Having dentures should not hurt. People who wear dentures may experience temporary oral irritation or soreness. Eating certain foods may cause temporary pain. For example, a seed or peanut may slip under a denture and cause irritation to the gum.
This type of irritation usually goes away after a few days once the source of trouble (in this case the seed or peanut) is removed. Often, it may be more comfortable to leave the denture out of the mouth during this healing.
Dentures are custom made specifically for your mouth; therefore, new dentures often require adjustments to areas that rest directly on the soft tissue. Sometimes, due to bony ledges and undercuts, dentures require alteration. To improve the balance and pressure of the denture during eating, the bite is sometimes adjusted.
Adjusting a denture requires a quick and simple dental visit. The denture dentist may use an indicator paste or marker on the irritated mouth tissue, which is then transferred to the denture upon placement, to determine the exact location on the denture that needs adjusting.
A rotary dental hand piece is used to contour the denture. Often, relief of an impinging denture improves comfort immediately; however, keeping the denture out of the mouth for a while may help the irritation or sore heal. After a few weeks, discomfort associated with a new denture often is eliminated and the denture functions without pain.
Over time, the mouth undergoes changes that can affect the fit of a denture. Since the bone and gum tissue of your mouth changes over time, it is important that denture wearers visit the denture dentist at least once a year for an oral examination, including an oral cancer examination.
A denture dentist can exam your mouth to determine the cause of your pain, evaluate your soreness and irritations, and adjust your denture. Depending upon the severity of the denture sore and the length of time the denture has not been in the mouth, it may be necessary to wear the denture the day before the dental visit so that the dentist can accurately resolve the problem. Often, a few denture adjustments will resolve discomfort associated with your denture.
Seeing a denture dentist can help improve the fit, function, and look of your denture, as well as detect any problems that are not related to the denture.
by Denise J. Fedele, D.M.D., M.S.