How to Fix Loose Dentures

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Five years is the longest you can expect a good fit from dentures.
Five years is the longest you can expect a good fit from dentures. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Dentures loosen over time for a number of reasons such as a shrinking jaw related to old age, everyday wear and tear, or even a very thorough cleaning. If your dentures have loosened, an immediate fix is necessary. Loose dentures can cause clicking, mouth sores and gagging and vomiting. Just as important, loose dentures can cause you embarrassment when talking and eating, and can reduce your enjoyment of these activities immensely.

When the Right Fix is No Fix

If you’ve just had your dentures crafted and put into place, you should expect some looseness. You’re in the initial adjustment period, which is marked by discomfort and constant changes inside your mouth. Your dentist probably warned you to expect some looseness; keep your adjustment appointments, which your dentist will use to refit and perfect your new prosthetic teeth.

Temporary Fix: Denture Adhesive

Properly fitted dentures don’t require denture adhesive to stay in place. If you’ve had your dentures for some time and they’ve loosened, they need professional adjustment. However, to avoid the discomfort associated with loose dentures while you wait for your appointment, you can use dental adhesives in the meantime. These adhesives come in powder and cream forms. Always apply adhesive to clean dentures; apply cream to dry dentures and powder to water-moistened dentures. Use as little adhesive as possible and only once per day. If excess powder or paste emerges from your dentures after you’ve placed them in your mouth, you are definitely using too much.

Safety Warnings About Denture Adhesives

Denture adhesives often contain zinc, which adds to the adhesive properties of the paste. Unfortunately, an excess of zinc can wreak havoc on your health over time. If you take zinc supplements or eat a lot of zinc-rich foods such as shellfish, beef, nuts and chicken, you are at an even greater risk for health complications. These complications include nerve damage and numbness in the extremities. If you plan to rely or denture adhesives for more than a very short period of time, look for powders or pastes that do not contain zinc.

Visiting Your Dentist

Visit your dentist or periodontist if your dentures have loosened. Your dentures need to be relined, at the very least, which is a resurfacing of the tissue side of the dentures. In many cases, you’ll need to have a fresh set of dentures made and fitted. Expect to purchase a new set of dentures at least every five years, the maximum lifespan for most dentures.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before handling your dentures.
  • Work on a clean, dry surface that is covered with clean paper towels.
  • Handle the denture with care.
  • A denture will chip or crack if it is dropped on a hard surface.
  • Follow the directions exactly as written on the product.
  • Ask for a refund if you are not successful with the product.

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