How to Fix Loose Lower Dentures

Can a loose lower denture get better suction?

A weekly situation in my office, Smile Solutions by Emmi Dental Asssociates, involves a patient asking me to get their lower denture to fit better.

When I explore exactly what they  mean by " fit better", they usually say that their "denture is loose and they want better suction". The ones with a full upper denture compare the fit and say they want it to be as tight as their upper denture and not move as much. The ones with natural upper teeth want it more like natural teeth.

After I do a thorough oral exam and determine the cause of their denture complaint, I explain the limitations of a full removable lower denture the common causes and solutions to a loose denture.

The common symptoms of a loose denture are:

1. Looseness during speech.

2. Looseness during eating.

3. Looseness when opening their mouth widely.

4. And pain during function.

There are many potential causes for looseness of a lower denture. The primary cause is the anatomy of the lower jaw. Unlike the upper jaw, the lower jaw does not allow for a easily obtained 360 degree seal of denture borders. The denture must allow space for the tongue and the up and down movement of the floor of the mouth. The lower denture must also be fabricated to resist dislodgement by the cheek side gums, called vestibule.

Additional reasons for ill fitting dentures leading to looseness could include:

1. Lack of seal due to inadequate denture border length.

The sides of a denture are called the borders. The borders must be the correct length, not too short or too long for good retention. The borders must also be the correct width to help create a good seal.

2. Resorption of remaining ridge or bone.

There must be enough bone to support a full denture. When a dentist says "you don't have enough gums" for your denture, what he is really saying is you don't have enough bone which makes the gums very small and flat. All jaws starts to resorb or disappear once the teeth are removed. It can be a faster process on some versus others but the ridge of the jaw always resorbs once teeth are removed which make denture stability and retention more difficult.

3. Warped denture base.

The surface of the denture touching the gums is called the base. Bases can distort over time if left to dry out when out of the mouth. Also, the ridge can change which makes the denture appear distorted but really it was the jaw that changed not the denture.

4. Decreased in amount and quality of saliva.

A major factor in denture retention is your saliva. Normal saliva aids in the suction of a denture. If your saliva quantity is deficient or if the saliva is thick and ropey the denture will not fit as well. This can be caused by an underlying medical condition or by medicines taken to correct other medical conditions.

5. Patient inability to exert appropriate control of denture by control of tongue, cheeks, and different chewing mechanism of denture versus natural teeth.

Part of the process of eating well with a removable denture is for you to understand that a denture does not function like natural teeth. Therefore, a patient must adapt to how they chew and how they control their tongue and cheeks to help keep the denture in proper position.

Your Dentist must do a thorough examination of your lower ridge, the fit of the denture and determine the changes needed to get a better more comfortable fit of your denture.

Some common solutions are:

1. Perform a hard reline of the denture.

A reline will readapt your denture base to your current ridge anatomy. This can usually be done in a day or two and most times you must go without your denture while the dentist has the reline of your denture completed by a dental lab.

2. Remake the denture.

When a reline is inadequate, a new denture must be fabricated to get the best results. This process can be done in two to five visits under normal conditions. A normal denture should last about 7 years. 

3. Or suggest an alternative to a removable denture.

The hands down best alternative and most effective solution to a loose denture is to have dental implants placed to secure your denture. You can have a denture that can still be removed yet held by implants or a denture that can not be removed that is completely implant supported. 

As you can see, there are a multitude of reasons for a loose lower denture. Our body is in a constant state of change. As we age, our jaws change especially when there are no teeth to maintain the integrity of the jaw. If you are experiencing a loose lower denture, go to your dentist and ask for solutions. There is almost always a solution to a loose denture,however, you must decide the extent to which you want to explore to gain the stability and tightness you desire.

Good luck and please call my office, 302-999-8113, if you have any questions or concerns about your denture or for a second opinion to correct your denture problem.