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October 12, 2007

Can Dentures Be Sharpened?

Hair_2My mother has upper & lower dentures and they are a few years old but now she complains a lot about them not chewing her food well therfore she is not eating as well. Is there any such thing as sharpening dentures? or do I buy another set. These cost 1,000 dollars and I was hoping they would be her last set.

Wilma, VA

Dr. Hair: There can be several reasons that your mother is having difficulty chewing.
Denture teeth are made out of 2 materials: porcelain and plastic.  While it has been said that the plastic teeth are more kind to the ridges (gums) where the dentures sit, the plastic teeth can wear more rapidly.  Less expensive dentures are more likely to have less expensive teeth - the cheap, plastic teeth really seem to wear out faster. So it is possible that she has worn out the teeth.

The pink plastic does not change shape; however, the dentures can become loose and less stable.  The horse-shoe shaped bones that hold our teeth are meant to do just that - hold our teeth.  When the teeth are gone, the bone resorbs (dissolves away).  As the bone disappears, the teeth become loose and less stable.  Imagine trying to eat with big pieces of plastic in your mouth.  Then imagine trying to eat with big, loose, unstable pieces of plastic in your mouth.  It is amazing that these folks can eat at all.

It could be a combination of the above 2 situations: worn out teeth and loose, unstable dentures.  Most likely a new set of dentures would help her, but you need to take her to the dentist of your choice to see what your (her) options are.


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Bob Hannon

My 30 year old upper full denture and partial lower still fit like new, but I find it ever more difficult to chew various foods. Cand the teeth be sharpened, or must these expensive dentures be replaced?


I have upper & lower dentures. My dentist seems to think inplants. but he agrees my lower lower jaw bone probably won't hold them. do I go to a prostadontist or a oral surgern.

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