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Bad Teeth: Partials and Denture Failures


Multiple Failure Causes

Dentures and partials can fail for any one of several reasons. Failures in impressions and fabrication processes are not uncommon.

Product failures involving the acrylic properties and sizing of the denture prosthesis can occur from time to time. Different types of fabrication processes tend to yield different degrees of fabrication accuracy due to certain shrinkage factors in the molding process. Inexpensive dentures tend to be created with less expensive fabrication methods.

Improper monitoring of the intial try-in of a new denture for full arch extractions can cause discomfort, unusual shrinkage or damage to gum tissues. Uncontrolled swelling can sometimes render a new denture unusable for some patients.

Errors in correcting and/or matching occlusal surfaces of the upper and lower jaw can cause discomfort, severe pain, tmj-tmd issues, accelerated wear of gum tissues and possible bone loss.

Delaying of certain corrective denture adjustments can lead additional soft tissue lesions and potentially cause the development of compensatory shifts and positioning of the lower jaw structure, resulting in overbite or underbite conditions, similar to the maladaptive adjustments tmj joints undergo with other types of bite and malocclusion problems associated with natural teeth.

Lastly, dentures wear out just like normal teeth. Failure to replace dentures at recommended intervals can cause accelerated loss of bone and gum tissues, loss of vertical dimension and new, acquired, conditions of collapsed bite.

This gallery contains examples of denture failures caused by one or more of the causal factors mentioned above.





Unusual tissue events and anomolies can occur with denture use. Left untreated for too long, unwanted tissue growth occurs and can create pain symptoms that are quite severe. An Epulis has developed at the anterior upper edge of this upper denture that now requires treatment.

While traditional methods for removing this bothersome tissue can require the patient to avoid using dentures while the modified tissue heals, laser technologies can be used to immediately remove the tissue without the inconvenience of suturing and extra healing time.

Denture Epulis Tissue Pain
Traumatized Tissue causes Epulis Growth
Christopher McFarland, DMD


Procrastination and finance issues cause many denture wearers to delay treatment for what starts out as normal denture - partial wear and tear. Here it can be seen that acrylic prosthetics have literally broken and now need total replacement.

Prolonging what should be considered as routine replacement of denture products can cause a shift in occlusion and possibly cause tooth shift and bone loss for adjacent teeth (where partials are used).

In this case, the failure to treat the first need for repair or replacement caused failure in an opposing prosthetic... which could have been avoided.

Acrylic Denture Breakage
Bruxing Damage
Corinne Scalzitti, DMD MAGD


Bruxing and teeth clenching for dentures? Nearly everyone is aware that teeth grinding and bruxing can be bad for natural teeth. Night guards and custom appliances are the usual treatment for bruxers.

What most people DON'T KNOW is that "clenchers" can also destroy tooth replacements.... in this case, a denture wearer. The teeth grinding is so severe (during sleep) that the patient must wear the denture prosthetics to prevent damage to the anchoring devices and jawbone.

The difference in height of the teeth readily shows how much of the acrylic teeth have been worn down. These dentures are replaced every few years to protect TMJ/TMD integrity and function

Denture Bruxing
Bruxing Damage
Christopher McFarland, DMD


Broken denture teeth can occur for a variety of reasons. Worn out, poor eating habits, malocclusion due to bone loss issues. All acrylic dentures that have broken teeth are usually replaced with an entirely new denture. Some denture prosthetics however are made with porcelain teeth, which oftentimes can be repaired on a tooth by tooth basis.

Most common treatment choices include denture replacement, implant supported dentures, fixed bridge, possible bone grafting. Occlusal treatment may also be required.


Broken Acrylic Teeth in Denture
Broken Denture Teeth
Richard Winter, DDS MAGD


Poor oral health habits can cause structural changes in remaining teeth in a partially edentulated lower jaw. Bacteria seepage eventually caused remaining anchor tooth structures and bridgework to fail. Note how lateral forces caused all lower jaw teeth to tilt, further accelerating damage, especially to whatever amount of healthy bone is left.

Treatment recommendations would involve removal of remaining teeth and could include possible bone grafting, dental implants, mini implants, denture prosthetics or fixed bridge.


Old Worn Out Partials Disease
Partial and Crown Failures
Ara Nazarian, DDS


Denture teeth must be brushed and maintained just like normal teeth. Some patients prefer manual brushing while others choose to use "bath type" cleaning products. Since most denture products are made of acrylic materials and are highly porous compared to porcelain, stains can become permanent.

This denture, which is still structurally sound, requires replacement due to the severe staining and accumulation foreign matter on all surfaces of the denture which have impacted the patient's oral tissue health.


Denture Stain Damage
Poor Denture Hygiene
Christopher McFarland, DMD






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