I have been wearing dentures for a few years but of late I noticed they are a little loose and hurt occasionally. I thought dentures usually last a long time and wouldn’t need to be replaced.

The first set of dentures that you get will usually be the best ones because the height of the jawbone is still relatively good when the teeth are initially removed. With time, however, the jaw bones reduce in height and usable "real estate" for the dentures to sit on gradually depletes. With less bone and jaw to hold on to the dentures become more and more unstable and possibly even unusable. At this point new dentures need to be made to fit around the new shape of the jaws. If they are just loose and do not hurt much then possibly a quick visit to the dentist can sort things out. The dentist will make some minor adjustments to the denture, and you can use denture adhesives – a sticky paste to improve grip. This is the easiest solution. If you have already tried that, dentures can be relined – a process where the denture teeth are retained, but the base is changed – a bit like adding insoles to your shoes! These relines can also be of a soft variety for added comfort. A longer lasting alternative will be to get some mini-implants done. The final option would be to replace your denture entirely with fixed teeth.

I have noticed that gaps have started appearing in my teeth of late. I am 30 three years old and my dentist has said that my hygiene is decent so I am a bit concerned about this and how to prevent it.

A lot of people assume that the teeth you have in your 20s are the same ones you will have in your 50s – and nothing could be further from the truth. Teeth are constantly undergoing changes due to various reasons such as reduced facial muscle tone, wear and tear, shifts in position because of other teeth missing and so on. But your problem can be corrected with orthodontics using invisible aligners or braces once the main cause has been addressed. Missing gum in between teeth that appear as black triangles might be a bit more difficult to correct but can be done through other means such as veneers or crowns. Remember that most of these scenarios are much easier to prevent in the initial stages and hence the need for regular checkups and early intervention.