An acrylic denture will usually last for between 5 and 10 years. Within these timeframes, an individual’s mouth and dentures can undergo significant variations, leading to an inadequate fit or poor appearance. Not only does this occur due to the denture changing over time, but also due to a mouth being a constantly changing entity that does not remain the same.
The mouth is always changing, such as through then gums which can shrink over time, while the jawbone may also experience changes. Subsequently, the dentures that once fit perfectly may no longer be suitable. Furthermore, we must also consider the longevity of other acrylic dentures such as immediate/temporary dentures. These dentures have a far shorter lifespan of just months and are used following the removal of natural teeth. These are kept in place until a permanent acrylic denture has been formed and this is usually a period of two to three months.
What factors can affect the lifespan of dentures?
- Neighbouring Teeth
Neighbouring teeth may move position, require restorations, or may be lost through gum disease or dental decay. The denture that was originally made to look good and fit around these teeth will no longer fit appropriately and so a new denture may be required.
- Poorly fitting denture
In addition to the factors above, the gums and jawbone shrink as soon as teeth are lost. This loss happens quickly in the first 3-4months, then slows down over time. However, the bone loss will continue to occur for the rest of your life. One way to mitigate this is by placing dental implants which will maintain the bone levels. Obviously, the more bone loss the more poorly fitting the denture becomes. Eventually, you will need a new denture or a reline.
Dentures take a lot of force during the eating process and are likely to crack at some stage. This depends on numerous factors including:
- Strength of denture material – high impact acrylic is stronger.
- The strength of your bite – everyone if different. A young, strong rugby player is likely to have a fiercer bite than an elderly lady.
- If you drop them.
- The teeth you have opposing the denture – if you have your natural teeth opposing the denture, your bite will be strong. If you have implants opposing the denture, the force will be considerably more.
- The thickness of the denture.
- Denture teeth will wear over time
After six years, the denture teeth are likely to wear. This can result in poor appearance, reduced biting efficiency and reduced stability and retention of the denture.
The teeth will stain, chip and wear so after seven years they will not look as good as they originally did.
How to extend the lifespan of your dentures
There are numerous ways that you can increase the lifespan of acrylic dentures, ranging from relining & rebasing dentures to improving your oral hygiene. The relining process involves a dentist reshaping the underside of dentures in order to make them feel more comfortable on an individual’s gums. Contrastingly, rebasing is a more complex process which involves the complete replacement of a denture’s base material, this being the plastic part of the denture which helps simulate gum tissue. Both of these methods are used in order to give dentures better stability, achieve a more secure fit, and thus increase lifespan.
Caring for your dentures is also essential to increase the lifespan, as if you make sure to look after the acrylic dentures properly, then they can last an awfully long period of time. This includes removing the dentures before going to sleep at night and rinsing the dentures using warm water. You should also ensure that they are lightly brushed with a soft-bristled brush, and only non-abrasive cleaners are used to eradicate any food debris.
The dentures should be soaked at night, to ensure the dentures remain moist and retain their original shape. This can be done by placing dentures in a glass of water or denture-soaking solution overnight. We also advise using harsh chemicals less often and certainly do not recommend soaking them in denture cleaner every night. Always read the instructions and follow them accordingly when using denture cleaning chemicals.
Seeing the dentist regularly is the most important tip to increase a dentures lifespan. This is because a dentist helps ensure that the dentures remain securely fitted, as well as offering professional advice and medical assistance that you may require. Dentists can spot issues arising early whereas leaving issues to brew can result in having to deal with more catastrophic problems later down the line.
When is it necessary to change dentures
While you may consistently follow the aforementioned advice to maintain your dentures, and ensure you keep them in excellent condition, they will always be affected by wear and tear overtime. A relining and rebasing may help overcome some issues to an extent however, depending on how much your mouth and dentures have changed you will require further help. This is especially important if you have been wearing the same dentures for over their expected lifespan. Although you may think they are still working satisfactorily, only a dental professional can effectively determine if they are still fit to serve their purpose. If not, then you must seriously consider changing the dentures completely or looking for an alternative form of treatment.