People who use false teeth may find that denture repair extends the useful life of these prostheses. Repair is generally more cost-effective than replacement and often takes less time. However, dentures are not made to last forever. Eventually, the constant pressure of chewing causes the prosthesis to wear out, requiring a replacement. When determining whether the repair is possible and when replacement is necessary instead, the following information may serve as a useful guide.
What patients should know about denture repair
It is important that patients never attempt home denture repair. Doing so may damage the prostheses further or expose patients to toxic chemicals. Only a dentist or prosthetist should attempt to repair dentures.
Patients should talk to a dentist regarding possible repair or replacement whenever there is a problem with the dentures that causes pain or impedes function. For example, sores in the mouth or pain when eating or talking could indicate a repair is needed. Changes to the jaw are common when all of a patient's teeth have been removed, and this could change the fit of one's dentures. The prosthesis may be either too tight or too loose as a result.
Patients should know that denture repair can usually be accomplished fairly quickly. Often it takes no more than an hour or two. This is different from a replacement, which typically takes longer.
When patients should replace their dentures
Ultimately, the dentist should make the determination of whether the dentures can be repaired or need to be replaced. However, the following signs can indicate to patients that it is time to discuss the possibility of replacement with a dentist.
1. Bad taste or smell
Dentures are made of porous material that can harbor bacteria, some of which may be harmful. A persistent bad taste or smell from the dentures is a sign of bacterial growth, which is difficult to remove completely.
2. Color change
Both the teeth and the gum portion of the dentures can undergo discoloration. This can make the appearance look less natural.
3. Speaking difficulties
Dentures that become loose due to changes in the jaw can start slipping out of place when a patient talks. The patient may develop a speech impediment or similar difficulties as a result. Sometimes the dentures fall completely out of the mouth, which is not only frustrating and embarrassing for the patient but can also cause damage to the prostheses.
4. Time passage
Even dentures that are well taken care of are only expected to last about 5 to 10 years. If dentures are this old, patients should definitely discuss whether replacement is necessary. Yearly checkups with the dentist may help the dentures to last longer.
Eventually, it becomes necessary to replace dentures. Denture repair may be possible in the interim. A dentist is better suited to make the determination than a patient. Therefore, individuals should make an appointment with a dentist to discuss any problems that could indicate repair or replacement of their dentures is required.
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