How should a partial denture fit?

Depending on the condition of your dental health, you may need to wear dentures at one time to improve your smile, help you eat, or protect your gums.

However, the fact that partial and incomplete dentures are removable dental appliances implies that they will eventually get loose and become ill-fitting. But when you leave your dentist’s office the first time with your new dentures, a poor fit should not be a concern for the next few years.

While wearing dentures is a straightforward thing, getting them to fit is actually a rather intricate process that integrates three different types of fit: stability, retention, and support.

How Should A Partial Denture Fit?

A partial denture should fit comfortably and securely in the mouth, without causing any pain, discomfort, or slipping. It should be custom-made to fit the unique contours of the patient’s mouth and be adjusted to ensure a proper fit.

The denture should be held in place by the remaining natural teeth and gums, and the patient should be able to eat and speak normally without any issues. The bite should also be properly aligned, and the denture should not cause any jaw pain or soreness.

It is essential to maintain good oral hygiene by cleaning the partial denture daily and brushing and flossing the remaining natural teeth to prevent any decay or gum disease. Regular check-ups with the dentist are also important to ensure the partial denture continues to fit properly and to address any issues promptly.

Retention, stability and support in complete denture

For your dentures to feel comfortable in your mouth, they have to fit properly in the following three ways:

Retention in complete denture

This refers to the ability of your dentures to resist forces that try to pull them away from your gums and palate vertically. Retention largely depends on the seal created between your gums and dentures, which forms a vacuum that causes your dentures to stay in place.

To create the seal, you need to obtain accurate impressions of not only your gums and palate, where your dentures will rest, but also of the muscles in your mouth as they rest and move. Failure to obtain accurate measurements may cause the muscles to disturb the fit of your dentures.

Support in complete denture

This refers to the stability of your dentures when subjected to vertical forces pushing them towards your gums and other tissues. Well-made dentures are supposed to rest evenly on your gums and palate, but those with improper support may tilt or rock when you bite down.

Rocking dentures are a major nuisance. They can cause forces to be distributed unevenly on the palate, leading to excessive forces in some areas. The result is denture sores and rapid and uneven jawbone loss.

Stability in complete denture

This is the ability of your dentures to resist forces exerted from the sides. If your dentures are sliding sideways as you chew or talk, then they have poor stability. In some cases, this can be an indication of rapid jawbone loss.

Unstable dentures can lead to sores on the sides of your gums, and cause you to lose retention as the seal between your gums and dentures disappears. Ultimately, you will find it hard to chew or talk.

What if your dentures don’t fit properly?

Your upper dentures should adhere to your gums with a smooth suction. Your bottom dentures should easily stay in your mouth without slipping, even though they float over your gums. Additionally, partial dentures should not move significantly in relation to your natural teeth.

Your dentures might need some minor adjustments to reduce pain or discomfort if they don’t fit properly or if the fit changes suddenly. Additionally, getting the right fit is essential to getting rid of the uncomfortable pressure sores.

It’s important that you don’t attempt to adjust the fit of your dentures by bending them as this could cause cracks and ruin them. Simply schedule a visit with your dentist to get them adjusted as soon as possible.

Symptoms of ill-fitting dentures

Here are the common signs of ill-fitting partial and complete dentures:

Denture Slippage

The most noticeable symptom of ill-fitting dentures is certainly this. When you speak, eat, laugh, or sneeze, your dentures should not come loose or seem to be falling off of your mouth. If this happens, they might need to be realigned or replaced to fix the problem.

Denture Sores

Dentures can irritate the gums when they move and rub up against them if they don’t fit properly, causing the gums to develop denture sores. This is a huge warning sign that it’s time to think about getting dentures that fit better.

Denture discomfort and Pain

Although denture sores hurt, you may start experiencing discomfort from your dentures long before the sores appear. This discomfort may be brought on by shifting dentures, but it may also result from dentures that fit tightly and cause an unequal distribution of biting pressures, subjecting some areas of your mouth to significantly more force when you chew. Your dentist will use a Tekscan digital bite registration to precisely demonstrate how the bite force is being distributed by your present dentures, and ascertain that high pressure spots line up with the area of pain.

Eating Difficulties

Although you will have to adjust your diet and avoid some of the foods you used to enjoy when you had natural teeth, it should still be possible to consume most of them with correctly fitted dentures. Eating difficulties tend to occur when you have denture fitting issues. The moment you receive your dentures, make sure to examine them to ensure they fit comfortably before leaving the clinic.

Unusually dirty dentures

Some food residue on the outside of your dentures is normal, but if you start to notice that there are increasingly more food particles and other sorts of residue on the inside, your dentures may not be fitting properly. They ought to make a solid seal to stop particles from entering the denture.

Mouth Infections

You run a higher risk of developing infections associated to dentures, like yeast infections, when food, bacteria, and fungus start getting beneath the denture due to an improper fit. Your gums may get inflamed and swollen everywhere they come into touch with your dentures as a result of this. Be sure to clean your dentures thoroughly if you experience any infections. It might be time to obtain new dentures if they continue to occur.

How to adjust dentures at home

Many people initially find false teeth unpleasant or uncomfortable. However, this doesn’t mean that wearing them should be painful.

Denture pain should be considered a warning sign that needs to get checked out as soon as possible, especially in the lower denture. This is because a lower prosthesis must fit around your cheeks and tongue, which can easily force it out of place, unlike an upper prosthesis that relies on suction to the roof of your mouth to stay in place.

Adjusting to new dentures can take up to several months, but you can significantly shorten this period by applying the following tactics:

Use dental glue

Dentures are held in place with the help of denture adhesive or paste, which also helps them adhere to the tissue in your mouth. Apply your preferred adhesive evenly on your dentures, making sure the surface is dry and clean, and then press them against your gums.

Mouth exercises

Stick out your tongue and move it around – You can become acclimated to holding your prosthesis in place without using your tongue by performing this simple exercise.

Gradually increase your intake of “appropriate” foods

When you first obtain dentures, it’s best to stick to soft foods like soups and stews that don’t need a lot of chewing. More solid food can be introduced once your mouth, jaw, and tongue have gotten used to wearing your removable teeth. Don’t be in a rush to consume any hard or sticky/chewy foods.

Practice chewing

Consider purchasing some denture-friendly chewing gum so you may practice chewing on hard, gritty surfaces without worrying about hurting your dentures or gums. Consider Freedent gum

Get dentures that fit over existing teeth

Properly fitting dentures are comfortable and long-lasting, allowing you to continue with most of your normal oral functions. To get the perfect denture fit, you should visit a reputable denture dentist who takes their time to take the necessary measurements and design an appropriate fit. You dentist will also discuss with you whether you’re a suitable candidate for dentures that are fitted over existing healthy teeth or dental implants for a stable, natural feeling tooth replacement solution.


  • Editorial team

    A team comprising oral health care professionals, researchers, and professional Writers, striving to impart you with the knowledge to improve your oral health, and that of your loved ones. 

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