For patients missing several teeth, a denture can lead to a sense of normalcy. However, these dental replacements do sometimes need repair, and they often seem to break or malfunction at the most inconvenient of times. To avoid damage to the prosthetic or the patient’s mouth, it can be helpful to know some of the signs that a denture is in need of repair.
When should a denture be repaired?
In the event that a denture is damaged, the American College of Prosthodontics recommends returning to the prosthodontist who made the original denture if possible. Some types of damage are more obvious than others, but all can cause problems if the piece is not promptly and professionally repaired.
If it breaks in two or more pieces
This may seem like an obvious sign that a denture needs to be repaired by a professional, but some patients are determined to try to glue the piece back together themselves. This is not a wise idea — glue can cause mouth irritation, and repaired dentures usually need to be readjusted to ensure a proper fit. Sometimes, a nonprofessional repair causes more extensive damage.
If it develops cracks
Cracking can be easy to miss, especially if they are small cracks that gradually develop over time. Still, it is important to have cracked dentures repaired for a couple of reasons. First, wearing cracked or otherwise damaged prosthetics can cause mouth irritation. If the patient continues to wear them, mouth sores may develop and even become infected.
Second, any crack that develops is likely to spread. If a patient goes too long without getting a repair, the crack may eventually lead to the denture breaking into pieces.
If it becomes tighter or looser
It is normal for dentures to need to be adjusted periodically. A pair that has become tighter or looser is not necessarily damaged, but going without an adjustment may lead to damage down the line. For instance, a too-loose denture may fall out of a patient’s mouth and break. A too-tightly fit prosthetic can cause mouth irritation and may break if a patient tries to force it to fit.
If the teeth are chipped or stained
Just like natural teeth, the false teeth that are attached to dentures can sometimes become stained or even chip with heavy wear. Usually, a simple repair can resolve either issue. If the piece is very old and has severe chipping or staining, a dentist may recommend getting a replacement.
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Some patients put off denture repair because they do not want to go without their prosthetics or because they are worried about cost. However, dental offices may have the ability to repair dental appliances while a patient waits, and repairs are usually not very expensive unless severe damage has occurred. Patients are often better off getting a minor repair from a professional, because if left alone, very minor denture damage can quickly become major damage.
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