Options For Fixing a Broken Denture
Unfortunately, one of the most common ways I meet a patient is when their denture broke and they need it fixed. It also rarely happens at a convenient time such as a long holiday week where the owner will have no one around to interact with. When your denture breaks, first and foremost, please do not use super glue to put it back together. Super glue will not hold it together and may make it impossible to repair. When a break occurs, please go to the dentist immediately and bring all the pieces and parts that you can. The three most common breaks that I see are a tooth fracturing off the denture, the denture chipping at the edge, or denture fracturing in half and I would like to explain the ways to fix all three of these breaks.
Denture teeth are generally bonded to the denture pink acrylic when the denture is processed the first time. In older dentures that use porcelain teeth that cannot be bonded, usually metal wires are placed on each tooth to help mechanically lock the tooth onto the denture. If a tooth pops out of the denture, do not throw away the tooth. The tooth can be bonded back to the denture with material that the dentist has in the office. If the tooth is lost, then there are two ways to fix it. First is that the dentist can take a white tooth filling and place it in the gap. The filling will not bond to the denture pink acrylic so mechanical retention will need to be formed. This works well because it can be done quickly (usually within an hour if the dentist has time) but it is difficult to get the tooth filling material to match the other denture teeth perfectly because it is made to blend well with teeth not dentures. The other option is to have the dentist send it to his lab to repair to find the perfect matching tooth, but then you will have to go without the denture for a few days or a week because rarely be done on the same day.
When dentures chip at the edge, it is usually due to the denture being dropped. This causes a problem because the denture will not have as much suction as it did before; however, it is possible for the denture to still work well enough for the patient. To fix this chip, if you have the piece that broke off, then it can be bonded back to the denture itself. If you do not have the piece and the denture suction is poor, the dentist can opt to do a reline which will help replace the area broken but also fill in whatever gaps are between the denture and the gums when you bite into it. When doing relines in the dental office, the two options are between hard or soft relines. I prefer soft relines because if any issues happen during the reline, it can be quickly removed and redone. However, the problem with soft relines is that they as durable as a hard reline. The best option in cases like this is to again send it to the lab but this requires going without the denture for up to a week.
The final break that I see is when a denture breaks right down the middle. I see this on upper plates when a patient has lower teeth and on lower plates when a patient drops it. For these it is imperative that you do not attempt to repair with super glue. The super glue makes it impossible to put the denture back together in a way that fits perfectly. To repair these, I generally highly recommend the lab fixing them because fixing them in a dental office is unpredictable. When the lab fixes them, they can replace all the acrylic on the denture in a predictable manner that makes the denture good as new. When the dentist repairs them, it is difficult to keep the denture in one piece while removing the entire crack. If the entire crack is not removed during the repair, then that remaining crack (no matter how small) acts as the seed for the denture to crack again. I would estimate that when I repair these in my own hands, half come back in one month with the same fracture line. While I give a 3-month warranty on the repair, it can still be frustrating to the patient who has to go without teeth.
If you break your denture, please give us a call at NOLA Dentures and General Dentistry immediately. We can generally squeeze in this type of emergency the same day as we do not want you to go without teeth. Again, please do not attempt to repair it at home with any glue you buy from the store as it can damage the denture beyond repair. When the denture breaks though, know that Dr. Schafer and his team will take care of you and help you get your smile back.