One of the first things that people notice when they look at you is your smile. Not having teeth, or having ‘bad’ teeth, can trigger a very primitive gut response in people: since cave times, lack of teeth has been synonymous with illness, poor hygiene, inadequate nutrition, genetic problems, and aging. Even in our modern age, there is a definite stigma to having less than healthy teeth. If you have been plagued by dental problems and have sought treatment to replace your damaged or missing teeth, congratulations! You can smile again and participate in social life to the fullest.
Now what if something goes wrong?
Surprisingly for a prosthetic that has to withstand thousands of pounds of bite pressure over its lifetime, dentures are actually quite fragile, and break easily when dropped. There are also other things that can go wrong, like your dentures becoming loose or ill-fitting over time. You wouldn’t just live with the absence of a needed device like your glasses, so how are you going to live without the teeth that help you chew, talk, laugh and smile?
To help our customers and denture-wearers everywhere who are faced with a problem with their dentures, we have created a definitive guide to their repair. We’ll outline some common things that can go wrong with dentures, and how to address them, so you’ll know what to do the next time your precious teeth are compromised. There IS an affordable, simple solution to just about every possible denture problem – so relax and read on. Accidents happen, but from now on, you’ll know what to do!
Uh oh, my denture broke…what do I do now?
The reason it’s always recommended to take your dentures out over a sink filled with water, or at least over a soft surface like a folded towel, is that no matter how many times you’ve done it in the past with no problems, if a denture does slip out of your hands, it can crack apart just like that! Or, one or more teeth can pop right out of the denture, or your teeth can crack, when you bite down too hard on a certain food, especially if your dentures are older and have been flexing/rocking in your mouth for awhile. Now what?
Denture Repair Kit
You can purchase a denture repair kit at leading stores like Wal-Mart, some major drug store chains, or at online retailers. Assuming you already have such a kit and don’t have to go out and buy one, it may seem like an obvious choice to just reach for it and repair your own dentures. A typical denture repair kit can include:
- Replacement teeth
- Bonding adhesives (glue)
- Acrylic resins
- Droppers to apply glue
- Other tools
- Instruction manual
YouTube denture repair videos like this one can make it seem incredibly easy to repair your own denture: just apply the various potions and wait…until your dentures are repaired like new! While these kits are advertised for ‘minor’ repairs, there is nothing minor about your denture cracking in half. If you think about it, your denture originally cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, so the likelihood of you being able to repair it professionally in just a few minutes, is really slim.
Denture kits are said to contain the same materials dentists use, but again, this is misleading because while a dentist may indeed use acrylic resin, it’s not in the same way as demonstrated by the kit. Quality replacement teeth are actually made using a very complex process that requires chemical reactions, professional tools and machines like drills and pressure curers. There’s no way you’re going to duplicate that at home; for example, the replacement teeth likely won’t be a match in size, shape or colour to your existing denture, and that’s just for starters; you might also not be seeing the entire damage, so even if you do repair the visible break, there could still be other vulnerable spots in your denture.
But is it okay to use a denture kit in an emergency, such as while travelling – or in advance of an important weekend event that you’re expected to attend, with no opportunity to take your dentures in for repair beforehand?
The short answer is that DIY repairs never work. Here’s why.
- Denture glue is poisonous. When your teeth are made in the lab, the chemicals used can be very dangerous on their own, but when mixed together, are rendered inert and safe to be in the human mouth. But the glues found in denture repair kits are still in their poisonous state. Even when they dry, tiny fragments will eventually dislodge from being in the constant moisture of your mouth or your soak, and while you are actively eating, this process is accelerated. The glue winds up in your digestive system…not to mention all the chemicals you inhaled, probably without wearing a mask or protective gloves, while you were doing the repair.
- Denture glue is dangerous. The chemicals contained in the glue can actually melt acrylic resin products; that’s partly how they bond with the acrylic. But over time, this can cause distortion and damage to your denture, making it unwearable even if a professional attempts to fix it. Distortion of your denture can cause it to fit badly, causing sore spots in your mouth and gums.
- Denture glue is soluble. The more ‘gentle’ denture glues are less harsh all right…but they’re water soluble! In the constant moisture of the mouth, they will eventually dissolve, destroying the repair.
The verdict: Don’t use a DIY denture kit because if you do, you could be damaging your health – and you will definitely be damaging your teeth, to the point that if you later take them to be professionally fixed, it might be impossible.
You might not have a denture kit on hand, but what about that glue you bought that has an ad for a man in a gorilla suit literally hanging from the ceiling by his glued-on fingertips? Surely that super glue should be strong enough to hold your dentures together until you can get to a dentist?
As you can probably imagine, using superglue rather than denture glue is unadvisable. It may actually hold better than some other glues, but it probably says right on the bottle that it’s not safe for human consumption. And that’s exactly what you will be doing, if you put it in your mouth: absorbing it slowly, as it dissolves. The other downside is that it might blur the edges of the fracture, which could result in additional fees once you do take your denture in for repair.
The verdict: Super glue is good for gorillas, bad for your dentures.
Did you know that if you break lots of things – your glasses, your microphone, your dentures – you can ship them to a repair shop which promises to perform the repairs within a set (usually very short) time frame, and FedEx them back to you? Proponents of mail-in denture repair say that the receiving lab does exactly what a denturist would: examine your broken denture, fix the denture properly, and ship it back to you same day, all for a reasonable fee. Online, mail-in denture repair services abound. But can you trust them?
The verdict: If you live very far from a dentist or denture lab, denture send-away could be an option for you. Always make sure to do your research on the lab before trusting online promises; call them and speak to a live person, ask about their service guarantees, ask to speak to some satisfied customers – and make sure when you ship your denture to them, that you obtain insurance for the full value of the denture, in case the denture is lost by the carrier.
Professional Denture Repair
If your denture cracks or fractures, by far your best option is to bring it to where you got it, and ask them to fix it. But what if you don’t have time to go without teeth while the repair is being made?
Relax. Most denture issues, such as chipped teeth, can be professionally fixed within about an hour, while you wait! Certainly, more serious denture problems like a cracked base, can be repaired within 24 hours at most. The reason for this is that such repairs are considered emergencies. Even if you visit a lab other than the one that made your dentures, a technician will be able to examine the denture and fix the problem with special acrylics, adhesives, and carefully matched teeth that you can’t buy in a store or online.
Some repairs require plaster or putty molds or impressions to be made. The fees for repairing your denture will, of course, depend on the extent of the repairs required and the time it takes to do them.
The verdict: Always get your dentures professionally repaired. It’s the only possible repair method that’s safe, effective, and prolongs the life of your dentures. The Dentures Direct lab is on-site, so we can do repairs in about an hour, while you relax in our comfortable waiting area.
Uh-oh, my dentures don’t fit right. What now?
Sometimes it’s not that you’ve broken your denture, it’s that your denture just doesn’t feel right anymore. There are several reasons why your denture could have become loose or ill-fitting:
- More teeth have been lost since you got your partial
- Bone loss, which occurs over time when there are no natural teeth to secure the jaw
- Aging of the denture (wear and tear)
- Weight loss due to illness
When your dentures don’t fit right anymore, you have several options. As always, you can DIY.
We’ve all heard of ‘Fixodent and forget it’: adhesive creams and powders that promise to give you a strong hold on your dentures that’s long-lasting. While there is definitely a science to using these creams, the downside is that they can be messy and can contain additives that you don’t necessarily want in your mouth. Also, it’s a very temporary solution to the problem of ill-fitting dentures. Once the cream wears off, or you soak or clean your dentures, you will have to re-apply the cream, which can get expensive and troublesome. Failure to use the cream can result in your loose dentures chafing your mouth and gums painfully.
While dentures are designed to fit the mouth perfectly, there’s no doubt that one if not more adjustments may be necessary within the first 90 days of going home with your new dentures. That’s because your mouth changes as your gums heal from any extractions and become accustomed to the new dentures, and sometimes there are tiny discrepancies between the working model and your mouth which can cause pain in this extremely sensitive area. Most of the time, adjustments within the 90-day period following your first denture fitting are complimentary at the dentist’s office where you originally got your dentures. An adjustment is just a tweak to change the pressure points where your denture sits on the gums; it is not a good solution for people who have had their dentures for a long time, whose teeth have become loose.
Relining and Rebasing
If you bring your denture to a denturist with the complaint that it no longer fits, the first thing he or she will do is examine your denture to see if it’s essentially worth saving. Teeth that are very old may not ever be able to be repaired well enough to fit your mouth again, especially if you have had significant shrinkage of the gum tissue.
If your dentures can be fixed, your denturist will consider a reline procedure. Relining will just affect the fit of your denture; it involves adding more new base material to the denture so it fits your mouth better. A new impression will be made of your mouth to ensure that the relined dentures will fit perfectly; your dentist will discuss what type of reline (hard or soft) would be most appropriate for you.
Your Teeth Matter
You rely on your dentures for more than just your smile; they’re a big investment in your dental health and in your self-esteem. The better care you take of your dentures, the longer they will help you look and feel your best. That’s why you should always see a dental professional as soon as your dentures break, chip, or begin to feel loose, painful or uncomfortable.
If you don’t want to face the prospect of denture repair, alternatives do exist, such as implant-retained dentures that are implanted in the mouth so that the whole unit can never fall out and crack.
It only makes sense to find out all your options for denture repair before an emergency strikes. Be prepared – put the Dentures Direct phone number into your phone book now, so if you need emergency denture repair, you’ll know who to call. Our expert lab technicians can repair most denture problems professionally in about 60 minutes, whether you got your dentures from us or not.
Dentures Direct – Your denture repair centre in the GTA! Call 416-245-7474 to book a FREE consultation!