How to File Down Dentures

Two Methods:Filing and Other At-Home Solutions for PainHaving Your Dentist Fix Your Teeth

Dentures will address the problem of missing teeth, but they may be uncomfortable or require periodic adjustments. When you first get them, you may notice a few sharp places that need adjustment. In addition, after a few years of wearing them, normal wear and tear will accumulate, and you’ll need to repair or replace them. It's not a good idea to try to fix them yourself, as you can damage your dentures.[1]

Method 1
Filing and Other At-Home Solutions for Pain

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    Know the risks. If you try to file your dentures yourself, you risk damaging them beyond repair. As dentures are expensive, you risk losing a large amount of money if you try filing them yourself. It's always best to ask your prosthodontist or dentist to adjust them.[2]
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    Try a nail file. Some people do not like the length of certain teeth on their dentures, and they use a nail file for this purpose. Lightly rub it against the teeth you want to shorten, filing on the point or edge of the tooth. However, be sure to make small adjustments. You don't want to go too far when filing your teeth because it's difficult and expensive to repair them after you've filed too far.[3]
    • As you file them down, keep stopping to check how far you've filed. Try not to go to far.
    • Clean the dentures before putting them back in your mouth and checking your adjustments.
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    File off tags with a rotary tool. Sometimes, your dentures will dig into your gums because they don't fit properly. They may also have small tags leftover from manufacturing. Some people use rotary tools to make adjustments. Make sure to keep it on a very low rotation. The heat of a high rotation may damage your dentures, although any kind of repair can damage your dentures.[4]
    • Identify where the problem is. When you have the dentures in, pinpoint exactly where they dig into your gums. Try to be very precise and gentle.
    • Take them out of your mouth. Use the rotary tool to gently rub against that area, filing it down. Make sure to only take away a little at a time. Be sure to clean the dentures before putting them back in your mouth and testing the adjustment.
    • You can use a fingernail drill, for instance, or a crafting rotary tool. Use a bit that will let you sand off edges, such as a round- or oval-shaped bit.
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    Try dental adhesives. When you first get dentures, your mouth needs time to adjust to the new teeth. To help your mouth out, you can use dental adhesives to hold them in place for the first few days. Eventually, though, the muscles in your mouth should adjust to keep your dentures in place, so you should only need to use them for a short while.[5]
    • You an also use adhesives as a temporary measure when they start to become loose after years of wearing. However, you need to have your dentist reline your dentures when they become loose, so you should only use the glue for a short while.[6]
    • Every adhesive is a bit different. However, in general, you take the dentures out of your mouth and clean them. Shake some of the powder onto the gum side of the dentures. Put your dentures back in.[7]
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    Put your dentures in the freezer. One option some people use for helping to relieve pain, especially with new dentures, is to place them in the freezer. When you take them out, the cold will help soothe the pain in your gums.[8]
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    Try a pain cream. Creams such as benzocaine topical can provide temporary relief from pain. Simply rub the cream on the painful area in your mouth, and it will numb the pain.[9]
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    Remove your dentures. If other options don't help, go ahead and take your dentures out for a bit. That will at least provide pain relief. See your dentist for help.

Method 2
Having Your Dentist Fix Your Teeth

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    Have your dentist examine your dentures. If you just got your dentures and they are not fitting properly, your prosthodontist should work with you to get them adjusted properly. You shouldn't be experience sharp pains, at the very least. Tell your dentist where it is hurting, and ask him or her to look for small surface tags or irregularities that may need to be filed down. You should also inform your dentist if you've had any bleeding or gum pain in the first few days of wearing the dentures.
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    Ask about trimming. After your dentist identifies any issues with your dentures, he or she may recommend trimming them down. He or she will likely use a trimmers or trimming bur to adjust your dentures.[10]
    • Low-speed hand-pieces generate less heat and, therefore, won’t harm your dentures. And your dentist will have a variety of acrylic trimmers available, with varying degrees of roughness, so he or she will be able to customize the repair.
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    Get your dentures polished. After trimming, your dentist can polish the dentures (except for the tissue surface, which would alter the fit). Polishing will make your dentures smoother and shinier.[11]
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    Reline dentures after years of wearing. After you wear dentures for a period of time, they wear down your jaw bone, which means they won't fit as well. Most of the time, your dentist can reline them to fit better again. Sometimes, you may need new dentures.[12]
    • Relining just means that your dentist adds material to the dentures to make them fit better.[13]
    • You can have soft lining or hard lining put in. The soft lining will only last a few months, but it can be good if you have trouble with harder dentures. It can be reapplied. Hard linings are made of resin and are meant to last longer.[14]
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    Try rebasing. Another, less common, procedure is rebasing. Basically, your dentist makes a new base for your dentures. The downside to this process is your dentist must keep your dentures for a few days. However, they should fit better when they come back to you.[15]
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    Check the fit. Once the dentures have been examined, trimmed, and polished, your dentist will evaluate the fit. First and foremost, let your dentist know if anything feels painful or uncomfortable. Then he or she will check for a variety of issues, including the extension of the flanges, the lip support, proper height, and your dentures affect your pronunciation.[16]


  • Don’t wait until you have extremely uncomfortable dentures to see your dentist. Get regular dental check-ups and make sure that your dentist checks your dentures often.

Article Info

Categories: Teeth and Mouth