How Are Dentures Repaired?

Find UK Dentists »

How Can Dentures Break?

Your denture will be more and more susceptible to cracking and breakage with age, and even if you follow your dentist’s advice with regards to cleaning and storing your dentures the plastic will become weaker. This is because as you age your mouth changes shape and this causes your denture to have a looser fit – ie the plates will move about more in your mouth as you are talking or chewing food. This means that the plastic is repeatedly flexed where the suction is trying to keep it in your mouth. As with any flexible plastic, repeated flexing of the same part will cause breakage. There is also a risk that repeated flexing of the acrylic can cause the false teeth embedded in the plate to become loose or even break off. This can be prevented by having your denture relined when it gets loose. This page will focus on what happens if you have NOT had your denture relined when it became loose and it has cracked or broken. If your denture should break, there are a number of facts that you may find helpful to know.

If your denture breaks and you send it off to a laboratory to be repaired they will not simply glue the pieces back together. Gluing the pieces may be one step of the process but only if there is one clear line where the denture has fractured (ie not lots of cracks or a shatter) and even then glue is only used to temporarily attach the pieces together to hold them in place for the repairing procedure. Once the pieces are in place the laboratory technician will pour either a silicone compound or a plaster mix inside the denture to cast a mould of the original shape. The final step is for the technician to remove about an eighth of an inch from the plastic on either side of the crack and replace it with new acrylic. This means that your denture is actually stronger after it has been mended than when it was before it broke! The denture is remade to exactly the same specification and measurements except the acrylic plate is stronger. If one of the false teeth has come loose from the plate the same procedure is followed where the old plastic is removed from around the damaged are and replaced with new acrylic, making the bond stronger than ever.

Do not Repair your Dentures yourself

You should not try and repair your dentures yourself unless you are sure you are doing it correctly or you could cost yourself even more money to repair it. If you are trying to fix it however you must never use glue to hold the pieces together. Glues contain powerful solvents (this is why glue is sometimes used as a recreational drug) and these solvents melt the acrylic around the edges of the breakage and if you do repair with glue the glue can distort the shape of your denture. If the glue melts the edges of your plate there is no way for your denture to be repaired, even by a dental laboratory, back to the same shape or condition it was in before the breakage. A distorted denture will be ill-fitting and is more likely to cause blisters and sores. You will most likely need to have a new plate made which can be costly and take a long time. Super Glue, which is the only glue that won’t melt the plastic, is unfortunately water soluble to even using this will only give you a temporary solution. It is also difficult for a non-professional to place the pieces back together so that they are exactly the same size and shape as they were before the break, which again could cause sores and blisters.

If your denture has broken because it does not fit you properly (either due to a change in the shape of your mouth or due to poor craftsmanship) you will not be able to simply have the pieces reattached. This is because if they are attached to repair the denture to its previous measurements the same problems will still be there and your dentures will break again. If you pay out to have your denture relined or rebased when you realise the break is due to bad fit you may pay less in the long run than having it repaired to the wrong size.

Sending your Dentures to a Laboratory

The person most qualified to repair your dentures is of course your dentist, but there may be a chance that you can save money by sending your dentures straight to the laboratory yourself.  Some laboratories have an online system where their website will give you specific instructions on how to send them your dentures. As dentures are valuable you will probably need to send them by special delivery or priority post. There are a few things you might want to think about though before choosing to send your dentures straight to the laboratory. The first is that a laboratory will not be able to change the fit of your dentures, they will only repair them to how they were before so the same rule applies with getting them relined or they will break again. The second thing to remember is that you will receive your dentures back in the post and put them back in your mouth yourself – there is no dentist involved. This means that where a dentist fitting a new denture could make little adjustments for you at the fitting if you’ve used an online laboratory service you will have to wait and make a further appointment with your dentist if you have trouble adjusting to the repaired dentures. This may end up costing more.  Sending it out to a lab also yourself precludes the possibility of having it relined or rebased.

Dentists Repairing Dentures

Perhaps the most cautious (although probably more expensive) option is to go to a dentist with all the broken pieces of your denture and let him or her work out whether or not you need to have an impression taken so that the laboratory that the dentist sends your dentures to can either repair or reline the denture. Most dental laboratories (particularly the ones used by private dental practices) will offer one-day repairs or reline procedures so you might be able to go to the dentist one day and late the next day receive your new dentures.

Can I Repair My Dentures Myself?

Never attempt to fix or readjust your dentures yourself. If you have any problems with them, take them to your dentist, who more often than not can mend them on the very same day. Attempting to alter your dentures yourself could result in more damage, meaning that you may have to buy a new set. Your mouth could also be damaged if you erroneously altered the dentures.

« Storing Your Dentures What Are Denture Repair Kits? »

Guide to Dentures