what to do if your dentures don't fit

Here’s What You Can Do if Your Dentures Don’t Fit 

Dentures are made to make your new smile look and feel natural, however, it might take some getting used to.

If you’re discouraged because you’re having problems with misfitting dentures, continue reading for solutions on the most common denture problems, how to make them fit better at home, and determining when it’s necessary to have them fixed by your dentist. 

Our experienced dentists at Kootenai Dental Group are happy to help and answer any denture questions you may have!

Common denture problems and how to fix them

Dentures should feel comfortable and fit perfectly but when your mouth is introduced to a foreign set of teeth, it might not initially be that way. There are several possibilities that could be the culprit of your denture discomfort. In order to identify the best solution, we must first isolate the type of dentures you’re using.  

what to do if your dentures don't fit

Temporary or permanent dentures:

Immediate (or temporary) dentures are given during the same appointment as the tooth extraction to allow the patient’s swollen gums time to heal. 

Traditional (or permanent) dentures are given once the gums have fully healed and somewhat stabilized. 

These two denture types are alike in shape and wearability as they rest over the gum tissue. Ideally, the upper prosthesis should suction to the roof of your mouth, and the lower prosthesis will fit snugly between your cheeks. 

Still, you may face some of the following issues.

  • You have trouble eating – It will take time to learn how to chew with dentures in, especially since the pressure now rests on your gums. Start with soft foods like applesauce, oatmeal, jello, yogurt, avocado, hummus, mashed potatoes, egg, soft pasta, and soup. Avoid foods that are sticky (nut butter), hard (raw fruits, veggies, nuts, popcorn), crunchy (chips, crackers), and chewy (meat).
  • You have difficulty speaking – The shape of the dentures will change the anatomy of your mouth. Speech pattern changes include slurred speech and a lisp. Speak slower when you first get dentures to prevent them from coming off of your gums. If you notice a clicking noise when you’re speaking, it may be due to loose dentures.  
  • They make you gag – When your body detects a foreign object, such as dentures, it activates the gag reflex. It may take some time for your mouth to accept your new teeth, so be consistent about wearing them for a little while each day, and eventually, the gagging should disappear. Long-term denture users may experience gagging as a result of bone loss and gum shrinkage. If the gagging persists, your dentist can trim or adjust the dentures.
  • They make you feel sick – Proper dental hygiene is crucial for preventing you from inhaling and swallowing bacteria that could be making you ill. Rinse your mouth and dentures after every meal, brush your dentures, gums, palate, and tongue in the evening, and soak your dentures overnight. Do not sleep with them on.
  • They feel big  – Some people feel that their new dentures are too wide and bulky, making them look like a horse. In reality, this is not so. This illusion usually doesn’t have to do with the dentures, but rather is due to the mouth still being swollen. 
  • Your facial shape has changed – Some dentures don’t replace the original height of your teeth, so you may experience sagging cheeks and sunken lips. After wearing dentures for a while, bone resorption occurs, leaving you with a droopy chin. Misfitting dentures may push out your lips and cheeks or make your jaw tilt to one side, causing uneven wear and tear and possibly a crooked smile. Your dentist will need to adjust the denture if this occurs. 
  • They just don’t feel right – Your dentures may be warped or drying out. To keep them damp, soak them in water or a denture solution when not in use. Rinse them with lukewarm water. Hot water will make them warp. 
  • They won’t stay in place – If your dentures are slipping or coming off, ask your dentist about which dental adhesive option could work best for you. 
  • They are loose – Dentures are made to fit snug around your gums, however, due to the natural progression of your swollen gums shrinking and your jawbone receding, they will become loose over time. If your dentures used to feel comfortable, but that’s no longer the case, your dentist will need to reline them.
  • The bite is not aligned – If your dentures give you an overbite, underbite, or biting down does not feel normal, your dentist will need to realign them. 
  • Your gums hurt – If the dentures don’t fit properly, they may rub against your gum tissue, causing tenderness, irritation, chafing, pressure sores, and possibly infection. If you experience any of these symptoms, visit your dentist. 
  • You have a fissured or broken tooth – Due to wear and tear, it’s possible that your dentures may chip or crack, and if dropped, a tooth may break off entirely. In either of these cases, do not attempt to fix them on your own. 

Snap-on dentures: 

Stabilized overdentures (or snap-on dentures) clip into dental implants (metal rods that are inserted into the jawbone) to create a secure fit. Some patients may experience the following issues:

  • The denture will not stay snapped in – Food and other debris can get stuck inside the implant and block the denture from clicking into place. Inspect and clean the implants thoroughly. If the issue persists or occurs only when you bite down, your dentist may need to replace the plastic pieces or o-rings or adjust the bite. 
  • It takes a lot of effort to snap the dentures on and off – The dentures may not be aligned properly with the implants, in which case you should have them reexamined.
  • The attachments feel loose – Snap-in dentures wear down over time and will need to be re-tightened or some of the pieces replaced. 
  • You’re in pain – If your jaw is sore, your dentures feel tight, or your gums are being pinched, your dentures may need to be refitted. 

How long does it take for dentures to feel normal?

It may take 1 to 4 weeks to become accustomed to new dentures after extraction, however, some discomfort may linger for 2 to 12 months, depending on the number of tooth extractions taken, your body’s ability to heal, and the rate at which the bone resorbs within the first year.  

 What is normal?

If your dentures are new and you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, give yourself a little time to adjust. If the symptoms do not subside, let your dentist know.

  • They feel awkward or look big
  • You have some discomfort 
  • You’re having difficulty eating
  • You have a minor gag reflex
  • You’re slurring your words

Red flags to look out for

The following symptoms require prompt dental attention. 

  • Any sort of pain – This includes sore spots, dentures rubbing or cutting into the gums, bleeding, or infection.
  • The dentures are slipping or sliding around the mouth – The more unstable your dentures are, the greater the possibility that you will experience constant soreness, swelling, and risk of infection.
  • They’re cracked, broken, or not properly aligned.

What to do if you’re having a problem with a denture fit 

Most of the common denture problems can be avoided with implant-supported dentures. You can read all the benefits of implant-supported dentures here but these are the main issues you can expect them to resolve.

  • They are entirely supported by dental implants, which prevent loosening and slippage. 
  • They serve to strengthen the jawbone to prevent long-term resorption. 
  • They’re comfortable as they don’t put pressure on the gums.
  • They don’t cover the roof of your mouth, thereby making it easier to speak, eat, and shouldn’t cause gagging. 
  • They will restore your face to the correct proportions.
  • They are permanently retained by screws and only removable by a dentist.
  • They’re the closest thing to natural teeth in terms of functionality, feel, and appearance. In fact, you have the ability to customize them to look exactly how you want! 

Our team at Kootenai Dental Group in Coeur d’Alene, ID is committed to your healthy,  pain-free, and radiant smile. If you have any questions about traditional or implant-supported dentures, give us a call at 208-762-8750! 

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