As denture-wearing people age, their dentures don't change, but their mouths do. In fact, your gum ridges and your jawbone can change quite a bit over time without having tooth root stimulation; so, what used to fit well originally may not fit so well today.
If you have false teeth, they should fit really well, be comfortable, and you should be wearing them more often than not during the day. If you're not wearing them as often, is it because they don't feel great anymore?
As we age, particularly without natural teeth in place, the gum ridges in our mouths can shrink, causing dentures to become loose. Bone can also shrink, causing your jaws not to line up properly. Loose dentures can cause sore spots in your mouth as well as stomach problems from not being able to chew food properly. A loose denture could also cause changes in your facial features.
Here are a few problems those loose fitting dentures may be causing . . .
You might not think about your dentures when you have a headache, but dental related issues often do, in fact, cause headaches. Pain easily spreads up and out from your mouth to your ears and head. Ever had a bad ear ache that seems to radiate through your entire jaw? A misaligned jaw is often at the root of a denture related headache (including TMJ and migraine headaches).
If you're noticing sore spots there are a couple of things that could be causing your troubles. Not properly cleaning your dentures can lead to fungal infections (denture stomatitis) and/or bacteria build up which can cause yeast to form and create painful sores.
In addition, an inaccurate bite from loose dentures can lead to localized sore spots on the gums as well as inflammation, raw spots, canker sores, and even bleeding as the ill-fitting dentures are rubbing against the soft tissues in your mouth.
If you wear dentures, you already know it took some time, practice, and patience to bite and chew with your new teeth. If your dentures are loose, it becomes very difficult to chew and even painful to eat at times. It may even cause you to take a lot longer to eat, cause a gagging and choking sensation when you're trying to eat, and even cause weight loss if your ability to chew is compromised long term.
Loose fitting dentures tend to move around when you talk, which can make carrying on a conversation quite difficult. A tell-tale sign of loose dentures is a clicking sound when you're trying to speak. It's also quite troubling to maintain your train of thought when you're concentrating on keeping your loose dentures in place.
When do dentures need to be replaced?
If your dentures are sitting in a drawer somewhere because they don't feel quite right, they're loose, or they're making sore spots in your mouth you should see your dentist. Have your dentures evaluated and possibly adjusted, relined, or remade. You don't necessarily need all new set of dentures. Relining is a great way to update dentures and keep them fitting comfortably.
Similarly, you can also get a tooth replaced in a set of dentures. If they're considerably worn out, chipped, or broken, speak to your dentist about having some new ones made to replace the old. Specific repairs are hard to cover in a blog post, but there are often answers that are more affordable than replacing your entire denture.
Caring for Your Dentures
It's also super important to keep your dentures in good shape by cleaning them regularly. Brushing your dentures (outside of you mouth) at least once a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove food and plaque is important. Cleaning your gums and your tongue is also important.
As for your dentures, they should be stored in room temperature water (not hot) or in a dental solution, never in that drawer somewhere. Remember, they're meant to be in a wet environment (your mouth).
It's also important to visit your dentist regularly to ensure they're fitting properly. Beyond fit, dentists are also looking for any signs of other issues common to denture wearers and are screening for signs of oral cancer. Your dentist can tell you how often you need to come in for check ups, but at least once a year at the minimum.
Why you Shouldn't Repair Dentures Yourself
Part of caring for your dentures is ensuring any troubles are corrected as soon as possible. If something cracks or break, contact your dentist asap and get on the schedule. Sure, they make denture repair kits you can buy nearly anywhere, but just because they make them doesn't mean it's a good idea to DIY your denture repair.
If you're really in need of a temporary repair at home, go with one of the kits from the drug store and ensure it's FDA approved and labeled for dental work. Some over-the-counter products contain chemicals that can actually harm your dentures and cause even more damage.
It is always the best option to call the dentist office for any denture repairs. Dentists use dental materials that are made specifically for dentures and only available to dentists. Then there's that whole experience thing. They have the tools and know the tricks of the trade from doing it for a living.
With proper care and regular office visits your dentures should last you a long, long time. Take good care of them and when you have any issues, come see us and we'll treat you like family. We'll let you know what your options are and tell you when and if your dentures really should be replaced.
It may also comfort you to know we have modern technology and all the best dentistry tools here in the office. We are all about making your visit as pleasant as possible as well as evaluating and matching your specific needs to the best of our abilities.
Give us a call and we'll help you determine if your dentures are fitting like they should!