to the conventional denture, including periodic relining to increase fit and therefore longevity. In addition, normal denture maintenance as described above, is required to prolong the life of the denture component of this option. The same oral hygiene measures used for the retention and optimal health of natural teeth also applies to the implanted post component of these dentures. Good nutrition and regular dental checks are essential to avoid oral disease and implant failure. Bone loss, certain medical conditions, and pharmaceuticals can also shorten the implant lifespan.v
A final word on denture longevity
Prolonging the life of your denture not only saves you money but also keeps you looking good for longer. A well-maintained denture of any kind is pleasing in appearance without stains or discolouring. It is also more comfortable to wear. Being proactive in the maintenance of your denture and oral health by adopting good hygiene, denture maintenance and by making positive lifestyle choices can prolong the life of your denture, enhance your wellbeing, protect your health and stretch your budget. Now that’s something to smile about.
i Wendy C. Gregorius, Mathew T. Kattadiyil, Charles J. Goodacre, Clyde L. Roggenkamp, John M. Powers, Rade D. Paravina,
Effects of ageing and staining on color of acrylic resin denture teeth,
Journal of Dentistry,
Volume 40, Supplement 2,
ii Fayad MI, Alruwaili HHT, Khan MS, Baig MN. Bite Force Evaluation in Complete Denture Wearer with Different Denture Base Materials: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. J Int Soc Prev Community Dent. 2018 Sep-Oct;8(5):416-419. doi: 10.4103/jispcd.JISPCD_2_18. Epub 2018 Oct 8. PMID: 30430068; PMCID: PMC6187881.
iii Fayad MI, Alruwaili HHT, Khan MS, Baig MN. Bite Force Evaluation in Complete Denture Wearer with Different Denture Base Materials: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. J Int Soc Prev Community Dent. 2018 Sep-Oct;8(5):416-419. doi: 10.4103/jispcd.JISPCD_2_18. Epub 2018 Oct 8. PMID: 30430068; PMCID: PMC6187881.
iv Effects of ageing and staining on color of acrylic resin denture teeth,
Journal of Dentistry,
Volume 40, Supplement 2,
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