Category Archives: Denture Problems

I’m not even 40, should I get dentures?

I am only 39 years old and my teeth are deteriorating every year. At the moment I have two that are driving me crazy because they hurt so badly. I get these terrible zinging sensations from anything hot or cold and I have so much dental work that causes me to grind my teeth every night. I have tried mouth guards, have loads of crowns, fillings, and have endured many root canals. I have always kept up with regular dental care but my mom had dentures by 50. So I feel like I got the short end of the stick with genetics. I have paid thousands of dollars to the dentist and now he wants to do two more root canals. Is it time I just cut my losses and get dentures?

– Candice in Georgia


It sounds like you are having a tough time yet again. Most dentists will encourage you to maintain as much healthy tooth structure as possible, whether it be through crowns or root canals. The problem is once the teeth are extracted, that’s it. Have you started talking about other options with your dentist? Dentures are not the only option for people in your situation, although most people assume them to be.

Have you considered dental implants? Dental implants are becoming the best practice for replacing missing teeth. It is understandable that you are fed up with root canals and crowns, but dental implants are actually surgically implanted into your jawbone and a replacement crown is placed directly on it. Implants tend to be a bit more expensive than dentures, but the end result and quality of life is something that you should definitely consider. They look, feel, and function just like your natural teeth.

Your mom may be able to attest to it, but when you no longer have teeth present the body resorbs the bone to be used in other parts of the body. The end result is bone that shrinks and your face takes on a sunken in appearance. Over time (10-20 years) you will not even be able to keep a denture in, there will likely be dietary restrictions, and they will be terribly uncomfortable. This bone loss condition is called facial collapse. So proceed with caution in making your decisions. You are still very young and facial collapse is inevitable with dentures at your age.

There are some other treatment options that may work for you that are less expensive than dental implants. Ask your dentist about partial dentures, a dental bridge, or even an implant-supported denture. Also, it is important that you seek a couple opinions before selecting an implant dentist. It takes extensive training beyond dental school in order to have success in placing them. Good luck! This post isn’t to scare you out of dentures. Just know your options and possible denture problems that patients deal with.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Can I whiten my dentures with Clorox?

I don’t like my dentures and want them to be whiter. Is that possible? Can I bleach them with Clorox on my own?

– Jed in Texas


Dentures are made of either an acrylic or ceramic material that will not lighten. Teeth whitening treatments done by a dentist are only effective on living teeth and since dentures are artificial, it will not work. When the dentures were originally created, they should have been done to look natural and blend in with your complexion and skin tone, etc.

Unfortunately, after a denture is made, the color or shade can not be adjusted. The only way to get a lighter tone would be to have a new set of dentures made. Maybe you could consider going this route if you are really unhappy with the look of your current set. Then, you would have a back-up set. That way you never have to worry about being without teeth.

You aren’t alone when it comes to unhappy denture patients. Many people aren’t pleased with the way they look. So if you decide to get a new set made, be sure you clearly communicate how light you want to go. And whatever you do, do not use Clorox to try to whiten them on your own. This will not work and may end up whitening pink gum portion of an acrylic denture.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Can’t keep a denture in at 60 years old. Do I have any options?

I am only 60 years old and my dentures are falling out. I have had them for over 30 years now and it seems like there is not ridge left. Is there anything that can be done. I don’t want to live on liquid the rest of my life!

– Beatrice

This is sad to hear. What your dentist may not have informed you about decades ago was the denture problems that can occur when you are missing all your teeth. What happens is that the body resorbs the minerals to be used in other parts of the body. This causes the bone to shrink in your jaw. So that is why you no longer have a bony ridge left to support your denture. The condition is known as facial collapse. And from what you have described it sounds like you are at risk in becoming a dental cripple. Your quality of life will continue to suffer as this continues to progress.

But there is something that can be done. Bone grafting is a procedure that builds the bone back up. You want to be very selective in the dentist and oral surgeon you choose. Some implant dentists perform bone grafting surgery as well. Depending on the condition of your teeth, there may be some oral surgeons that will steer clear of your case.

There are some other options that may work for improving your current condition. This, of course, all depends on your budget and what your desired outcome is. First, you can get a new removable denture placed after the bone has been surgically replenished. But facial collapse will still be a concern. As time goes by, you will again experience bone loss.

Dental implants prevent facial collapse. The implants are surgically implanted into your jaw so your body recognizes it needs the bone to support the implant. As little as two implants can help. This is called an overdenture, or snap-on denture. The more dental implants you get, the better off you will be in the long run. Six to eight implants to secure your denture will make it feel like you have your old teeth back.

Thank you for being willing to share your story. You probably had no idea you would be in this situation 30 years ago. Hopefully, your story will help others when faced with the difficult decision of the best treatment option for missing teeth.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Can a Dentist Adjust My Dentures so They Look Better?

I’m only 40, but I’ve had dentures for over 10 years now. Bad teeth run in my family and I just couldn’t keep up with all the work that was needed. Although I was initially glad to be out of pain and to be able to smile without being self-conscious again, they don’t look natural. I’m okay with the fit and everything, but even a decade later, it bothers me that my dentures don’t have the shape and color that my natural teeth did. Is there a way to have my current set adjusted so they look better or do I have to start over? Can a new set even be made to look like my original teeth? I only ask because I don’t think my insurance company will help cover a new set yet and I don’t want to pay out-of-pocket, especially since I’ve already put up with it for so long.


Sharon in Florida

Dear Sharon,

There’s probably not a way to adjust your dentures to provide the drastic change you’re hoping for. Slight adjustments can be made so they fit better, but large aesthetic changes require a new set. When a dentist works with an experienced and knowledgeable lab technician, the results can be stunning. You may have to call around a bit to find a dentist who will work with you to provide the cosmetic results you want. You’ll also need several photos of how your teeth looked before, so that they can be matched. The shade of the gum tissue and the color of the teeth can be made just about any hue you want, too. Usually, the dentist has a good idea of what colors will complement your appearance best, but you may be able to custom-select shades as well if you request it beforehand. Dentures can be very life-like and beautiful when done by a dentist with an artistic eye.

Insurance companies often have a 10-year waiting period between new sets of dentures. Some may require more time and some will allow for less, so your might be covered now. To be sure, ask your dental office to submit a pre-authorization to the insurance company. This binds them to an agreed upon payment and allows you to try to fight it if they will deny it, before you have a surprise bill show up in your mailbox.

As the years go by, you may be dealing with more denture problems than the aesthetics involved. Many denture patients complain of them falling out at embarrassing times, causing painful sores, and also are concerned with facial collapse. You may want to consider having a discussion with your dentist about dental implants. They not only look natural, but function just like your normal teeth used to. Implants also prevent bone loss that is inevitable when missing teeth.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Can a serious smoker get dental implants?

I have really bad gum disease and I am a heavy smoker. A couple of my teeth have fallen out and I hate the way I look now. I think it would actually look better if I get the other bad teeth pulled and replaced with either a denture or dental implants. I think dental implants will look better but I want to know if that is a good idea because I’m a serious smoker.

– Bart in Washington


Well, it’s likely you know how terrible smoking is for your physical health. But what you may not realize is smoking also has a negative affect on your oral health, especially gum disease. As you are experiencing, gum disease is terrible and will eventually be a cause of tooth loss.

You have also mentioned the fact that dental implants look more aesthetically pleasing than dentures. They are also a permanent solution to missing teeth. They look, feel, and function just like your natural teeth. But the downside to implants is that smoking will negatively affect your implants, just like it negatively affects your gums. Specifically, smoking will complicate the healing and post-operative period after the implants have been surgically placed.

Therefore, if the implant sites do not heal properly, the end result may be loose dental implants, an increased risk for infection, and overall will increase the risk of dental implant failure.

In regard to dentures, many patients are not happy with the way them. Not only do they not like the look of them, other denture problems are that they aren’t ideal for chewing, and eventually you will be dealing with a bone loss condition called facial collapse the occurs when you are missing teeth. The bone is resorbed to be used elsewhere which in turn causes your jawbone to shrink.

So the elephant in the room is that first thing first – quit smoking! Since dental implants are a large investment, it would be wise to invest your money in quitting smoking. Then, you will have a much better chance of being a dental implant candidate.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.



I hate my dentures! Do I have options?

My denture sucks! It has given me so many problems. I have only had it for a few years now and I hate it! It seems like I have to go into the dentist every couple months to have it re-fitted. But it never helps with how it looks. It hurts and affects my eating and talking. I’m ready to trash it. No teeth would be better than this sorry thing. Do I have any other options? The dentist has informed me that it probably just will not get any better. I refuse to settle for that kind of care. Help!

– Louise in Deleware


Don’t throw in the towel this yet. And first before stating anything further, please accept this apology and that kind of treatment in making you feel like that is as good as it gets. It could be that the current dentist you are seeing isn’t familiar or experienced in helping patients with the right solution to replace missing teeth.

Sadly, nothing will ever function as good as your natural teeth once did. But incorporating dental implants into your treatment plan will greatly improve the comfort and functionality. All-on-four dental implants are another possible treatment if you are indeed a candidate. You need to be on the hunt for an experienced implant dentist that is highly experienced and knowledgeable in implant-supported dentures and dental implants.

Implants will help provide increased stability and you should be able to get back to eating and carrying on normally. Dental implants are a more permanent solution to dentures and prevent many common denture problems. When you don’t have any teeth left, you are subject to a bone loss condition called facial collapse which will only continue to cause problems as time goes by. Dental implants will prevent facial collapse, as well.

So it sounds like it may be time to part ways with your original dentist and start pursuing a consultation with an expert implant dentist.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Tooth popped off my denture.

I wear a full denture on my top arch. I am very good about cleaning it; however, while doing so yesterday I dropped it in the sink, breaking one of the teeth off. The tooth is intact, so is there anything on my own I can do to repair it? I cannot afford to have a new one made!

– Richard in Colorado


Oh yes, the good ole’ “can I fix it myself” question. I would not recommend you try to repair a cracked or broken denture. That can actually do more harm than good. Whatever you do, do not grab crazy glue or any type of glue substance. Most denture teeth are made of a certain type of plastic that will stick directly to the base of the denture. It is important not to try to glue it in yourself, as who knows what chemicals you are placing in your mouth. Not to mention, an ill-fitting denture can cause irritation and sores, which can be the case if you try to glue a tooth in it yourself. Trying to fix it yourself can lead to a whole set of other denture problems. It’s is best to bring it back to your dentist and let them advise you on the best course of treatment. If your dentist cannot make the repair themselves, they will likely send it back to the lab, and work with them to repair it at minimal cost.

Try not to panic; these things happen all the time. Remember, an apparently simple fix, may not be that simple and is often done incorrectly. In this case, you want the professional repair!

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Are dentures going to make me look old?

I am only 18 years old and am so freaked out about getting dentures. Every denture patient I think of looks so old. I only have to get a bottom denture and am really unhappy about it. But I have to do what I have to do. I’m so scared of looking ugly and old. Please don’t be mean. I just want to know if there is anything that can be done to help me look my age and not 80!

– Jen in Pennsylvania


Your concern is valid. The reason that dentures tend to make people look much older than they really are is because of a condition called facial collapse. What happens when you no longer have teeth is that the bone that used to support the teeth gradually recedes. Basically, the body is so resourceful that it realizes that the bone is no longer needed, so the minerals are resorbed to be used in other areas of the body. That is why an individual’s face looks sunken in when they have had dentures for 20-30 years.

Since you are so young, it would be really worth your while to consider dental implants. Has your doctor discussed this treatment option with you? At 18 years old, facial collapse could set in before you are 40 years old. In some cases the jawbone shrinks so much that a denture doesn’t even stay in, no matter how many times it is relined. You really don’t want to be a dental cripple at such a young age. It may slip out at embarrassing times and it can alter your appearance. The reason for this response is not to scare you anymore than you are already, but to consider your options.

Dental implants actually prevent facial collapse. This is because the implant is surgically implanted into your jawbone and tells the brain that there is still a tooth there. Therefore, bone loss is prevented. Implants not only look and feel like your natural teeth, but they function just like normal. They tend to be more expensive than dentures, so if this is a concern for you, an implant overdenture or snap-on denture may work. This technique combines a denture and implants and can be done using as little as two dental implants. The implants that are placed still prevent bone loss in the immediate area surrounding the implant and help to stabilize a denture.

Hopefully this gives you some other options to consider. If your dentist has not discussed the potential for denture problems, you truly may want to seek a second opinion.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.