Denture disasters (and how to avoid them)

Modern technology has made dentures better than ever. They look more natural, feel more comfortable and allow many denture-wearers to enjoy more of their favourite foods. And for many it’s an opportunity for those long-desired perfect pearly whites!

But this is not to say that embarrassing denture moments still don’t happen. These include unpleasant stains and odours, speaking difficulties and, perhaps worst of all, dentures slipping or falling out when in public.

Perhaps something like this has happened to you or to a friend: You’re on vacation, swimming in the ocean and unexpectedly, a strong wave hits you from behind. You’re caught by surprise and when you call out, your dentures go flying into the ocean – and you’re forced to spend the rest of your holiday without them.

Or maybe you’re eating nachos in a restaurant – and when you bite down, several of your front teeth fall out. Or you give a big belly laugh, or you have to sneeze, only to have your dentures slip.

Avoid denture disasters

Is there a way to avoid these kinds of embarrassing episodes? While properly made dentures are designed to fit precisely, many people opt to use adhesives for added security against slipping or loosening of dentures when eating, exercising, laughing, coughing or speaking in public.

And adhesives can also enhance chewing power by increasing the force that can be applied while biting. This gives many denture wearers the freedom to eat certain hard foods they may have been avoiding.

Adhesives can also be beneficial for oral hygiene by preventing food particles from collecting underneath the dentures. This also helps to alleviate a painful source of irritation for many denture-wearers.

To apply adhesive and insert dentures:

– Thoroughly clean and dry your dentures.

– Apply a dental adhesive in small dots, not too close to the denture edge. Hint: Begin with a small amount, and gradually add more each day until you’ve found the hold that’s right for you.

– Rinse mouth before inserting dentures.

– Press dentures in place, hold firmly, and bite down for a few seconds to secure.

To remove dentures and adhesive:

– Swish mouth with water.

– Take dentures out slowly with a rocking motion.

– Wipe adhesive residue from gums and dentures with a moist cloth.

– Brush dentures under warm running water with a special denture cleanser and soak overnight to help loosen odor-causing bacteria, plaque and tartar. (Read more.)

– Wipe gums for any remaining adhesive residue.

No substitute for properly fitting dentures

While adhesives can provide added security for slipping or ‘clacking’ dentures, keep in mind that an adhesive is not a substitute for properly fitting dentures. Ill-fitting dentures can be harmful to the gum’s underlying soft and hard tissues and can lead to inflammation. And because of its movement on the soft tissue and underlying bone, an ill-fitting denture can also lead to bone loss. If you find that your dentures are loose, be sure to see your dentist.

To read more on dental adhesives, click here.