I am not happy with my dentures. What should I do?
“The bottom ones never seem to stay in and sometimes food gets stuck in them, the top ones only stay in till the glue wears out. I don’t wont to pay more money as I have already paid over $5000 dollars for them and am not happy with them?”
– Question from Graham in Arana Hills, Brisbane
Dr David Kerr replies:
There may be a better solution than dentures
If you have paid $5000 dollars for a set of dentures then that is towards the upper end of denture fees so you have every right to expect that the quality would be high. However, for some people it is impossible to make dentures as the anatomy of their mouth just does not suit a denture, particularly the bottom ones.
Some people, because of the amount of bone shrinkage they have had or the anatomy of their jaw or the way their top and bottom jaw meets, it can be impossible for them to wear dentures. Mechanically dentures are never going to be successful for some.
For those people the only other solution is dental implants to hold the dentures in place. Maybe they can have a denture that’s retained by implants, or if that is not possible then you may need a different dental solution that is built onto the implant itself. To really be able to tell the best solution this really needs to be determined by a dentist examining your mouth in person.
Dentists are not always the best communicators
The original dentist may have made some assumptions, ie this patient has come in for dentures not implants, perhaps due to the significant cost difference. So the denture may have been made to a high technical standard but this particular person may be someone who a denture was never actually suited towards. For some people there are better options.
I would recommend that you return to the dentist who made the denture. The dentists I know are contentious and would appreciate the opportunity to ‘make it right’. Often the problem can be resolved by adjusting them to fit, and this is quite a straightforward and easy solution.
Denture adhesives and glue options
If you are using a glue then I am assuming that you don’t have a great deal of saliva and that can be a problem no matter how well the dentures are made – if you don’t have saliva to form that seal then you won’t get any suction.
There have also been some concerns recently about denture adhesives that contain zinc as there was an increased risk of oral cancer. I believe now that most manufacturers have removed this compound from these products but denture users are still advised to check before they buy.
It is unusual for people to experience problems with their top denture falling down. I have only seen this in people who have no saliva at all, whether that is from radiation therapy or some damage to their saliva glands.
So the range of glue or denture adhesives are not effective in a dry mouth and people who suffer from this will most likely have to go down the path of implants.