Why did my denture break?

Broken denture

When your denture breaks, it’s not just an inconvenience, it can be a major interruption to your lifestyle, not to mention your finances. Of course, dentures can be repaired or replaced, but ideally not breaking them in the first place would be the perfect situation.

What follows in this article is some scenarios where your denture might break and what you might do to resolve or even avoid the situation.

Care when cleaning your denture

One of the most common ways people break their dentures happens when they remove them for cleaning. Placing them on a hard surface where they can be knocked off or holding your denture over a porcelain sink with wet slippery hands are accidents waiting to happen.

Remedies: Using a folded hand towel or face washer in the sink while brushing, ensures the denture falls onto a soft surface if it happens to slip through your fingers.

Be sure to place your denture in its case when it’s not in use and be mindful of where you set it down when cleaning your mouth.

Talk to your dental prosthetist if you are in the habit of dropping and breaking things. More robust, ‘high impact’ acrylics can be used to make your denture.

Old dentures

Nothing lasts forever. Not even your denture. As your denture ages, from approximately five years on, the acrylic material from which it is made becomes porous allowing bacteria to breach the barrier and break down chemical bonds. A weakening of the acrylic material results making it more prone to breaking.

Remedy: When this happens, it’s time for a new denture.

Too many denture repairs

Like most things, dentures cannot be repaired ad infinitum. With each successive repair, the denture becomes progressively weaker. This is because the original construction of the denture involved heat cured acrylic which forms stronger chemical bonds. Subsequent repairs must be undertaken with less robust, cold cured acrylic making them more susceptible to breakage.

Remedy: The solution to this problem is having new dentures made.

Partial dentures

Breakage of partial dentures can result when changes in your natural dentition occur. Natural teeth are constantly shifting creating changing pressures on your denture. Denture breakage can result if these forces become excessive.

Remedy: Your prosthetist may be able to adjust your denture to mitigate the uneven pressures. If an adjustment isn’t an option, a new denture may be required.

Ill-fitting dentures

The same situation can apply if your denture no longer fits snugly in your mouth. Constant flexing of an unsupported partial denture or rocking of the denture when you chew and bite, increases the risk of breakage.

Remedy: In this case, your prosthetist may recommend an adjustment or a denture reline of your denture to restore the fit and alleviate flexing. In some cases, a new denture is required.

Poorly designed denture

Dentures are generally designed and crafted to have adequate strength required for normal everyday wear and tear. However, wearing dentures that are poorly designed or incompatible with your mouth can cause them to fail and ultimately break.

Remedy: In some cases, the denture can be altered to remedy the situation. However, in other cases a new denture is the only solution.

Inserting denture incorrectly

The metal clips (clasps) which secure your partial denture to your natural teeth can bend or break as a result of shrinking gums making the denture flex when eating, or when excessive pressure is exerted on the metal clasps because of poor fit or persistently inserting the denture into your mouth incorrectly.

Remedy: Always seat the partial denture into its correct position in your mouth using your fingers only. Attempting to ‘bite’ the denture into position places unnecessary force on the clasps forcing them to follow a path not designed for them which may cause them to become loose or break. Read our article 'How to insert and remove a partial denture' for more information.

Do not attempt to bend the clasps back into place yourself. Your prosthetist will do this for you in the correct way. He or she can also replace broken clasps.

Regular denture maintenance and denture relines will ensure a good denture fit and help avoid broken clasps.

Broken denture teeth

Lost or broken denture teeth occur most commonly because of trauma, or normal wear and tear as your denture ages. Very occasionally the cause can be the result of faulty manufacturing processes.

Remedy: Generally, replacing lost or broken teeth is relatively simple and not an expensive nor time-consuming exercise for dental professionals. Many denture clinics offer same day service for simple denture repairs.

Dentures manufactured overseas are not subject to the same regulations as Australian made products. What may seem like a cost saving at the time, can result in expensive repairs and replacements.

With a little care and forethought, you can expect to get the most from your dentures. Having a yearly maintenance program can often mean avoiding problems like ill-fitting dentures before they develop. Cracks can be detected, and small repairs made before becoming problematic.

Regular denture relines maintain a snug fit and prolong the life of your denture. Taking preventative measures when cleaning and storing your dentures can avoid unfortunate and inconvenient accidents.

What not to do when your denture breaks

Warning: Do not attempt to repair your denture yourself. Use of incorrect glues can be harmful to your health and often unsuccessful, costing you more in the long run for repair because of the need to remove unsuitable glues.

Further, if you incorrectly position the tooth your bite may be negatively affected causing discomfort and ill fit.

In summary

Your dentures represent a considerable financial investment in your appearance, lifestyle and health. It makes good sense to look after them. Where possible, prevention is always better than cure.


Disclaimer – Always consult your oral health professional for expert advice about your unique personal situation. The information given here is of a general nature and for the purpose of education only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your oral health specialist


Northern Rivers Denture Clinic is located in the heart of Tweed Heads, southern Gold Coast. Finally have the smile you deserve with handcrafted, quality dentures.

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