Partial dentures help fill in the gaps created by a few missing teeth without requiring you to remove the healthy ones. While modern partials are made from flexible materials for the best possible fit, changes to your body or the material of the partial can lead to fit issues as time passes. Don't settle for living with these five common fit problems affecting partial dentures when they're all easily fixed by your dentist.
Changes in the size and shape of your gum tissue and roof of the mouth can result as a reaction to certain materials in the partial denture. Since there are hundreds of different chemicals and materials used in the construction of a partial, there are plenty of opportunities for a serious allergic reaction to develop. The swelling will make it impossible to get a comfortable fit with your new prosthetic piece. In most cases your dentist will need to make a new partial denture to eliminate the irritant causing your issues before you'll enjoy a proper fit.
Gagging is one of the most common issues reported by new denture owners, and most people get used to the effect eventually and stop gagging. If you've been dutifully working on your adjustment techniques and can't manage to avoid gagging when you wear your partial even after weeks and months, it's the fit that needs improvement instead. Trimming down the plastic or metal used towards the back of the palate usually fixes the problem.
For patients with extremely sensitive gag reflexes, it's necessary to remove most of the palate portion. This compromises the suction effect that holds the partial to the roof or floor of the mouth. Patients who can't avoid gagging should investigate dental implant anchors to maintain a stable fit without having to settle for triggering their gag reflex.
While some patients feel like the entire partial is squeezing their gums too tightly, most only experience pinching in one or a few spots. The tightness and rubbing can lead to gum ulcers that make it impossible to wear the partial denture at all. Since inflammation causes the gum to swell and further increase pressure, this becomes an endless cycle of discomfort. Your dentist can determine if it's just a temporary pinch or if the dentures need reshaping. For temporary pinching, the dentist can prescribe a numbing agent to help you adjust to your dentures without having to experience pain during the transition period.
Did your partial denture fit perfectly when you first got it, but now it's loose and rattling around in your mouth? Changes over the years affect the fit of the piece, including:
- Damage to the partial due to heat exposure, improper storage, or warping of the plastic
- Stretched or bent attachment wires
- Shrinking or swelling gum tissue
- The loss or movement of existing teeth bordering the denture
- Underlying loss of jaw tissue, changing the entire shape of the mouth.
In most cases, your dentist will need to make a brand-new partial denture unless the fit can be tightened with a few small wire adjustments. These dentures only last about 10 years at most, so having to replace the piece every few years for an optimal fit shouldn't be too unexpected.
Finally, watch out for soreness in the teeth used as anchors for holding the partial denture in place. These are the teeth where the attachment wires rest, and the pressure of those wires can act similarly to the arch wires attached to braces. The constant pressure can make your teeth a little sore, but long-term soreness is a sign that the denture is designed improperly and may threaten the lifespan of those otherwise healthy anchor teeth.
For more information and advice, contact a dentist at an office like Bristol Dental Group.