Definition & Overview

Dentures are a cost effective means to replace missing teeth. They are designed to be durable but they are not quite as tough as natural teeth or dental implants. Biting on something hard or accidentally dropping them on the floor can cause damage. It’s also possible that one or more of the false teeth in a denture could become misaligned due to excessive pressure or wear and tear.

Broken or misaligned dentures can cause a variety of oral problems. They can irritate the gums and cause sores that could become infected and result in severe problems. Denture problems need to be fixed by a dentist or a dental laboratory technician. Typically, the broken dentures will be sent to a dental laboratory where a trained technician will perform the required repairs. However, the dentist will inspect the problem first and provide the technician with instructions on how the dentures must be repaired or adjusted.

Who Should Undergo & Expected Results

It’s a standard practice for dentists to inform their patients on how to properly maintain their dentures especially if it is their first time to wear such dental appliance. Unfortunately, even though dentures are well maintained, they can wear down over time. Also, there are cases where changes in the jawbone structure result in the denture becoming loose, resulting in a variety of problem for the wearer. Loose dentures are not only uncomfortable, but can also be a nuisance, especially if they keep falling off while speaking or eating a meal.

If you’re having any problem at all with your dentures, you should consult your dentist so that the problem can be fixed. The dentures may need adjustment if they become too uncomfortable to wear, or a broken part may need to be repaired. If the denture can no longer be repaired or adjusted to fit your gums properly, it will likely need to be replaced with a new one.

Fortunately, repairing a denture should not take much time. In fact, some repairs will only take around an hour and they shouldn’t be expensive. However, if the dentures can no longer be repaired or adjusted and must be replaced, you can expect to pay more and to wait a couple of weeks for the replacement.

How Does the Procedure Work?

If a denture has been newly fitted, adjustments will need to be performed until the fit is perfect and your bite is normal. It’s important to understand that because the natural teeth are missing, the jawbone has a tendency to shrink. The acrylic portion of the dentures covers the gums as comfortably as possible, but because of the gap created by missing teeth, the gums may change in size.

Additionally, the gums may be soft in some areas and hard in others, which would also make the dentures feel uncomfortable. The dentist will only need to create simple adjustments until the dentures fit comfortably.

If the denture is broken, it will need to be repaired. The actual repair work done on the denture will depend on the problem. If the denture has missing or broken pieces, the laboratory technician will be able to replace them, but the procedure may not be as simple as it would seem. In order to replace missing pieces on a denture, the laboratory technician will need the original shape to cast a mould.

If the pieces are available, the technician will be able to glue them together and the repair will be done in no time. Otherwise, the dentist will need to create another impression. If the denture is chipped or split in half, the technician will be able to glue them together and apply another layer of acrylic to repair any chipped portions. Some technicians even strengthen the denture by inserting a small metal rod between the split pieces before gluing them together.

Possible Risks & Complications

If a dentist or dental technician performs the repairs, there shouldn’t be any complications or risks. The dentist will ensure that the repairs are perfect and that the dentures are adjusted properly before you leave the clinic.

However, if you attempt to perform the repairs on your own or have an unqualified person do it for you, there could be a number of complications.

There are a number of DIY kits available in the market, which dentists certainly do not recommend to their patients. Although the materials in a DIY kit are similar to those used in a dental laboratory, repairing broken dentures require specific skills. Attempting to fix the problem on your own may do more harm than good. Unfortunately, repairing botched repair work will be difficult or may not be possible at all for dentists or dental technicians. In such cases, the dentures will need to be replaced and this will cost you more.

Chemicals, such as industrial sealants and adhesives should never be used when gluing dentures together as these chemicals are toxic and may burn the mouth or create other problems.

References:

  • Stevenson RB. Denture Care. J Am Dent Assoc. 2011;142(6): 596-8
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