Last Updated on September 24, 2023 by Jade Roberts
Dentures that fit well can make serious changes in someone’s life ranging from improving oral health to enhancing their quality of life. Dentures that fit properly play a pivotal role in ensuring not only comfort but also the overall functionality of these dental appliances. This is important as ill-fitting dentures can harm the mouth of the wearer. However, the journey towards achieving the perfect fit can be riddled with obstacles, leaving many denture wearers frustrated and discomforted with ill-fitting dentures.
In this article, we will take a closer look at dentures, how they should fit, the issues to watch for that signal a problem with fit, and more. This will enable you to enjoy the benefits of a well-fitted denture and reclaim your confident smile.
Understanding Denture Fitting Challenges
The denture fitting process is not always an easy procedure. It can be both complex and frustrating. Our mouths are as unique as our fingerprints, so a proper fit requires careful measuring and often leads to several adjustments to further customize the fit.
As we age, our jawbone and gum tissues change, which can further complicate the process of maintaining an ideal denture fit.
This can alter the fit of dentures over time resulting in a variety of issues. Poor-fitting dentures can cause sore spots to develop, gum irritations, altered speech patterns, and difficulty eating. Not only can this result in physical pain, but there are also psychological impacts. Individuals with ill-fitting dentures may experience reduced self-confidence, social anxiety, and a reluctance to engage in activities they once enjoyed.
In essence, the discomfort and frustration stemming from poorly fitting dentures can have far-reaching effects on a person’s overall well-being.
Types of Dentures
Dentures are not a one-size-fits-all solution, and the type of denture you require depends on your unique dental needs. Before looking into the specifics of denture fitting challenges and their solutions, it is important to have an understanding of the many different types of dentures available.
- Complete Dentures: These are dentures that replace a complete row of teeth. They come in two different types, uppers or lowers, depending on which row of teeth they are for. Complete dentures sit on the gum tissue and stay in place through suction or the use of a denture adhesive.
- Partial Dentures: Partials are used to fill gaps where some natural teeth remain. These false teeth are held in place with clasps that attach to natural teeth located on either side of the partial denture. These dentures also help the remaining natural teeth from shifting positions.
- Implant-Supported Dentures: These dentures are essentially the top-of-the-line removable dentures as they are the most stable and offer the most functionality. These dentures are held in place by being attached to dental implants that are surgically inserted into the jawbone.
Understanding these different types of dentures is essential because the specific fitting challenges and solutions can vary depending on the type of denture you have.
Signs of Ill-Fitting Dentures
Several signs can point to ill-fitting dentures. Here is a list of the most common ones to watch for.
- Sore Spots and Irritation: Sore spot development is one of the first signs that will tip you off that your dentures do not fit properly. The sore spots or irritations will typically be formed on the gums and result from either pressure points between the denture material and gum tissue, or friction. Poor-fitting dentures or changes in the anatomy of the mouth cause these issues to develop.
- Difficulty Chewing: If you find it increasingly difficult to chew food effectively, your dentures may be out of alignment or have had some other issue that has changed the bite they once had.
- Speech Difficulties: Just like chewing, if dentures fall out of alignment in any way, it can impact your ability to speak properly. Signs of this include slurred speech, lisping, and difficulty with certain sounds.
- Slippage and Instability: If your dentures have a habit of slipping inside your mouth, it could mean a problem with their fit. Chewing, speech, or instability can be frustrating and embarrassing.
- Changes In Facial Appearance: Your face can look different if your dentures do not fit correctly. You may have a sunken or collapsed appearance around the mouth or cheeks. Dentures tend to help some people “fill out” their faces. If you have ill-fitting dentures, your cheeks and mouth may look different from how they once did.
- Gum Inflammation and Infection: The pressure and friction from poor-fitting dentures can cause gums to swell causing ulcerations that can become infected.
It is important to address these issues as soon as possible for the following reasons:
- Oral Health: Dentures that do not fit properly can result in oral health issues ranging from gum inflammation to infection.
- Comfort and Quality of Life: When dentures fit right, they are comfortable to wear. They also allow you to eat, speak, and smile without issue.
- Prevention of Further Complications: If you choose to ignore denture issues as they develop, they can lead to more serious complications such as bone loss.
- Psychological Well-Being: Aside from how poorly fitting dentures can feel physically, ill-fitting dentures can also impact your psychological and emotional health. When dentures fit correctly, they contribute to how you view yourself, which boosts your self-esteem.
Common Solutions to Ill-Fitting Dentures
Possible solutions can include:
- Dentist Adjustments: Denture adjustments can be made by your dentist. They modify the shape of the dentures to fit your mouth better. All you need to do is schedule a dental appointment.
- Denture Adhesives: Although considered a temporary solution, denture adhesives can provide a firm grip on dentures reducing movement. For details on how adhesives work, consult with your dentist.
- Proper Cleaning: Clean dentures may reduce inflammation that can cause a denture to not fit appropriately which is why it is important to properly clean your dentures at least twice daily and when cleaning, ensure that you gently clean the gum tissue that the dentures sit on as well.
- Chewing Exercises: You can strengthen your jaw muscles by chewing gum and biting gently on both sides of your mouth. Slowly introduce soft foods to your diet and gradually increase the firmness of texture to help with your chewing.
- Implant-Supported Dentures: For a stable and secure option, consider changing to implant-supported dentures. Dental implants offer strong anchor points to hold dentures in place.
- Denture Stabilizers: These are products that fit over dentures and hold them securely in place.
- Denture Relining: This process will add new acrylic base to your dentures where any areas that you’ve had bone loss or changes will be filled in. This will provide a more intimate fit and increase stabilization.
- Denture Rebasing: Rebasing is a process where a new acrylic base is created for your dentures because there has been a significant change overall. This will provide a more intimate fit and maintaining your facial appearance.
- Support and Counseling: Friends, family, and support groups can help as you are going through the process of dentures. Meeting others who have had dentures or are getting them to understand you are not alone and the process of getting prosthetic teeth helps throughout the process as well. They will always have tips of things they have learned over the years of what works and doesn’t work well for them. If you wanted to go a step further then counseling and therapy are also good options to explore.
Maintaining Dental Fit
Dentures issues are not a matter of if but a matter of when you’ll develop them. Despite dentures not changing your mouth does and proper maintenance will determine the severity of it. To avoid emotional or psychological trauma, have your dentures examined the moment they start to show any of the signs noted above associated with ill-fitting dentures.
Seeing your dentist regularly to check the fit of your dentures helps you in many ways. They include:
- Oral Health Monitoring: Your dentist can determine how healthy your gums are and the condition of your oral tissue with regular visits. Potential issues can be spotted early enough for treatment to be introduced to prevent serious issues from developing.
- Professional Cleaning: Your dental professional can clean your dentures removing plaque and tartar buildup that can affect how they fit and how they feel.
- Adjustments and Relining: Changes that your dentist identifies in your mouth can often be treated with adjustments to your dentures. This can often be all that is required to improve their fit.
- Prevention of Complications: Regular checkups prevent complications that can develop as a result of wearing dentures that do not fit right.
Although professional attention is key, there are several things you can do at home to ensure your dentures fit as they should. Here are a few tips:
- Oral Hygiene: Clean your dentures at least twice daily. Use a denture brush and denture cleaner. Make sure products are specified for dentures; since dentures are made of acrylic there are a lot of products that can scratch or corrode them. Also brush your tongue, gums, and palate with a soft-bristled denture toothbrush.
- Handling With Care: Be careful when you handle your dentures. They are quite fragile and can be severely damaged if dropped onto hard surfaces. When you clean them, ensure you are removing your dentures standing over a basin or bowl filled with water or lined with a towel to cushion the fall if they slip out of your hands.
- Soak Overnight: To prevent your dentures from drying out, which can cause cracks and warping, soak them overnight in a denture cleaning solution or at least in water to ensure the denture doesn’t dry out or distort.
- Avoid Hot Water: When rinsing or washing your dentures, do not use scalding hot water. This can cause warping. Using warm water however can benefit in killing bacteria.
- Inspect For Damage: One great way to keep a handle on the potential signs of issues with your dentures is to look them over carefully each time you clean them. This way, you become familiar with how they appear and should spot problems as they become clear.
Seeking Professional Help
When you determine issues with your dentures not fitting correctly, it is best to seek the assistance of a dental professional. They have the experience, expertise, and tools to properly address the situation.
When you see your dentist to have your dentures examined, you can expect the following during that appointment:
- Assessment: Your dentist will examine the oral tissue in your mouth to determine its health and if any potential issues are developing. Your dentures will also be examined.
- Discussion: You can discuss any problems you are having with your dentures and your dentist will investigate.
- Adjustments: When needed, your dentist will make necessary adjustments to your dentures.
- Recommendations: There may be recommendations made by your dentist based on findings from the assessment of your mouth and dentures.
- Follow-Up: If you have been given recommendations for additional care, maintenance, or something else to improve the fit of your dentures, you may be asked to schedule a follow-up appointment so that changes made can be monitored.
When you have dentures that fit properly, your oral health, and quality of life improve. When those dentures do not fit correctly, these things can be negatively impacted.
Common problems encountered from the use of ill-fitting dentures include sore spots, difficulty chewing and speaking, slippage and instability, changes in facial appearance, and psychological and emotional impacts.
Promptly addressing issues as they develop prevents long-term problems. If you have any of the symptoms listed above that may point to ill-fitting dentures, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to have your situation investigated.
Don’t let ill-fitting dentures compromise your daily life or self-esteem. Take the necessary steps to enjoy the benefits of a comfortable and secure denture fit, and embrace the confidence that comes with it. Your smile deserves nothing less.