Updated on February 15, 2024
5 min read

How to Fix Loose Dentures

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What Causes Loose Dentures?

Loose dentures aren’t just uncomfortable. They generally signal an underlying problem that will worsen with time. If your dentures become loose or have never fit well, it’s best to see your dentist as soon as possible.

A cropped shot on a man producing a set of dentures

Bone Resorption and Loss

The main reason dentures become loose is bone resorption. The loss of bone tissue makes dentures fit more loosely over time, and dentures themselves contribute to this process.

Natural teeth are an essential part of maintaining the jawbone’s structure and shape. However, when the teeth are no longer there, bone tissue in the jaw will start breaking down, and the body will reabsorb (resorb) it over time.

In other words, the jaw will shrink. And because dentures are meant to fit the jaw, this shrinkage makes it harder to keep them in place.

Wear and Tear Over Time

Dentures can also become loose due to gradual damage from long-term wear. After years of chewing with the same dentures, they can gradually wear down and weaken. They can also fracture, making them unwearable.

Ill-Fitting Dentures

Another reason dentures are loose is that they simply never fit securely in the first place. Ill-fitting dentures are naturally harder to keep in place.

It’s also more difficult to eat solid food when dentures don’t fit well, contributing to further bone loss. As a result, they are more vulnerable to breaking down over time.

How Can You Deal With Loose Dentures?

There are several ways to approach the problem of loose-fitting dentures. Remember that dentures contribute to bone loss, so they will naturally tend to become loose over time. This means that some of these solutions are more temporary than others.

Medical full dentures on white background

Talk to your dentist about the pros and cons of each option. Your needs may differ depending on whether you wear complete or partial dentures.

Denture Reline

Getting your dentures relined or replaced can restore a secure fit. Because your jaw is progressively shrinking over time, you’re likely to need a reline every 1 to 2 years.

Note that having your dentures relined won’t prevent bone loss. However, it may mitigate it by allowing you to continue eating solid food that exercises your jaw.

Utilizing Denture Adhesives

Denture adhesives are another way to help dentures fit more securely. These adhesives can come in pastes, creams, powders, or liners (adhesive strips). The shape of your jaw and the shape of your dentures may make one of these options better than the others.

The best type of denture adhesive for you will also depend partly on your preference. Some of these products have a taste you may find unpleasant, for example. It’s best to look closely at product ingredients and reviews before buying a new denture adhesive.

Implant-Supported Dentures

Implant-supported dentures are a more permanent solution that addresses the problem of missing teeth without causing bone loss. Instead of resting on your gums, they’re attached to titanium implants surgically placed in your jawbone.

These dentures are sometimes called all-on-4 or all-on-6 dentures depending on how many implants are in each arch of your mouth. They offer several benefits over traditional dentures, including:

  • Preventing bone loss — Because dental implants mimic natural tooth roots, they provide your jawbone with the stimulation it needs to stay strong. If you have already lost bone tissue in your jaw, a bone graft procedure can be performed before implant surgery.
  • Durability — Dentures attached to implants have more support than traditional dentures and can last longer.
  • Comfort — These dentures won’t shift or come out of place, making eating and talking more comfortable.
  • Less maintenance required — Fixed implant dentures can be brushed and flossed like natural teeth. However, hybrid, removable implant-supported dentures are also available.

Implant surgery does come with some risks, such as post-operative infection or nerve damage. These are rare, but some people may be at greater risk than others. Your dentist can help determine whether you’re a good candidate for dental implants.

What are the Implications of Loose Dentures on Quality of Life?

The most obvious and immediate impact of loose dentures is discomfort. Dentures that don’t fit well may slip or shift in your mouth, causing pain and irritation. They may make it uncomfortable to eat and talk. Ill-fitting dentures may affect your confidence and self-esteem.

Dentures, in general, can negatively affect your quality of life by contributing to bone loss. Eventually, many denture wearers lose so much jawbone tissue that their dentures can’t be held in place at all. This is known as facial collapse.

Common Questions About Loose Dentures

Are loose dentures a cause for concern?

Yes, loose-fitting dentures require attention as soon as possible. Dentures only get looser over time. So if you don’t get your loose dentures refitted or replaced, the problem will only get worse.

How often should you visit a dentist for denture issues?

In short, it depends. You can expect to need an adjustment or relining every year or two. But dentures with especially poor fit may cause recurring problems that require more frequent dental visits. 

Experts at the American Dental Association (ADA) recommend visiting a dentist twice a year—or more frequently if recommended by your dentist—to ensure your dentures stay comfortable and function properly. 

How should you chew while adjusting to new dentures?

While getting used to a new set of dentures, it’s best to be careful when eating. Take small bites, chew slowly, and chew evenly with both sides of your mouth. It is also recommended to cut up large, hard foods into smaller bite-sized pieces. 

Summary

Loose dentures are a common concern for denture wearers because bone loss causes dentures to lose their proper fit over time. Periodic adjustments and denture adhesives can help mitigate the problem.

Only implant-supported dentures can replace your teeth in a way that prevents bone loss. However, only some people are good candidates for dental implants. Implants are also significantly more expensive than traditional dentures.

If you have loose dentures, talk to your dentist as soon as possible. They can address the problem immediately and help you determine your options.

Last updated on February 15, 2024
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 15, 2024
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
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