A Guide to Broken Dentures
If you wear dentures, you will know how truly awkward life can be when they become cracked or broken. Not only does it make everyday tasks such a chewing, eating, swallowing and talking unnecessarily onerous, it can also be embarrassing. After all, you can always guarantee that your dentures will fall to pieces at the worst possible time. It could be a big presentation at work, a first date or a social occasion with a big photo-opportunity – whatever the circumstances, you can guarantee that you are going to need your dentures repaired quick smart.
In this article, we will look at different options for getting your dentures repaired, both temporary options and more permanent solutions. We will also look at how your dentures might break or crack and how quickly you could hope to get them fixed. Finally, we’ll take a quick look at how, in the future, you might be able to avoid the stresses and strains of broken dentures altogether – by considering a different type of dental solution.
Why do dentures break?
Dentures break for all sorts of reasons. In fact, most dentists will recommend that you change your dentures around every seven years or so. This is because, as you grow older, the shape of your face and jaw changes so your dentures will naturally become looser and more ill-fitting. This makes the harder to use, more uncomfortable to wear and more likely to break.
The other reason that dentures break is because they simply are not as good as natural teeth. Dentures are usually made from either plastic or metal. So when they are kept in mouth for long periods of time, where it is a damp environment, it is natural that the materials begin to degrade. They are also likely to suffer from daily wear and tear through talking and chewing.
How do dentures break?
Dentures can become damaged in lots of different ways. Of course, not all of these damages demand emergency dental treatment. Your dentures can become stained or chipped for example – and while you may want them looked at, you may not feel as though it is an emergency.
However, your dentures can also become cracked or completely broken, which makes them difficult to repair. You can also lose teeth from your denture, which may make chewing and eating more difficult. You will probably therefore want them repaired as soon as possible – not least because you do not want to lose the pieces before there is an opportunity to put them back together!
How easy are dentures to repair?
It all depends on how badly damaged they are. Cracked dentures are relatively easy to repair and can usually be bonded back together. Dentures that have lost teeth are a similarly straightforward task. If the tooth has been completely lost and needs to be replaced (rather than just repaired), then a skilled practitioner will be easily able to match the colour of the new tooth to the existing set.
Broken dentures can be slightly more problematic to fix, although often not impossible. In many cases, there is a good rule of thumb that you can use: if you can keep all the pieces and fit them together in the way that you would a jigsaw puzzle, then your dentures may be able to be repaired. If there are gaps, it may be more difficult to fit the dentures back together successful.
The quality of materials used for cementing and bonding in dentistry now mean that dentures can be repaired to a very high standard. Therefore, if you rescue all the broken parts, there should be a good chance they can be bonded back together again.
Where can I get dentures repaired?
When you have your dentures first fitted, your dentist will usually take a mould and then send it away to get manufactured. Often this will take up to three weeks. The reason for this is that your dentist will not usually have the skills to make the denture. This will need to be done in a dental laboratory that has the right sort of equipment.
Of course, in an emergency (Remember, you’ve got a big business meeting/social occasion coming up!), you do not necessarily want to wait three weeks for your repaired dentures to come back from the laboratory. You need them a lot sooner than that. So what you need to do is go direct to the specialist laboratory.
If you approach the laboratory direct, this can reduce the timescales for denture repair substantially. You can either post your dentures to them – checking of course, that they will package them up carefully when they send them back – or there are now a number of places that specialise in ‘express repairs’. Many promises to repair your dentures ‘while-u-wait’. At the very least, if they cannot fix your dentures on the spot, they can usually recommend the best course of action to take next.
If your dentures are badlly broken, however, you will need to visit your dentist again as you may need to have a new mould done for a new set of dentures. Obviously, this will be more time-consuming. But when it comes to ensuring your dentures are comfortable and feel right for you, the extra time will certainly be worth it.
Can I repair my dentures myself?
Most dentists would advise against trying to repair your dentures yourself. However, in an emergency, you can get a Denture Repair Kit which will enable you to provide basic repairs to your dentures until you can get them professionally repaired, or replaced.
There are different types of denture repairs kits on the market. Most contain a cement, bonding material or glue that you can use to make running repairs on your dentures. Others may even contain a sample of different teeth that you can cement in should one of your existing teeth fall out. Obviously, this is a far-from-perfect, temporary measure. But you may find it is better than nothing until you can reach a denture repair centre.
It is important to remember that the glue, cement and bonding materials used in denture repair kits are FDA-approved and designed to be suitable for dental work. You should never be tempted to try using any different type of glue. In many cases, household glues can be poisonous – so the last place you want them is in your mouth.
How do I look after my dentures better?
It is a fact of life that your dentures deteriorate over time. They are also quite fragile too, so it is not unusual for them to be accidentally dropped in the sink or on the floor while being removed.
The best approach you can take to looking after your dentures is to ensure that you are keeping them clean. Brush them regularly, rinse them thoroughly and soak your dentures regularly overnight in an appropriate solution.
And don’t forget, when you are brushing your dentures, fill the sink with water. That way, they are less likely to get damaged when you drop them!
Are there any permanent alternatives to dentures?
There are alternatives to dentures. One of the main concerns that people have with dentures is that they deteriorate over time and need to be replaced regularly. Even if you dentures become slightly loose or ill-fitting, it can make you feel extremely self-conscious in social situations.
For many people who feel this way, dentures were a choice they made several years ago. As time goes on, it is natural to grow tired of dentures and to want to explore dental solutions that require less maintenance and which are more permanent. One solution of this type is dental implants.
Dental implants are designed to be replacements for extracted or lost teeth so that you bite remains consistent. The implants are made from ceramic (like a crown or denture). However, they are fixed permanently into the jawbone by a vertical metal rod.