5 Main Causes for Denture Pain & How to Treat It

BY Dr. McDowell  |  May 2nd, 2023
Dr. McDowell
Dr. McDowell has always been focused on using the latest technology to improve the patient experience. From radiation-free imaging to laser dentistry, he has always been ahead of the curve and is dedicated to improving the practice of dentistry one ..

Denture pain is actually very common among denture wearers — but it doesn’t have to be. There are very specific reasons why denture pain happens, and fortunately, there are also very specific solutions to ease the discomfort.

In this article, we’ll cover the five main causes of denture pain and what you can do about it to get some relief. Keep reading to learn more!

The Different Types of Dentures

Many people believe that some denture types hurt more than others. However, denture pain often has more to do with the individual wearing them than the denture itself. Before we get into the causes of denture pain, let’s take a look at the different types of dentures for some insight as to why they may pose challenges for some and not others.

diagram with different types of dentures to assess pain

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are often used when an individual’s training teeth aren’t strong enough to support a dental bridge. This is usually due to tooth decay or gum disease causing weakness or if the individual is only missing a few teeth.

Partial dentures are essentially supported by the existing natural teeth in an individual’s mouth, which is why they’re associated with the least complications and discomfort.

Immediate Dentures

Immediate dentures are for temporary use as they’re worn after an individual has their teeth removed. Because they’re worn during the healing process, they require a lot of maintenance, including frequent realignment, which can contribute to soreness.

Complete Dentures

Complete dentures are designed to sit on the gum throughout the entire day. They’re typically supported by suction or implant dentures, which means they can only be worn once the gums are fully healed and can support them.

Because they’re worn all day, those who wear complete dentures often experience soreness as they adjust to having them in their mouths.

What Causes Denture Pain?

While each type of denture can contribute to discomfort, it’s important to understand that any discomfort caused by a denture should be minimal. When denture pain is consistent and unbearable, these are the five usual culprits causing the issues:

1. Improper Fit ❌

New dentures are often designed with a base made of resin that sits on top of the existing gum line. Gums are still soft and sensitive tissues, and if the denture doesn’t fit properly, it’ll move constantly. This causes rubbing against the gums, which can cause soreness and even blistering.

If a permanent denture is placed before the gums have fully healed, it will eventually come loose and begin rubbing against the gum line as an individual speaks and eats. Old dentures can also move as the underlying bone will shrink over time, causing the gums to alter their shape.

2. Allergies 🤧

Allergies can also cause denture pain. It’s rare, but some individuals end up having an allergic reaction to the resin, acrylic, or plastic used in dentures, causing inflammation and discomfort. Denture adhesives and cleaners can also cause allergic reactions, which can lead to a burning sensation inside the mouth, swelling, or gum irritation that can lead to ulcers.

3. Chewing Pressure 🥪

woman sees dentist about denture pain

With natural teeth, the pressure caused while biting down is placed directly on the bone as the teeth are anchored to the jaw. With dentures, the pressure is applied directly to the gums, which can cause temporary discomfort for a while.

If an individual’s mouth is also dry, it can cause friction as they chew, which causes even more discomfort.

4. Poor Oral Hygiene 🪥

Just like real teeth, dentures must be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent bacteria and yeast from forming. When there’s a build-up of year and bacteria on dentures, the individual wearing them can end up with an infection of the gums or oral thrush.

5. Adjustment Period ⌚

Wearing dentures can take some getting used to. Generally speaking, it will take a minimum of 30 days to get used to wearing new dentures, so they will cause some discomfort at first. However, if the pain persists past 30 days, you’ll need to get in touch with your dentist to figure out the root of your denture pain.

How to Treat Denture Pain

Persistent denture pain is a cause for concern since wearing dentures should not cause an individual to feel frequent discomfort past the adjustment period. If your denture pain is persistent, here are a few things you can do to help ease the pain:

Need Help With Your Denture Care?

Remember, the discomfort should only occur during the adjustment period. After that, it’s likely there’s another cause behind your denture pain. If you’re struggling to get used to your new dentures, don’t hesitate to call your dental professional so they can help you make the proper adjustments and give you tips on denture care.

Wayzata Dentistry can help you with your denture pain and care. Book an appointment with us today and we’ll have you feeling confident in your dentures in no time!

Dr. McDowell
Dr. McDowell has always been focused on using the latest technology to improve the patient experience. From radiation-free imaging to laser dentistry, he has always been ahead of the curve and is dedicated to improving the practice of dentistry one ..