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Q: I read your column last week and thought I would see what you thought about my current situation. Needless to say, I am very disappointed with my denture and would like any ideas you can help me with.
About five years ago I had a new denture made for my upper teeth. I have my own lower teeth. After about two years, I saw a hole on the right side behind the last tooth. This eventually lead to a crack, for which I returned to the doctor who made it and asked him why it happened and can it be fixed.
He did not offer me a reason, but he did have the hole and crack repaired. The repair did not look like the original, but I did not complain since he did not charge me. About another year later, the same thing happened, only this time it just cracked along the same line it cracked the first time.
I brought it back and they fixed it. They did not charge me, but they were not as nice. I felt uncomfortable with the way they treated me, but kept quiet since they did not charge me.
Just recently, it happened again.
I went back and they said they could fix it again, but there would be a fee this time. I tried to find out why it broke again, but no answers were offered. I paid the bill, but did not feel it was fair because I never thought I did anything to make this keep happening.
It is now breaking again and I just don’t want to go back to the same place. I feel like there is some reason this keeps happening and it is not being addressed. If it were being addressed, it wouldn’t keep breaking.
My question for you is this. Am I being ridiculous to think this way? Could I be doing something I shouldn’t be? Can you give me any idea to what is going on?
I don’t mind paying for another repair; I just don’t want to keep doing it over and over if something can be done differently.
Thanks for any help you can offer and thanks for your column. I really enjoy it each week.
A: Believe it or not I think I know exactly what is going on. I have seen this may times and there is a solution.
I bet you have lost one of your lower back teeth on that side. Since that tooth was lost, the teeth behind it have drifted forward, causing the back of the last tooth to rise above the level of the other teeth. This causes less space between the upper denture and the lower teeth.
That back tooth on the bottom is causing the hole and eventual crack in the denture. The denture is probably thinner in that area than anywhere else. This causes the material to be weak and prone to continual fracture.
Unfortunately, the fix for something like this is to make a new denture on top that has a metal palate and reinforcement metal in the area of the teeth.
Depending on the exact situation, you may need to have metal in the area of the hole.
There are times the lower tooth can be smoothed out; however, doing this can increase the need for a root canal in that tooth or
increases the possibility of decay in it if the enamel is smoothed away to the point the dentin is showing.
Dentin is much less resistant to decay than enamel is.
It really sounds like you are on the right track. Something needs to be done differently in order to get a different result.
I am willing to bet I am pretty close to the bull’s-eye on this. You might want to mention this to your dentist as a possibility. If he agrees, he may come up with a plan that can help things.
If you are not comfortable bringing this to his attention, I suggest a second opinion. I hope I have helped clear things up a bit for you.
Dr. Frank Vascimini is a dentist practicing in Homosassa. Send your questions to 4805 S. Suncoast Blvd., Homosassa, FL 34446 or email them to him at info@MasterpieceDentalStudio.com.