Adjusting Your Dentures -- When To Try It At Home And When To Go To The Dentist

Modern dentures are well-constructed, technologically advanced dental aids, but that doesn't mean they are perfect. If you've noticed some discomfort wearing your dentures, you may need to have them realigned or adjusted. So, how do you go about this? What can you do at home and what must be done by your dentist?

At Home

At-home denture adjustments should only be performed if you can't get to the dentist and the pain is sufficiently bothersome to make wearing them difficult. In this case, you can make minor adjustments that might help.

First, if your dentures have developed a sharp protrusion or projection of either metal or acrylic on a part of the denture that is not connected to an implant, you can file that protrusion down using a simple nail file or emery board.

Second, if your problem lies with loosened metal clasps, you can adjust those carefully by using light pressure from your thumbs to move the offending clasp(s) closer to your teeth.

Any adjusting that needs more work than the above should be done by your dentist. Never use home tools on your dentures, since this can result in more harm than good.

At the Dentist

If you have badly-fitting dentures, it's time to visit the dentist instead of reaching for the tools. In fact, it's actually quite normal for dentures to need professional realigning every few years. Why? Because bones and tissues in your mouth change over time, often shrinking or being worn down both by natural forces and by the dentures themselves. This results in the need to occasionally adjust the denture fit to compensate.

Your dentist will perform what's called "relining" of the dentures. To start with, the dentist will remove a layer from the existing denture. Then, he or she will take a mold of your mouth to get an appropriate new fit.

The material making up the impression will then be replaced by either a hard acrylic or a softer material (depending on how sensitive your gums are). The harder material will last longer, so it's important to work with your dentist to determine which choice is right for you.

Working Together

Because your dentures require regular maintenance for a good fit, it's important to work with a qualified dentist like Scott W. Murphy, D.M.D., P.A.. Schedule regular cleaning visits and checkups, and make sure you are following all recommendations about daily dental hygiene. Together, you and your dentist can make sure your dentures – and your whole mouth – are comfortable and healthy.