As a denture wearer, there may come a time when your dental prosthetics appear to not fit properly in the contours of your mouth and surrounding issues. Such cases of ill-fitting dentures may occur due to poorly designed false teeth, wear and tear over time, or delays in getting them adjusted to changes in your mouth’s structure.
Dentures should fit snugly and comfortably in the mouth to provide stability, support, and natural functionality. They should have a secure and balanced fit, ensuring that they do not move or slide during speaking, eating, or smiling. Properly fitting dentures should also distribute the pressure evenly across the gums, minimizing the risk of discomfort and gum irritation.
When dentures do not fit well, they can cause a range of discomforting symptoms and oral health problems. Being able to recognize these symptoms will allow you to seek timely professional assistance, and prevent further complications and discomfort associated with ill-fitting dentures.
Ill-fitting dentures in the elderly
There are several reasons why dentures may become loose for the elderly, including:
Natural changes in the oral tissues
The oral tissues undergo natural changes over time, such as bone resorption and gum shrinkage. These changes can affect the fit of dentures, leading to discomfort and instability. As the underlying bone structure changes, the dentures may no longer properly align with the contours of the mouth.
Poorly fitted or poorly adjusted dentures
Dentures that are poorly fitted or have not been properly adjusted to the individual’s mouth can cause a range of issues. Improper fit may result from an inaccurate impression during the denture fabrication process or inadequate adjustments after initial placement. Ill-fitting dentures can cause pain, irritation, and difficulty with normal oral functions.
Aging and bone resorption
As individuals age, bone resorption can occur in the jawbone, leading to changes in the underlying support for dentures. The loss of bone density and volume can contribute to a loose fit and instability of the dentures. It is essential to monitor and address these changes to ensure the continued effectiveness and comfort of dentures.
Weight loss or gain
Significant weight loss or gain can affect the fit of dentures. Weight loss can lead to a loose fit, while weight gain may cause the dentures to feel tight or uncomfortable. Changes in body composition can alter the contours of the mouth, necessitating adjustments or new dentures to maintain proper fit and function.
Symptoms and Side Effects of Ill-Fitting Dentures
When dentures do not fit properly, they can cause various uncomfortable symptoms and oral health issues. These include:
1. Discomfort and Pain
- Sore spots or ulcers – Ill-fitting dentures can create pressure points on the gums, leading to the development of sore spots or ulcers. These areas may become painful and make wearing dentures unbearable.
- Irritation and inflammation of the gums – Improperly fitting dentures can irritate the gums, causing redness, swelling, and inflammation. This discomfort can make it challenging to wear dentures for extended periods.
2. Difficulty Eating and Speaking
- Slippage or movement while eating – Ill-fitting dentures may slide or move during eating, making it difficult to bite and chew food properly. This can result in discomfort, reduced bite force, and difficulty in enjoying meals.
- Difficulty pronouncing certain sounds or words – If dentures do not fit securely, they can affect speech clarity. This can manifest as difficulty pronouncing specific sounds or words, leading to communication challenges and potential embarrassment.
3. Changes in Denture Fit
- Loose or unstable dentures – Ill-fitting dentures can become loose, causing discomfort and instability. They may shift or move while speaking or eating, compromising confidence and oral function.
- Clicking or popping noises while chewing – Dentures that do not fit properly can produce clicking or popping noises when chewing. These sounds indicate a lack of stability and proper alignment, hindering comfortable eating.
4. Gum and Tissue Problems
- Gum recession or shrinkage – Ill-fitting dentures can contribute to gum recession or shrinkage over time. This occurs when the dentures apply excessive pressure to the gums, leading to tissue damage and bone loss.
- Denture sores and blisters – Poorly fitting dentures can cause friction and pressure on the gums, resulting in the development of painful sores and blisters. These sores can make wearing dentures extremely uncomfortable.
5. Bad breath or strange mouth taste
- Ill-fitting dentures can create spaces where food particles and bacteria can accumulate. This can lead to bad breath (halitosis) and an unpleasant taste in the mouth, affecting overall oral hygiene.
6. Changes to your cheeks’ or jawline’s appearance
Dentures that do not fit properly may not provide adequate support to the cheeks and jawline, resulting in a sunken or sagging appearance. This can affect facial aesthetics and contribute to self-consciousness.
When to Seek Professional Help
If you experience persistent symptoms associated with ill-fitting dentures, such as sore spots, difficulty eating, or gum irritation, it is important to seek professional help. This is particularly important if any home remedies for loose dentures or relining at home have been unsuccessful. Persistent symptoms may indicate the need for denture adjustments, relining, or replacement.
Additionally, regular dental check-ups are essential for not only the early detection of any potential oral health problems, but also identifying and addressing any issues with dentures. From walk-in visits to annual checkups, your dentist can evaluate the fit and condition of your dentures, make necessary adjustments, and provide guidance on proper denture care.
In cases where ill-fitting dentures persist despite adjustments, it may be beneficial to consult a denture specialist or prosthodontist. These dental professionals have specialized knowledge and expertise in diagnosing and treating denture-related issues. They can provide tailored solutions to improve the fit, comfort, and function of dentures.
How to fix ill-fitting dentures
1. Denture Adjustment
Seeking professional denture adjustments offers several benefits. Dentists can make precise modifications to improve the fit, comfort, and stability of the dentures. By addressing specific problem areas, such as sore spots or loose fit, denture adjustments can alleviate discomfort and enhance overall oral function.
2. Relining to improve denture fit
Denture relining involves adding a new layer of material to the fitting surface of the dentures. This helps to improve the fit by compensating for changes in the underlying oral tissues. Relining can enhance comfort and stability, ensuring that the dentures properly conform to the mouth’s contours.
3. Denture Replacement
If dentures are severely ill-fitting or no longer provide the desired functionality, replacement may be necessary. Properly fitting dentures are essential for optimal oral health, comfort, and the ability to chew and speak effectively. Denture replacement allows for a customized fit that meets the individual’s unique oral needs.
When considering denture replacement, individuals have various options. This includes conventional full dentures, partial dentures for those with some remaining natural teeth, and implant-supported dentures. The choice depends on factors such as oral health, budget, and personal preferences.
4. Implant-Supported Dentures
Implant-supported dentures provide a secure and stable foundation by anchoring the dentures to dental implants surgically placed in the jawbone. This improves stability during chewing and speaking, eliminating concerns about denture slippage. Implant-supported dentures offer enhanced comfort and confidence.
However, they may not be a suitable option for everyone. Implant-supported dentures require a sufficient amount of healthy jawbone for implant placement. So anyone considering this option will need an evaluation to determine their eligibility. Implant dentures may involve a more extensive treatment process, but they provide long-term benefits in terms of stability and function.
How to prevent the side-effects of ill-fitting dentures
A.Proper denture care and hygiene
Proper denture care is crucial for maintaining their fit and longevity. This includes daily cleaning with a denture brush and a non-abrasive cleaner. Dentures should be removed at night to allow the oral tissues to rest. Additionally, avoiding exposure to hot temperatures and harsh chemicals helps prevent damage to the denture materials.
B.Regular dental visits and check-ups
Regular dental visits are essential even with dentures. Dentists can assess the condition of dentures, evaluate oral health, and detect any signs of problems early on. Routine check-ups allow for adjustments, relining, or replacement if necessary, ensuring that dentures continue to fit properly and promote oral well-being.
C.Healthy lifestyle habits for oral health
Maintaining overall oral health contributes to the longevity of dentures. Adopting healthy habits such as brushing natural teeth, gums, and tongue, along with a balanced diet, can prevent oral health issues that may affect the fit and comfort of dentures. Avoiding harmful habits such as smoking also promotes optimal oral health.
Recognizing the symptoms of ill-fitting dentures and seeking timely professional help is crucial for maintaining oral health and well-being. Denture adjustments, relining, or replacement can address the issues associated with ill-fitting dentures and improve comfort, functionality, and overall satisfaction. Regular dental visits, proper denture care, and a healthy lifestyle contribute to the prevention and maintenance of well-fitting dentures. By following these guidelines, individuals can ensure a comfortable and confident smile with their dentures for years to come.