One of the most serious complication with full dentures is prosthesis fracture. It is more common with top denturea but does occur with the bottom dentures as well.
There are several reasons for denture fracture. One of the most common causes of denture fracture includes wear and tear over time. Following years of use, the denture is under numerous stress cycles from chewing. In addition moisture in the mouth, chemicals in the food and temperature differences from different types of foods and liquids further corrode and weaken the denture.
Additional cause of denture fracture is poor denture fit as a result of supporting jaw bone shrinkage. As the jaw bone shrinks under the denture addition torquing stresses act on the denture. Eventually cracks develop in the prosthesis and finally the denture fractures.
Another cause for denture fracture includes prosthesis damage from accidental drops. If impact stress is strong enough denture will fracture.
In our practice we deal with a lot of requests for denture repair. Most common questions we hear are: “Can my denture be repaired?” and “Can repair a be done expediently at the same appointment?” The answer to these questions is: yes in majority of cases denture can be repaired expediently and on the same appointment. However there are some situations where denture repair can be very challenging or will not produce accurate repair.
Another common question we hear is: “How long the repair will last?” It is not always easy to answer this question. I try to understand the underlying causes of the fracture and give the patient some idea on repair longevity. It is also important to mention that in a number of situations in addition to denture repair the prosthesis may require a reline and bite adjustment.
If new denture is recommended, I still like to repair the fractured denture. This way patient can have teeth while new denture is fabricated. And even if not perfect patient’s current denture help us during fabrication of a new denture.
Over the years I have perfected my denture repair process. Below is a technique I use for denture repair.
Case Example of Denture Repair
Our patient experienced emergency fracture of his top denture. He contacted our office and requested a denture repair.
As you can see in these photos the top denture fractured at the center line between top front teeth. The fracture line was off center in the palate area of the denture and resultd in two separate segments.
Evaluation of the Broken Denture
The most important test in assessing feasibility and accuracy of denture repair is the evaluation of how well the fractured segments fit with each other. Fractured segments almost always fit well with each other unless attempts were made by the patient to glue them several times or modify the edges of the denture. Usually a problem occurs when patient attempts to attach broken segments with household ahesives. These type of glues are not strong enough and the denture typically fractures shortly after repair. After several attempts, the edges of the denture at the fracure line become distorted and it is not possible to accurately attach the fractured segments as in the original relationship. In such situations repair of the denture cannot be performed accurately and typically produces denture poor fit and uneven bite. In our patient’s the case fractured segments were perfectly fitting with each other.
Attachment of Broken Denture Segments
In the first step cyanoacrylate glue is applied to the fractured edges and broken segments are attached to each other.
Fabrication of Silicone Mold
Next step is the fabrication of the hard silicone mold which fits inside the denture. The silicone comes in 2 portions as an unset base and catalyst putties. Base and and catalyst putties are mixed together and the denture is seated into the silicone putty while it is setting. Once set, the silicone mold provides a rigid and stable support for the denture. It is very critical to make a rigid base because in the next step the fracture line of the denture will be open for the denture repair material. Without the hard base it will be impossible to position broken segments in accurate manner.
Opening of the Fracture Line in the Denture, Placement of Carbon Fiber and Denture Repair Material
During the next step the fracture line is opened by several millimeters with a dental drill. In addition several channels are cut out perpendicular to the fracture line and a special carbon fiber material is placed into the channels. The purpose of the carbon fiber is to reinforce the denture in the fractured area and to resist future cracks from spreading. The denture repair area is filled with a special repair material. This material is similar in composition to the material the denture is made of.
Polymerization of the Denture Repair Material and Finishing and Polishing
Shortly after placement of the repair material, the denture is placed in a water filled chamber of the pressure devise. The denture repair material is cured under controlled temperature and pressure environment. After curing, repaired denture surface is finished and polished.
Evaluation of Repaired Denture and Denture Delivery
In the next step the denture fit and bite is evaluated in the mouth. Necessary bite adjustment and denture relining are performed per requirements of each individual case.
As you can see from the above steps denture repair is an advanced procedure which requires skill, knowledge of dental materials and processing technologies. In the hands of an experienced professional it can be done expediently on the same appointment.
At Shor Dental we specialize in all denture services. Please contact us with questions or schedule an appointment for your denture needs!
Thank you for reading!
Dr. Alex Shor