The Dilemma of Loose Dentures

They used to fit fine. So why are they loose now?

Over time, the compression of your dentures causes wear on the bone and gum underneath. The bone supporting your mouth wasn’t designed to withstand that kind of compression. It therefore just kind of melts away, little by little, until it doesn’t support your denture like it used to–and it results in loose dentures. In other words, they just don’t fit any more.

It’s a common problem for long-time denture wearers—at least those with full dentures.

Will it hurt anything for them to be loose for a while?

In a word—yes. You should, by all means, see your dentist as soon as you’re aware of looseness.

If you continue to wear those loose dentures, it could cause irritation to your gums and mouth and could lead to infection. And if you still continue to wear them, your mouth could actually change shape and that would affect your ability to eat the food you need.

So take it seriously, and go to your dentist — as soon as possible.

One option:

Your dentist may recommend a reline (refit) of your dentures. This can be done periodically, if necessary. The frequency of relining will depend on your individual rate of bone loss. Everybody’s different.

There are two ways to reline existing dentures.

  • The dentist will add a layer of material under the denture in your mouth while you are in the dentist’s chair. He/she will impress material under the denture with a moldable material. That will harden and fill the void caused by the shrinking of oral tissues. This is a temporary fix.
  • A more permanent fix involves adding material to the mouth as above, but the denture then goes to a laboratory where they replace the temporary material with something better—a more permanent plastic. This method will be much longer lasting, but you WILL have to do without your dentures for a couple of days.

Are new dentures needed?

That depends. It depends on the condition of your current dentures AND how much change has occurred in the supporting gum and bone.

You could face loose dentures again after getting new ones.


For this reason, dental implants are the best solution. They can stabilize the bone to prevent further loss of volume. And they actually stop the process of resorption and the melting away of bone.

You only get enough teeth implanted to support your dentures. It can sometimes only be two implants, or maybe mini-implants. And because you don’t have every tooth implanted, the cost isn’t as bad as you think.

If your dentures are extremely loose, this is the only real solution.

Implants will help you with a long-term resolution of your denture problems.

Ask you dentist about implants, and how you can work out a financial plan, if necessary.