Dentures, otherwise known as false teeth, are removable replacements for missing teeth and gums. Depending on the number of teeth a patient needs replacing, dentures can either be full (a complete set of teeth) or partial (just a couple). If you’re struggling with problems associated with loose or missing teeth – such as difficulty eating and drinking, trouble talking, or simply a lack of confidence – your dentist may well suggest you get replacements. But what should you do if your new teeth don’t fit properly?
Dentures are always custom made for the patient, based on moulds that will determine the size, shape and arrangement of your mouth. In theory, this means they should always fit perfectly. Although they may take some getting used to at first. They should never be painful or slide around on your gums.
Ill-fitting dentures can cause soreness, swelling and even an increased risk of infection – so if you’re noticing problems, it’s best to contact your dentist as soon as possible to check if you need to get your prosthesis refitted.
At Crescent Heights Dental, we’re committed to ensuring our patients’ teeth are in the best condition they can be – and that includes their dentures. This post will explain the best steps to take if you don’t think yours are fitting correctly.
1) Give Yourself Time to Adjust
Getting new dentures can be a big adjustment. Although pain should always be a red flag, and we’d advise you to get it checked out as quickly as you can, many people initially find false teeth a bit awkward or uncomfortable. This is particularly the case for lower dentures. After all, while an upper prosthesis can stick to the roof of your mouth and stay in place thanks to suction, a lower prosthesis has to fit around your cheeks and tongue, which can easily push it out of place.
Some dentists like to make this comparison: if upper dentures are a pair of sneakers, lower dentures are a pair of flip-flops. They’re often much less secure and can take as long as a couple of months to adjust to. To speed up the adjustment process, we suggest you try some of the following:
- Buy some dental adhesive. This is a glue or paste that is used to hold dentures in place, helping them adhere to your mouth tissue. Evenly apply a thin layer of your chosen adhesive to your dentures, ensuring the surface is clean and dry, and press them onto your gum.
- Try some mouth exercises. Stick out your tongue and move it around – this will help you get used to holding your prosthesis into position without using your tongue to secure it.
- Build up to eating ‘proper’ food slowly. At first when you get your dentures, it’s best to limit your diet to soups, stews, and other soft foods that don’t require too much chewing. Once your mouth, jaw and tongue have adjusted to wearing your false teeth, you can start to reintroduce more solid food. (Trust us – you don’t want to tackle an apple too quickly!).
- Practice chewing. To practice chewing without the danger of damaging your dentures or gums on hard and crunchy surfaces, consider buying some denture-friendly chewing gum. Brands such as Freedent, for example, sell gum that’s specially designed not to stick to dental work.
2) Check Your Dentures For Fractures
In general, your dentures should last for about five to seven years before you need to think about having them replaced. If they seem to fit your gums correctly but you’ve noticed a problem with the alignment of the teeth, there might be a fault such as a small crack or fracture.
The false teeth in a set of dentures are usually made of porcelain or plastic (such as acrylic). Although these materials are designed to endure a certain amount of wear and tear, it’s possible to chip them just as it’s possible to chip a real tooth. Unsurprisingly, the likelihood of this happening increases the longer you’ve had your prosthesis.
The good news is that minor problems with your dentures are usually straightforward to fix. A good dental lab should be able to resurface or repair your false tooth within a couple of days, so it’s always best to get in touch with your dentist as soon as you notice a problem. In case of emergencies, or if you need a quick fix, it’s also possible to buy denture repair kits at most drugstores or online – but this should really be a stop-gap before you can arrange a dental appointment.
3) Contact Your Dentist
Your dentist should always be your first port of call whenever you experience problems with your dentures. If your dentures are too painful for you to wear them, you won’t ever be able to get used to them – which totally defeats the purpose of you having them.
If your dentures are a couple of years old, and used to fit perfectly but have started to feel uncomfortable, it could mean it’s time to have them refitted. Studies suggest that patients with missing teeth experience a higher rate of bone loss (otherwise known as bone atrophy) in their jaw, sometimes as much as 1mm every year. Eventually, usually every five to seven years, this means your mouth will change shape and your dentures will need to change shape to match.
For some people, being fitted for new dentures every few years is a major inconvenience – not to mention an ongoing expense. If you’re tired of battling badly fitting dentures, it’s worth remembering that there are other options out there, such as dental implants, which are a permanent solution to tooth loss.
Whether your dentures are brand new or a couple of years old, contact us today if you think there might be a problem.