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Updated on June 17, 2022

Denture Pain Causes & Treatment

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The Different Types of Dentures

Dentures are artificial replacements for missing teeth. There are multiple kinds of dentures available, made to address a variety of dental needs. 

dentist showing woman mouth mold

Partial Dentures

A partial denture is a plate with one or more false teeth on it, designed to replace one or more teeth. A partial denture may have a metal framework and clasps that connect to your teeth, or they can have other connectors that are more natural-looking. 

In some cases, a removable partial denture adheres to the natural teeth with dental implants. 

removable partial denture NewMouth

Complete Dentures

A complete denture is a removable appliance used to replace all teeth within a jaw. A complete denture is constructed when no more teeth are left in an arch; hence, it is an exclusively tissue-supported prosthesis.

removable denture NewMouth

 

Full dentures can be fitted for the top or bottom gum line and are held in place by suction and denture adhesives.

Immediate Dentures

Immediate dentures are used as temporary solutions before complete dentures are placed.

Usually, immediate dentures are recommended when there are still some teeth left in the mouth. The immediate dentures are made, then the teeth are removed, and the dentures are placed during the surgery appointment. This allows for some function and cosmetics while waiting for the extraction sites to heal.

Immediate dentures may not fit very well for 4 to 6 months after surgery and may need to be adjusted, modified, or remade completely.

Dentures Cutting Into Gums: What to Do

Wearing dentures can be uncomfortable, especially when they’re new. When wearing dentures for the first time, you may go through a painful adjustment period and experience cutting into your gums. This is similar to getting used to a new pair of shoes or eyeglasses.

To make wearing dentures more comfortable, try the following:

  • Eat more soft foods like applesauce, pudding, and mashed vegetables 
  • Practice good oral hygiene to avoid tartar and plaque
  • Do warm salt water rinses for gum inflammation and/or pain
  • Remove your dentures before bed to allow saliva to cleanse your mouth naturally and help prevent fungal infections
  • Instead of biting into foods with the front teeth, cut up harder foods into small pieces and chew with the back teeth

If your gums swell, you should remove your dentures and let your gums fully heal before using your dentures again. You should always consult a dental professional if your gums overgrow on your dentures or if the nagging pain in your gums persists.

Many times when a denture is cutting into your gums, it means there is a denture spot that needs to be adjusted to eliminate sores. Your dentist will apply an indicator paste to determine where your denture needs adjustments. 

3 Causes of Denture Pain

Here are three potential causes of denture pain:

Fungus

When dentures are not maintained, a fungal infection can develop, resulting in painful sores. This yeast can cause painful sores to develop.

Fit

Over time, the gum and bone in the mouth can change, just like other parts of the body. This can cause dentures to fall out of alignment or struggle to fit.

Ill-fitting dentures can result in bone resorption, which might make dentures fit poorly and cause discomfort while chewing.

Adjustment Period

During your first time wearing dentures, you will likely go through an adjustment period and may experience some pain. While the pain usually subsides over time, you should bring your dentures in for adjustment if the pain persists. 

Signs Your Dentures Need Adjustments or Repairs

Some signs you need denture adjustments include:

Broken Teeth

You can accidentally break a tooth by dropping or putting too much pressure on your dentures. If you break a tooth, you should not attempt to reattach the tooth yourself but should take your dentures to the dentist for professional repair.

Chips or Cracks

You may notice chips, pitting, or cracks on your dentures. You should have your dentist fill in these defects, so they don’t become more significant over time.

Difficulty Chewing

Because your mouth changes over time, the alignment of your dentures can change, making it difficult to chew. 

Discomfort

If you experience jaw soreness, uneven pressure, or other discomforts, talk to your dentist as soon as possible, as this can indicate a more systemic issue.

Facial Shape Changes

Your dentures keep your cheeks looking full and even, just like natural teeth. If you observe any changes to your cheeks’ or jawline’s appearance, your dentures likely need adjustment.

Proper Fit

  • Top dentures should fit well due to suction to the roof of the mouth
  • Bottom dentures should float above the gums (practice may be needed to prevent your tongue or cheeks from dislodging the denture)
  • Partial dentures should stay in line with the natural teeth without significant movement

If your dentures don’t fit properly or if the fit changes suddenly, they likely need an adjustment to reduce the pain or discomfort.

Pressure Sores

Dentures that don’t fit properly can cause pressure sores. Pressure sores develop where the dentures put more pressure on specific areas of the gums. If a pressure sore develops, it is a good indicator that your dentures need to be adjusted.

Gum Irritation

Symptoms of gum irritation include raw spots, inflammation, and bleeding. You can combat gum irritation by maintaining a regular oral hygiene routine. Visit your dentist for evaluation and denture adjustments as needed.

Oral Sores

Dentures can exacerbate some oral conditions, including oral sores. If you don’t maintain adequate oral health, you may develop oral infections like candidiasis or thrush while using dentures. 

Stains or Odors

After extended use, dentures can develop stains or odors. To prevent stains or odors, you should practice adequate denture care.

If you notice any discoloration or smell, schedule an appointment with your dentist so they can inspect the dentures for any defects or replace them if necessary. Some dental offices use special ultrasonic equipment to deep clean dentures.

Speech Pattern Changes

When you first wear new dentures, you may experience speech pattern changes, including slurred speech or lisping. These issues should disappear as you become used to the dentures.

However, if they return or if you experience any other speech pattern changes, you may need an adjustment.

Best Ways to Treat Denture Pain 

Professional Treatments

If you are experiencing denture pain, you should make an appointment with your dentist, who can help you identify the cause and treat the issue.

There are many different ways dentists can modify dentures. High spots on a denture that are causing pressure sores may be adjusted with a drill. If the gums are raw and inflamed, the dentist may place a soft reline material on the inside of the denture to help the tissues heal. Or, the dentist may send the denture to a laboratory to have the inside of the denture relined with the same material it currently has.

Rebasing can replace the entire base of the denture, for example, if it is cracked. If a tooth is broken off the denture, another similar fake tooth can be placed instead. Another option is to completely remake the denture.

Home Remedies for Denture Sores

Here are some home remedies to relieve denture sore pain:

  • Use a topical anesthetic that contains benzocaine
  • Rinse your mouth with saltwater
  • Use over-the-counter pain relief medication
  • Remove your dentures overnight
  • Soak your dentures overnight
  • Put your dentures in a denture cleaning solution or water to soak
  • Apply aloe vera to the gumline to stimulate saliva production and provide relief from dry mouth

How to Prevent Sore Gums From Dentures

If you experience sore gums while wearing dentures, you should remove your dentures and let your gums heal before using your dentures again. 

To prevent sore gums, remove your dentures at least while sleeping. You should also practice adequate denture care to reduce the bacteria in the mouth, which can cause gum sores and other issues. 

Some tips to keep your dentures clean are:

  • Rinse dentures with warm water after meals
  • Use denture cleansing tablets
  • Brush dentures daily with a denture brush and liquid soap (without microbeads) to prevent scratching

When is it Time for New Dentures?

The shape of your gums and mouth changes over time, which impacts how your dentures will fit. If you experience any one of the symptoms above, your dentures may need repair. Take your dentures to a dentist for a check-up. 

Usually, relining or adjustment should fix many common denture problems.  When relining or adjustments do not work in extreme cases, you may need a new set of dentures.

6 Sources Cited
Last updated on June 17, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. “Denture Care.” NYC.gov, NYC Department of Aging, https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/hca/sdc-denture-care.pdf
  2. “Dentures.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 12 Apr. 2021, https://medlineplus.gov/dentures.html
  3. Mohsin, Abdul Habeeb Bin et al. “Aloe vera for Dry Mouth Denture Patients - Palliative Therapy.” Journal of clinical and diagnostic research : JCDR vol. 11,6 : ZC20-ZC23. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2017/25084.10036 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5535477/ 
  4. “Removable Partial Dentures.” Mouth Healthy TM, www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/dentures-partial
  5. “Taking Care of Your Teeth and Mouth.” National Institute on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nia.nih.gov/health/taking-care-your-teeth-and-mouth 
  6. Williams, D R et al. “Reline materials--handle with care? An investigation into the effect of varying the powder/liquid ratio on some properties of auto-polymerising acrylic resin materials.” Primary dental care : journal of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners (UK) vol. 8,4 : 151-5. doi:10.1308/135576101322462219 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11799713/
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