One of the most common complaints we hear from patients is that their complete lower denture is loose. What leads to issues with comfort, looseness, and reliability of a complete lower denture? And what can be done to improve things?
Factors influencing lower denture fit
There are various factors that influence the fit of a complete lower denture and can cause it to become loose.
Lack of suction
With a complete upper denture, the denture acrylic completely covers your palate. This coverage provides suction which keeps your denture in place and stable.
Complete lower dentures cannot achieve the same kind of coverage. They must be shaped around the arch of your teeth and your tongue. Because of this, they lack the surface area coverage that provides the ability to achieve suction.
Tongue and cheek movements
When you eat, drink, speak, and laugh, your tongue and cheeks move. These movements cause contact with your denture. Because a complete lower denture cannot achieve suction, the force of tongue and cheek movements can more easily displace it.
Once you have lost teeth, the jawbone that used to support those teeth will begin to resorb or disappear. The process of resorption will be faster for some than others, but it inevitably leads to gums that become smaller and flatter over time.
With less substantial gums to be shaped around, it becomes harder as time passes to retain your complete lower denture.
Medical conditions and medications
Certain medical conditions and medications can change the shape of your jaw or soft tissue. This change can lead to a denture that fits poorly.
In addition, a loss of more than 7 pounds may change the shape of your mouth and gums which could cause your denture to feel loose.
Improving lower denture fit
If your complete lower denture fits poorly, discuss the situation with your Denturist. There may be ways to improve the fit which will improve your overall denture experience.
Adapting to life with a denture
Dentures do not function like natural teeth. Because of this, you must relearn how to move your mouth to work with your new denture as you chew, drink, speak, and laugh.
In addition, the body will initially treat your new denture like a foreign body and work to get rid of it. Saliva production will increase, and your facial muscles, cheeks, tongue, and lips will try to move away from their new positions, all of which can physically dislodge your denture.
While the adjustment period can be frustrating at times, the body’s responses to your new denture can be overcome with time, persistence, and practice.
In cases of significant bone resorption, a soft liner may help.
Soft liners are a cushioned base built into a denture, usually for comfort rather than retention or stability. However, being more porous, a soft base can adhere better to gums, making your denture potentially more stable and less irritating.
A denture reline involves removing some of the material from the tissue side or fitting surface of the denture and then rebuilding the denture in order to match its shape to that of your mouth. It can make an older denture fit more securely and feel more comfortable.
If your lower denture is more than 5 years old, your body has likely changed enough that your current denture can no longer be made to fit properly. In that case, it may be time for a new denture that can be fabricated to the current contours of your mouth.
Dental implants are basically artificial roots to which a denture is attached. They are installed by a dentist or dental surgeon who has been trained in implant procedures.
A few implants will serve as anchors for your denture, providing excellent stability and making chewing, talking, and smiling easy and comfortable.