When Dentures go bad
With or without teeth, your mouth slowly changes as you age. But people who have no teeth on average lose 1/3 mm of jawbone height each year. Sometimes that loss is greater due to certain medical conditions such as osteoporosis. As our jawbone shrinks, so do our gum tissues (sometimes referred to as ridges). Ridges can shrink up to a quarter-inch in 10 years!
Your denture was made to fit firmly to the original shape of your oral anatomy. Now that shape has changed.
Often you don’t notice the gradual receding of your gum tissues. But over time, your dentures loosen and become unstable, affecting you in any of a number of different ways. This is why dental professionals suggest you replace or refit your dentures every 5 to 7 years.
When teeth are lost and gum tissues shrink, some facial support is lost. This explains why people with no teeth often have deep wrinkles around the mouth and a sunken look to their cheeks and lower face.
To summarize, here are symptoms that may indicate the need for a denture reline or a new denture:
- On-going pain or sore spots
- The appearance of extra wrinkles around your mouth
- Your dentures click, whistle, slip or cause chewing problems
- Slurred speech
- You need to routinely use denture pads
- You or your loved ones begin to feel uncomfortable with the appearance of your dentures.
Even if you are not experiencing any of these difficulties, dental experts recommend you visit your dental professional annually. These visits give your dental professional a chance to give you an “oral check-up.” This is your dental professional’s opportunity to make sure you don’t have any symptoms of diabetes, oral cancer, gum disease or other diseases that often reveal themselves in the tissues of the mouth.
Your dental professional might recommend repairing or relining your existing denture. Many times, dental professionals have no choice but to recommend a new denture. If so, you may be surprised to discover how attractive today’s teeth are. They are also less likely to wear or discolor. And modern denture base materials (the pink material supporting teeth) are very strong and durable.
And a new denture may:
- Help you look better by providing the support your lips need, and by giving your face and smile a more natural appearance.
- Help you speak clearly once again.
- Enhance your chewing ability, helping your body properly digest food and obtain the nutrition it needs.
- Help you feel better about yourself.
Dentures shouldn’t hurt. They shouldn’t slip, or click, or whistle. If any of the problems you are experiencing persist, the solution isn’t more drug or grocery store remedies. An evaluation by your dental professional will determine the solution that’s right for you.