As a denture gets older and older, it becomes more prone to breakage. The major reason for this is that as it ages, the fit becomes looser and looser. This often causes rocking of the denture while it is being worn. Repetitive flexing like this weakens the plastic causing it to break. Alternatively, this flexing can cause the teeth embedded in the denture base to loosen and break out. You can prevent this from happening by having the denture relined when it gets loose.
If your denture should break, there are a number of things you should know.
- Labs do NOT glue the broken pieces together. If there is a nice sharp fracture line along which the pieces can be tightly reapplied, the lab tech uses super glue to temporarily reattach the broken pieces. Then he pours a plaster or silicone matrix inside the denture to capture the original internal anatomy. Finally he entirely removes all the plastic for about 1/8 inch on either side of the fracture line and replaces it with NEW acrylic. This makes the denture stronger than it was before. The same process applies when replacing one or more teeth on the denture. All the old pink plastic is removed and replaced with new pink plastic.
- Do not attempt to repair the denture with glue! Glues that contain volatile solvents (airplane glue) will melt the plastic around the edges and cause the repair to distort. A distorted denture is impossible for a dental lab to repair. Once the edges are melted, there is no way to put the denture together the way it was before it was broken. It will always rock and cause miserable sore spots until you either get a new denture, or have it rebased. Theoretically, you could use Super Glue, which won’t melt the edges of the plastic, but Super Glue has two major drawbacks. Super Glue is water soluble, and the repair is always temporary. Secondly, it is difficult to replace even sharp edges together the first time without some sort of dislocation. This means that your denture will suffer the same problems it would have if you used airplane glue.
- If the denture broke due to an ill fit, It will eventually break again for the same reason unless you have it relined or rebased at the same time as the repair.
- The best thing to do with a broken denture is to go to a dentist with the separate pieces and let him or her look at it to see if it can be sent to the lab without an impression. Even better, the dentist can super glue the pieces together before sending it to the lab and then take an impression inside the temporarily repaired denture so the lab can reline or rebase it. Most labs provide for one-day service on repairs, or repair/reline procedures, so you can make arrangements to come come to the dentist in the morning, and get the denture back by late afternoon.