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Can Dentures Be Fitted to Receding Gums?

Dental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being, especially as one ages. Receding gums, a common condition often resulting from periodontal disease, aggressive brushing, or simply the natural ageing process, can significantly impact one’s oral health and comfort. For those experiencing this issue, the suitability of dentures becomes a convenient consideration, particularly when exploring options to restore functionality and aesthetics to their smile. It raises an important question for individuals and dental professionals alike: Can dentures be fitted to receding gums?

Yes, dentures can be tailored to fit receding gums. This involves careful assessment and customisation by a dental professional to ensure the dentures do not cause additional harm or discomfort to the already sensitive gum area.

Understanding Gum Recession

Gum recession is a common dental condition where the margin of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth wears away, or pulls back, exposing more of the tooth or the tooth’s root. This can lead to significant oral health issues, including increased sensitivity, risk of decay, and even tooth loss, affecting one’s quality of life and confidence. Dentures are a practical option amidst the range of solutions available to individuals experiencing gum recession, especially for who have lost teeth due to this condition. However, the success of dentures in such cases depends on addressing the underlying issue of receding gums.

Causes of Gum Recession

The cause of gum recession is multifaceted, having both preventable and uncontrollable factors. Poor oral hygiene leading to periodontal diseases is a primary cause, as the accumulation of plaque and tartar can incite gum inflammation and recession. Conversely, overly aggressive brushing or the use of hard-bristled toothbrushes can also contribute to gum wear. Other contributing factors include genetic predisposition, hormonal changes, tobacco use, and traumatic injuries to the gums. Additionally, conditions such as bruxism (teeth grinding) and misaligned teeth can increase gum recession by placing undue stress on the gums and bone structure.

The Impact of Gum Recession on Dentures

Gum recession presents a significant challenge in the fitting and wearing of dentures. Exposed tooth roots are more susceptible to decay and sensitivity, given their lack of protective enamel. This can complicate the denture fitting process, as the presence of dental caries or sensitivity needs to be addressed beforehand. Furthermore, receding gums can change the shape of the mouth, impacting the stability and retention of dentures. Since dentures rely on the gum and bone structure for support, significant recession can lead to a poor fit, reducing the effectiveness and comfort of the prosthetic.

Challenges of Fitting Dentures on Receded Gums

The primary challenge in fitting dentures on receded gums lies in the altered shape of the mouth. Recession leads to a reduction in the gum tissue’s volume and changes in the jawbone’s contour, complicating the creation of dentures that fit snugly and comfortably. These anatomical changes can result in dentures that are less stable and more prone to slipping or causing irritation. Additionally, the exposed roots due to gum recession can increase sensitivity, making the adaptation to new dentures more uncomfortable for the wearer.

Importance of a Precise Fit

Achieving a precise fit is important for denture wearers, especially for those with receding gums. A well-fitted denture not only enhances comfort but also improves function, allowing for better chewing efficiency and speech clarity. Moreover, a precise fit helps to distribute the forces exerted during chewing more evenly across the gums and remaining teeth, reducing the risk of further oral health issues. Ill-fitting dentures can exacerbate gum recession by placing inappropriate pressure on the gums, leading to increased irritation, inflammation, and even further bone loss.

Solutions for Denture Wearers with Gum Recession

Gum recession can complicate the use of dentures, but several solutions can help mitigate these challenges, ensuring a comfortable fit and maintaining oral health.

Soft Liners for Improved Comfort

Soft liners are a beneficial solution for individuals with receding gums. These are made from a pliable material that is affixed to the base of dentures, creating a cushioning layer between the denture and the gum tissue. Soft liners can absorb some of the forces exerted during chewing, reducing the pressure on the gums and the discomfort associated with it. They are particularly useful for those with significantly receded gums, where traditional hard denture bases may cause irritation or sores due to the lack of cushioning gum tissue.

Overdentures and Implant-Supported Dentures

For cases of severe gum recession, where conventional dentures may not provide sufficient stability or comfort, overdentures and implant-supported dentures offer a viable alternative. Overdentures are removable dentures that are supported by a few remaining teeth or, more commonly, dental implants. Implant-supported dentures, on the other hand, are anchored directly to the jawbone through implants, providing a firm and stable foundation. These options not only enhance the retention and stability of dentures but also help preserve the jawbone and reduce further gum recession by distributing chewing forces more evenly.

Adjustments and Relining

Dentures require regular maintenance to ensure they continue to fit well, especially in the context of ongoing gum recession. Adjustments and relining are critical components of denture care. Adjustments may be necessary to address minor issues with fit or comfort, while relining involves adding new material to the denture base to conform to the current shape of the gums and oral cavity. Relining is particularly important for individuals experiencing gum recession, as it helps to maintain a snug fit, reducing irritation and the risk of further oral health issues.

Fitting Dentures on Receded Gums: A Step-by-Step Guide

Fitting dentures on receded gums requires a precise approach to ensure comfort, functionality, and the long-term health of the oral cavity.

Initial Consultation and Dental Examination

Fitting dentures on receded gums begins with an in-depth consultation and a comprehensive dental examination. During this initial phase, the dental professional assesses the extent of gum recession, the health of the remaining teeth (if any), and the overall condition of the oral cavity. This evaluation often involves taking X-rays or 3D images to understand the jawbone’s condition and to identify any underlying issues that need to be addressed before fitting dentures.

Designing Dentures for Receded Gums

Once the initial assessment is complete, the dental professional moves on to the design phase. This involves taking precise measurements and impressions of the mouth, which will serve as the blueprint for the dentures. Special attention is given to the areas affected by gum recession to ensure that the final dentures will provide a comfortable fit. Modern technologies, such as digital scanning and CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing), may be employed to create highly accurate and customised dentures.

The Process of Fitting

After the dentures are designed and manufactured, the next step is the fitting process. This is a critical phase where the wearer has the opportunity to try on the dentures, and adjustments are made as necessary. The focus is on ensuring that the dentures fit snugly over the receded gums without causing discomfort or irritation. It’s not uncommon for this stage to require several appointments, as minor adjustments can make a significant difference in comfort and functionality.

Dental Care for Receding Gums

Managing receding gums is crucial not only for the overall health of one’s oral cavity but also for the longevity and comfort of dentures. Proper dental care can slow the progression of gum recession, relieve symptoms, and improve the quality of life for those affected.

Preventative Measures to Slow or Stop Gum Recession

Preventing further gum recession is important for individuals with this condition. Key preventative measures include adopting a gentle brushing technique with a soft-bristled toothbrush, ensuring proper flossing to remove plaque without damaging the gums, and avoiding tobacco products, which can increase gum recession. Additionally, addressing issues such as teeth grinding (bruxism) with protective night guards can prevent undue stress on the gums and teeth.

Daily Dental Care Tips for Those with Receding Gums

Daily dental hygiene practices play a pivotal role in managing receding gums. Individuals are advised to use fluoride toothpaste to protect against decay and a mouthwash designed for sensitive teeth to help strengthen enamel and reduce sensitivity. It’s also beneficial to maintain a balanced diet, limiting sugary and acidic foods that can erode tooth enamel and irritate receding gums. Staying hydrated promotes saliva production, which naturally cleanses the mouth and reduces the risk of decay.

Professional Treatments Available for Gum Health

For those experiencing gum recession, several professional treatments can help restore gum health or manage symptoms. Deep cleaning treatments, such as scaling and root planing, remove plaque and tartar buildup from below the gumline, addressing the root cause of gum disease and recession. In more severe cases, surgical options such as gum grafting may be recommended to restore gum tissue and protect exposed roots. Regular dental check-ups allow for early detection and management of issues related to gum recession, ensuring timely and effective treatment.

Final Thoughts

Fitting dentures with receding gums demands a proactive and informed approach. Understanding the connection between gum health and denture functionality is vital for achieving optimal comfort and oral health. Embracing solutions like soft liners, implant-supported dentures, and regular dental maintenance can significantly improve the denture-wearing experience. Regular consultations with dental professionals ensure that dentures remain well-fitted and comfortable over time, despite the challenges posed by gum recession. Ultimately, with the right care and attention, individuals can enjoy the benefits of dentures and maintain a healthy, confident smile.

FAQs

How does gum recession impact the longevity of dentures? 

Gum recession can affect the fit and stability of dentures over time, potentially requiring more frequent adjustments or replacements.

Are there special types of dentures for those with gum recession?  

Yes, there are dentures designed with soft liners and other adaptations to accommodate those with receding gums, enhancing comfort and fit.

What can be done to ensure dentures fit well despite gum recession?  

Regular dental check-ups, adjustments, and relining of dentures are key to maintaining a good fit despite ongoing gum recession.

How often should someone with receding gums see their dentist?  

Individuals with receding gums should see their dentist at least every 6 months for check-ups, or more frequently if advised by their dental professional.

Medically Reviewed by:

Dip CDT RCS (Eng) Clinical Dental Technician
Determined to remain at the cutting edge of modern Dental Technology, David recently completed an intense training course in producing dentures that genuinely recreate the natural facial structures which are lost during the ageing process through tooth loss and gum regression. He, and his many patients, are overjoyed with the natural appearance and facial proportions which this new methodology offers.