Dentures that no longer fit properly might seem like a minor problem, but you may be damaging both your gums and your dentures. But how can such a seemingly small issue cause such major problems?

Oral Mucosa

Full dentures that encompass an entire upper or lower set of teeth depend on the underlying oral mucosa (the soft tissues that line your mouth) for stability. The closer that the pink denture base mimics the outline of the mucosa upon which it rests, the more stable your dentures will be. The trouble is that this isn't a permanent arrangement.

Active Living Tissues

Your mucosa and jawbone are active living tissues. They change their shape over the years, and this is particularly true of the jaw. It no longer supports the pressure experienced by teeth, and some bone loss is standard. The mucosa that covers the bone undergoes corresponding changes. The denture plate that mimics the contours of the mucosa no longer fits as well because the mucosa itself has changed.

Minor Mobility 

This gradual development leads to dentures that are slightly mobile. Instead of sitting on the mucosa using a small amount of saliva to create suction, the denture base slides, ever so slightly. Any mobility is minor but can have significant effects.

Inflammation And Soreness

The first effect is irritation of your mucosa. The lining of your mouth that's in direct contact with your denture plate can become inflamed and sore, and this issue will only worsen. This friction can even lead to the development of epulis fissuratum, which is a benign enlargement of connective tissues in your mouth. The lesion is not cancerous, but it can be uncomfortable, and it generally requires surgical removal.

Uneven Pressure

In addition to the issues experienced by your mucosa, your dentures themselves may become damaged. Their poor fit can result in uneven distribution of pressure when biting. This imbalance can create sites of irregular pressure on your full dentures—both in the denture base and in its false teeth. This can lead to the development of small cracks and fractures in the dentures.


While the problems caused by ill-fitting dentures have the potential to be serious, the solution is simple enough. Dentures must be regularly relined, with the application of a thin coat of acrylic resin to the denture base allowing it to adhere to the outline of the mucosa. This must happen regularly to make sure that your dentures stay in place. 

If it has been some years since you received any type of denture adjustment, ask your dentist if relining is due.