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Frequently Asked Questions about Denture Irritation, Pain and Sores

4 minutes to read

Posted: Jul 16, 2021

Adapting to your new dentures and denture adhesive  takes time, and sometimes you are going to have to wait for your mouth to heal before you no longer feel any soreness. The American College of Prosthodontists answers some common soreness questions below. 

I had an extraction and a new partial denture inserted, but it's very painful. I had gingivitis just before that, and I'm still using the rinse. Is this normal? My mouth is swollen a bit. How long before the swelling goes down? The pain shoots through my head. Will it slow down the adjustment if I take the dentures out at night? When I use Fixodent® denture adhesive cream the pain seems to subside somewhat. 

Answer: Pain and swelling following extraction and denture placement is common. The pain and swelling will subside once healing is complete and your dentures are adjusted. You may need soft relines to your dentures following these procedures or have your "bite" modified to even out the pressure during this time of transition. It’s a good idea to schedule regular visits to your dentist or prosthodontist to adjust the dentures as you go through the normal healing process. It is recommended that you take your dentures out at night to let the gum tissues rest and recover from wearing the dentures during the day. Your gums were never meant to be covered by dentures 24 hours a day, so you need to give them a rest. Your gum tissues will be healthier if you sleep without your dentures. When the dentures are out of your mouth, they should be stored in water to prevent them from drying out. 

Response provided by the American College of Prosthodontists. 

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I got new upper dentures a week ago, and I have several questions. My gums/jaw are still pretty sore. I’m rinsing with warm saltwater several times daily. What can I do to help heal faster? Adhesive directions all say apply only once daily. I've been taking my dentures out several times daily. Is there any problem with reapplying adhesive each time I put them back in? How do I deal with sore spots? 

Answer: You will experience discomfort until the healing is complete, which lasts a minimum of two to ten months, depending on your ability to heal. You should see your dentist 24 hours after the teeth are extracted, and one week later, to have him or her check on healing, and to relieve any sore spots that the denture may be causing. Before using denture adhesive, you should also wait until the areas where the teeth were removed have healed; usually about seven to ten days. It will be more comfortable for you to apply denture adhesive after the gum tissue has grown over the extraction sites. However, a very small amount of denture adhesive may be used on the part of the denture that touches the roof of your mouth if needed immediately after the teeth are removed. To learn how to properly apply denture adhesive, visit the American College of Prosthodontists online at www.prosthodontics.org, an organization of prosthodontists, who are dentists with three years of additional training in denture care. Ask your pharmacist for an over-the-counter cream containing benzocaine for dealing with sore spots, and carefully follow the directions. If the sore spots remain for longer than two or three days, you need to return to your dentist or prosthodontist for an adjustment. To find a prosthodontist near you, visit www.gotoapro.org

Response provided by the American College of Prosthodontists. 

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I just got a full set of dentures a few days ago. Is it normal for my tongue and gums to still be so sore? When can I start using adhesives? When can I take out my dentures at night? 

Answer: Yes, it should be expected that you might still have pain and discomfort a few days after receiving your dentures. I would hope that after one month of wearing your dentures, you find that you are feeling better. If not, you should return to the dentist who made your dentures to see if the dentures can be adjusted to fit better in your mouth. When dentures are placed the same day the teeth are extracted, it is normal to leave them in the mouth for 24 hours, even wearing them as you sleep. The dentures act like a bandage during the first day. When you visit the dentist who made your dentures the next day, the dentures will be removed and cleaned, sore spots relieved, and the bite adjusted. At that appointment, you should have received instructions on caring for and cleaning your dentures. In general, you should remove your dentures every night, clean them thoroughly, and place them in a container with liquid denture cleanser or water to soak overnight. This not only prolongs the life of your dentures by keeping them free of stains and a buildup of bacteria, but it allows your gum tissues to rest and heal. In other words, you should now be taking your dentures out overnight. 

Response provided by the American College of Prosthodontists. 

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My lower dentures keep giving me sores in my mouth from the shifting. It always hurts. I have soft liners, sort of, but they still cause sores. I have been lining them with silicone ear plugs (don't laugh), but I still have the problem. The sores shift continually from one spot to another. I'm exhausted. How do I prevent sores? 

Answer: Sore spots under your dentures are a result of several things. First, it may be that the dentures are too large for your gums. This can be fixed by adjusting the over-extended areas and then carefully polishing the denture borders. Second, the sore spots may be a result of the dentures not fitting against the gums, resulting in areas of pressure on the gums (the pressure should be evenly distributed under the denture bases). This can be adjusted by refitting the gum side of the dentures with a hard acrylic material. Third, the sore spots may be related to improper cleaning of the denture, resulting in accumulations of bacteria or fungi that cause inflammation of the gums. Finally, localized sore spots may be related to an inaccurate "bite," which may cause the dentures to shift and put unequal pressure on the gums. All of these conditions can be remedied by your dentist or a prosthodontist, a specialist in denture construction. To locate a prosthodontist near you, visit www.gotoapro.org

Response provided by the American College of Prosthodontists. 

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I got my first set of upper dentures a month and a half ago. Since then, I have had no desire to eat because it hurts to chew and nothing tastes good. I just tried to eat a piece of bacon and couldn't chew it. Anything hard or tough or that the teeth have to tear does not work. Dentures ruined food and eating. Is this going to improve? I keep going back to the dentist to have them grind pieces off and it helps some, but my mouth is still sore. 

Answer: When you’re first fitted for new dentures, it’s normal to experience minor irritation, which should fade as your mouth becomes accustomed to them. The period of pain varies. If you’ve previously worn dentures and now have a new set, it may take longer. Similarly, if you had some natural teeth present that were removed at the time the new dentures, the areas where the extractions were performed may be painful or uncomfortable for up to several weeks after the removal of the teeth. When you first get your dentures, focus on eating foods that are soft and don’t require much chewing, such as scrambled eggs, baked potatoes, and pasta. As you become adjusted to the dentures, and you learn how to adjust your tongue to help hold the denture in place, add some other foods. Just remember to let your knife and fork start the chewing process for you by cutting your food into small bites. Then chew on both sides of your mouth using the back teeth only. A small amount of denture adhesive may help hold your dentures in place, or you may want to consider dental implants for ultimate security. Regular visits to your dentist or prosthodontist to adjust the dentures as you go through the normal healing process are recommended. To locate a prosthodontist near you, visit www.gotoapro.org

Response provided by the American College of Prosthodontists. 

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