Common Denture Problems and What to do About Them
Following is a list of possible causes for problems most often encountered by people who wear dentures. If you are suffering from any of these problems, or especially from a problem not listed here, call your dental professional.
Denture Slipping and Moving
Due to shrinkage of jaw bone and surrounding gum tissue, the gums and bone do not support the denture in speaking or chewing – Reline, rebase or replacement per a dental professional's recommendation.
Speaking Difficulties and Unwanted Sounds
Denture is not in proper position or does not stay in proper position - denture moves causing cheek and tongue to struggle to form words and control the denture – Reline, rebase or replacement per a dental professional's recommendation.
Difficulty Chewing Certain Foods
Some foods may never be 'easy to chew' with dentures, but lack of adequate chewing could be related to the alignment of your upper and lower denture(s), or your denture with natural teeth, this effects the "balance" of the denture on the tissues and muscles of the mouth. In combination with shrinkage of tissue, poor alignment creates improper denture function.
Lack of Suction / Adhesion
Bone and mouth tissue shrinks – original fit/contact of denture is lost; Dry Mouth (Xerostomia); caused most often by certain medications; without proper saliva, denture fit is not ideal due to the "seal" that moisture provides between denture base and tissue. Discuss with your dental professional.
Wrinkles Above / Around Lips or at Corners of Mouth
Denture has moved back in the mouth and no longer supports the lips. This may be due to bone loss and / or loss of skin elasticity (stretchiness) and moisture loss. See your dental professional to help determine the root cause.
Sore Spots in the Mouth
Pressure and / or rubbing is occurring in one specific area, usually a result of chewing (see Difficulty chewing certain foods) but may also be due to clenching of teeth or bruxism (grinding the teeth). Other causes may be hard foods (like small seeds) getting under the denture or denture teeth that need adjustment.
Soreness at corners of Mouth
Loss of vertical support for the denture (bone loss) can cause the mouth to "over-close." This can change the way the lips seal together and cause saliva to pool at the corners of the mouth. The excess moisture in this area may cause the skin to become irritated and may increase the risk of a candida (fungus) infection. The soreness may also be the result of a vitamin deficiency.
When Dentures Go Bad
With or without teeth, your mouth slowly changes as you age. But people who have no teeth on average lose 1/3 mm of jawbone height each year. Sometimes that loss is greater due to certain medical conditions such as osteoporosis. As our jawbone shrinks, so do our gum tissues (sometimes referred to as ridges). Ridges can shrink up to a quarter-inch in 10 years!
Your denture was made to fit firmly to the original shape of your oral anatomy. Now that shape has changed.
Often you don't notice the gradual receding of your gum tissues. But over time, your dentures loosen and become unstable, affecting you in any of a number of different ways. This is why dental professionals suggest you replace or refit your dentures every 5 to 7 years.
When teeth are lost and gum tissues shrink, some facial support is lost. This explains why people with no teeth often have deep wrinkles around the mouth and a sunken look to their cheeks and lower face.
To summarize, here are symptoms that may indicate the need for a denture reline or a new denture:
- On-going pain or sore spots
- The appearance of extra wrinkles around your mouth
- Your dentures click, whistle, slip or cause chewing problems
- Slurred speech
- You need to routinely use denture pads
- You or your loved ones begin to feel uncomfortable with the appearance of your dentures.
Even if you are not experiencing any of these difficulties, dental experts recommend you visit your dental professional annually. These visits give your dental professional a chance to give you an “oral check-up.” This is your dental professional's opportunity to make sure you don't have any symptoms of diabetes, oral cancer, gum disease or other diseases that often reveal themselves in the tissues of the mouth.
Your dental professional might recommend repairing or relining your existing denture. Many times, dental professionals have no choice but to recommend a new denture. If so, you may be surprised to discover how attractive today's teeth are. They are also less likely to wear or discolor. And modern denture base materials (the pink material supporting teeth) are very strong and durable.
And a new denture may:
- Help you look better by providing the support your lips need, and by giving your face and smile a more natural appearance.
- Help you speak clearly once again.
- Enhance your chewing ability, helping your body properly digest food and obtain the nutrition it needs.
- Help you feel better about yourself.
Dentures shouldn't hurt. They shouldn't slip, or click, or whistle. If any of the problems you are experiencing persist, the solution isn't more drug or grocery store remedies. An evaluation by your dental professional will determine the solution that's right for you.