The Effects Of Bone Loss And Denture Fit

Posted on: 5 June 2015

You may think of loose dentures as being just an annoyance. But if your dentures don't fit correctly, it can lead to some serious problems. If the potential embarrassment and difficulty speaking that come with slipping dentures isn't enough, consider some of the more severe possibilities:

  • Sores and lesions in the mouth like papillary hyperplasia and epulis fissuratum, which require surgery to fix
  • Difficulty eating, which can lead to a restricted diet and even malnutrition
  • Accelerated bone loss, which is caused when dentures don't properly support the structure of the face

Given all that, it's very important to have properly-fitting dentures. However, there's a big intersection between the people who need dentures (often older) and the people most likely to suffer from osteoporosis (usually older women, but also some men). So what can you do if you suffer from bone loss and wear dentures?

Keep Your Bones Strong

It may sound obvious, but the things your doctor tells you to do to help with your osteoporosis—like exercising and eating foods rich in vitamin D—will also help with your dental health. Lifestyle changes that slow down your bone loss will also slow down the rate at which your jaw changes, meaning fewer re-fittings will be needed for your dentures.

Have Fit Checked Regularly

Having annual checkups with your dentist to look at the fit of your dentures can help catch fitting problems earlier. There are three main options for refitting dentures if your dentist discovers that there's a problem with how they fit in your mouth:

  • Temporary relining means having your dentist add a little bit of material to the dentures to help them seat properly in your mouth. As the name implies, it's a temporary solution, but it can be done right in a dental office.
  • Permanent relining is also adding material to your dentures, but the material is added in a laboratory. More durable materials like dental plastic are used.
  • Remaking your dentures means having a whole new set of dentures made to fit the new shape of your mouth. It's the most drastic and expensive option, but it will give you properly fitting dentures no matter how much your facial structure has changed.

Combine Dentures With Implants

When people think of dental implants, they often think of individual teeth, each one with a post implanted into the jaw. But implant posts can be used to support dentures as well, and one of the big advantages is that you need far fewer posts—sometimes as few as two. Getting your dentures attached to an implant post can keep them very secure in your mouth.

Get A Bone Graft

Whether you wear regular dentures or dentures attached to implant posts, it's important to have enough bone in the jaw to properly support them. If your bone loss has progressed to the point where you can't support your dentures, your dentist may suggest you get a bone graft. This is especially likely if you're considering implant posts as they do require more bone material for support.

While it may sound intimidating, this is a minimally invasive procedure used to attach new bone material to your existing jawbone. This material may be harvested from you or, more likely, donor material, but it's nothing like transplants with their risk of rejection. Your body will absorb the graft and treat it no differently than your own bone material.