What Happens If Your Dentures Dry Out?

When you got your new dentures, your dentist is likely to have told you to make sure to keep your teeth moist when you aren't wearing them. While you may have got in the habit of doing this, say by soaking your teeth in water when you aren't wearing them at night, you may occasionally forget to put your dentures in water. Why is this a problem and how can you fix dry dentures?

What Happens to Dentures When They Dry Out?

Although the acrylic that is typically used to make dentures seems like a rigid material, it actually needs water to help it keep its shape. When you wear your dentures, your mouth keeps your teeth moist; however, they can dry out if you aren't wearing them and don't store them in some kind of liquid like water.

If your dentures dry out completely, the acrylic may become over-dry and brittle. This may cause a couple of problems. Dentures that have become completely dry may lose their shape. Even a slight warping may make your teeth fit less comfortably; more extreme changes may make your dentures unwearable. Plus, your dentures may be at a higher risk of fracturing if they become too brittle. If you accidentally drop them, they may be more likely to break.

How to Fix Dry Dentures

If you've only had your dentures out of water for a few hours, simply putting them back in your mouth may be enough to rehydrate them. If you've forgotten to store them in water overnight, your best bet may be to soak the dentures in water for an hour or so to allow them to moisten up again.

If, for some reason, you've not worn your dentures for a long time and they've been stored out of water, it's probably best to try to soak them in water for at least 24 hours to give them a chance to moisten up and restore their pliability.

If your dentures have dried out so much that they warp out of shape, you may need to see your dentist to check if they can be restored. Don't be tempted to try to do this yourself by using hot water or heat to remould the plate or teeth. The chances are you'll make the warping worse or cause further damage. If your dentures are really badly warped, you may need to have them replaced.