One of the most frequent questions we are asked is how long will my new denture last. Sadly, a denture will not last forever – 5 to 7 years on average – but perhaps not for the reasons you think.
Changes in your mouth
The inside of your denture is like a snapshot of your mouth at a particular time. With an impression, your Denturist will capture the unique contours of your mouth and jaw. He will then build your denture to fill your oral cavity, support your facial muscles, and ensure correct function for your upper and lower jaws.
With the passage of time, your mouth will start to change shape. This natural process is called resorption. It starts when you lose one or more teeth and will continue for the rest of your life.
Eventually, your denture will start fitting poorly. This is because the inside of your denture no longer matches the changed shaped of your resorbed mouth.
For patients with immediate dentures, you may notice denture fit declining within the first several months of extractions. For most other patients, your denture may start feeling loose anywhere from 1 to 3 years after insertion.
At that time, your Denturist may recommend a reline to restore the inside surface of the denture to the changed contours of your mouth. After a reline, your denture will fit snugly again and activities like eating, drinking, speaking, and laughing will become much easier.
However, with more time and thanks to the relentless process of resorption, your denture will once again begin to fit poorly.
For some patients, a second reline may restore denture fit. Eventually, you will reach the point where a reline will not be enough to restore proper fit and function. A new denture must be made to properly support your changed oral cavity, facial muscles, and jaw function.
Wear on denture teeth
Denture teeth will also change over time. The biting or occlusal surfaces of your teeth will slowly wear down due to use. Eventually, you will notice chewing or biting certain foods will become more challenging.
This wearing away of the teeth’s biting surfaces will also distort your bite. This can cause stress to your jaw joint, also known as your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which can lead to TMJ disorders.
Lifespan of denture acrylic
The mouth is a harsh environment for denture acrylic.
In the mouth, a denture is subjected to constant physical trauma caused by eating, speaking, and other movements of the lips, face, and jaw. This trauma can lead to microscopic scratches and cracks.
The mouth or “oral microbiome” also continually bathes the denture in bacteria. This leads to the denture being coated in biofilm. Much of this gets whisked away when you clean your denture. However, denture acrylic is porous and bacteria can get trapped in the denture where micro-scratches and cracks are.
As the denture acrylic ages and more bacteria become trapped in the acrylic, it becomes more difficult to remove it by brushing and soaking the denture. As the bacteria colonise in the denture, the denture becomes more susceptible to stains and breakage, and the potential increases for bacteria-related health issues.
By keeping up with your annual checkup appointments, your Denturist will help to ensure your denture will work for you as long as possible – and let you know when it is time to consider a new one.