A dental emergency can come suddenly and without warning. It throws a wrench in your schedule and you are left panicking, grabbing the phone and dialing the closest emergency dentist, hoping for the best. Patients can be forced to deal with many kinds of dental emergencies: a lost filling, a loose crown — or even broken dentures.
Are broken dentures really a dental emergency?
While some people may use partial dentures due to an irreparable tooth or a dental implant has gone wrong, others require full sets of dentures that assist in necessary daily tasks such as chewing, smiling or speaking clearly. In cases like these, it is important to get the dentures fixed as soon as possible, so as to allow the patient to be able to use their ‘teeth’ again with minimal disruption to daily life.
Some patients have backup dentures in case of a situation like this, which can ease the pressure to get them fixed. However, backups may not fit as well, so for comfort and better health it is typically better to get a replacement.
What causes dentures to break?
Dentures are built to be very sturdy, but there are a surprising number of ways that they can break. Heavy impact is one cause. Dropping a pair from a great enough height or putting a set under heavy pressure can cause them to crack or break.
Regular wear and tear is another issue. Things simply wear down over time, and as dentures are used over longer periods, a set may start to wear down and become more susceptible to breakage.
Eating the wrong kind of foods can also lead to permanent damage to dentures. Much like with natural teeth, eating sugary or overly acidic foods over a long period of time can break dentures down, leading to long-term damage and eventual breakages. Eating hard nuts and seeds can have a similar effect.
What can be done if dentures break?
If dentures break, a patient should see a dentist at the earliest convenience. Those who have a spare set of dentures should use those until the primary set gets fixed.
A dentist may do one of several things with broken dentures. One solution is relining, in which the dentures are adjusted for a better fit. This is typically considered a minor fix and can usually be done within the same day.
Other more serious breaks and damages may require the dentist to send the pair off to a dental laboratory, or the patient may need to get a new set of dentures entirely. Regardless of the solution, a dentist can make sure to choose the right one depending on the type and severity of the break.
When dentures are damaged or broken, it can constitute a dental emergency that should be seen to as soon as possible. Whatever else is done, patients should be sure to make an appointment to speak to a professional regarding the best steps to take concerning the dentures and overall dental health.
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