What Happens When Your Denture Clasp Breaks?

Posted on: 25 May 2021


Partial dentures work in conjunction with the remaining natural teeth in your mouth. It's for this reason that they're often made with clasps. This is a small metal band attached to the denture plate, which loops around a sufficiently strong tooth, allowing this tooth to function as an abutment for the denture, helping it to stay in place. What happens when this clasp breaks off?

Reasons for Breakage

A broken clasp can happen for many reasons. You may have been inserting and removing your partial dentures with too much force, or you might have dropped them. Fortunately, a damaged clasp isn't all that serious and is far preferable to damage to the denture plate or its prosthetic teeth. 

Remove the Clasp

If the clasp has broken off while still looped around the abutment tooth, you must carefully remove it. It should slide off, although it's a delicate procedure, and you must be careful not to use excessive force. Retain the broken clasp. If it has remained largely intact, it can be reused.

Schedule the Repair

Consult the dentist who provided you with your dentures. They may schedule an appointment for the repair, or they might refer you to a dedicated denture clinic. The repair itself won't be a lengthy process and can generally happen while you wait.

Preparing the Clasp

When the break was a clean one (with no sharp edges created on the clasp), it will be welded back together. When some sharp edges were exposed, these will be filed down before the technician proceeds.

Rejoining the Broken Components

Although the broken components of the denture clasp are welded together, this is not achieved with a blowtorch. It's generally performed with a laser welder in order to provide the necessary precision. A number of laser pulses will be directed at the break, turning the targeted area molten and allowing for the entirety of the break to be welded, as opposed to simply the surface area of the metal. 

Cleaning and Adjustments

Once the break has been bonded together with the welding laser, the denture clasp will be cleaned to remove any metal fragments, before manual adjustments are made. You will be asked to try the dentures in your mouth, allowing for any additional adjustments to be made before you leave. 

A broken clasp is one of the less serious forms of damage that a denture can experience. It's important to do everything within your power to prevent it from happening again, but the damage is only minor and can easily be repaired.