Are your sore gums from dentures?

Sore Gums from Dentures

At some point in their denture journey, most denture wearers have experienced sore gums. Whether in the early phase of getting new dentures, or when in need of a denture reline or replacement dentures, or finally, when they just can’t figure out if it’s their dentures making their gums sore. In this article, we give you some tips on how to figure out what is making your gums sore. Spoiler alert: it may not be your denture at fault. We suggest questions to ask yourself and the clues to look for so you can determine probable causes. We also offer advice on how to treat sore gums from dentures, when you need to seek professional advice, and when and how you can deal with the issue at home.

Are your dentures painful-gum suspects?

We examine three stages when sore gums from dentures is most likely:

New dentures, sore gums

The most common time to suffer with sore gums is immediately upon getting new dentures. If you have never had dentures before, then your gums newly recovering from tooth extraction, must adjust to having a foreign body pressing against them. Tissues may still be swollen and tender, but even if healing is completed, until you learn how to spread the pressure of eating and chewing across the whole denture, it is not surprising your gums take time to toughen up.

Replacement dentures and sore gums

If you have a new denture replacing an old one, there may be more teeth on the replacement, or more pronounced gum ridges after the loss of bone – a natural occurrence. In this case, the denture will make contact with areas of gum not placed under pressure before, causing irritation and perhaps some rubbing. Therefore, it will take your gums some time to become accustomed to the new denture. A poorly made or ill-fitting denture will also cause sore spots.

Sore gums but no idea why?

What if neither of the above scenarios fits your experience? What if you have no idea why your denture appears to be suddenly causing you grief? Now is the time to put your detective hat on and ask some incisive questions. The first being to ask yourself: “what is different?”

Dentures: painful gums and their causes

Sometimes a process of elimination is the most logical way for you to proceed. After reading the list below and selecting a likely cause for your sore gums, we then offer you courses of action.

We have already outlined getting new dentures or replacement dentures in preceding paragraphs. If you have sore gums and neither apply to you then here are some questions to help you narrow down the possible cause:

  • Have you had health issues lately which may affect your gums? Perhaps it’s time to visit your doctor for underlying health conditions not yet diagnosed.
  • Have you lost weight? Weight loss doesn’t just affect your outer appearance but also your face and mouth. Loss of weight can affect the way your denture fits, causing it to become loose and rub on your gums.
  • Are you on new medications? Diabetics, patients having chemotherapy or taking steroids or certain antibiotics, may suffer with stomatitis, a condition causing inflammation of the mouth and gums.i
  • Are you eating new foods, or perhaps changed your diet? Hidden seeds and nut fragments can get under your denture causing irritation.
  • Is your diet nourishing enough? Vitamin deficiencies can contribute to painful gums.ii
  • Is your denture due for maintenance like a denture reline for example? A loose denture happens gradually over time, sometimes without you noticing. If your denture is unstable in your mouth while eating, it may be rubbing or pressing on areas it didn’t contact before, abrading the sensitive gum tissues.
  • Have you changed products like toothpaste, denture adhesive, mouth wash or denture cleaner? You could be allergic to a new product which might set up a reaction in your mouth causing sore spots.
  • Are your hygiene practices up to scratch? Bacteria and fungi like Candida can accumulate on dentures that aren’t properly cleaned, causing denture stomatitis, inflaming surrounding tissue, causing sore spots with a potential for infection.
  • Are you eating more salty foods than usual? These kinds of foods can reduce saliva making your mouth dry. Drink plenty of water to reduce the friction which can cause sore spots.iii
  • Have you had your denture for a long time? Even the best denture will degrade over time. Worn denture surfaces can harbour bacteria, sometimes in microscopic cracks not visible to a casual glance. Your mouth also changes with aging, compromising what once was a snug fit. Seeing your dental prosthetist for an assessment can determine if this is the reason you suffer sore spots.

How to treat sore gums from dentures - where to start

Having narrowed down the possible culprits for your inflamed gums, you need a plan of action. Depending on the severity and possible cause of your gum soreness, you may either consult with your dental prosthetist who will suggest a course of action or address the issue yourself. If your situation appears to be a medical one, then consulting your doctor is imperative. Check through the following to narrow your field of culprits for gum soreness.

Hygiene practice

This is a common cause of sore gums and easy to identify and should be the first one to consider. Examine your routine for any shortcuts you may have been taking. Smelly breath, a bad taste, dry mouth, bleeding or sore gums are all clues it may be your denture hygiene that needs more care.ivv

A loose denture

If it’s a loose denture that is the likely reason, the first step is a visit to your dental prosthetist who will examine your mouth, your denture, and make recommendations. Depending on the nature of the problem, a resolution may be just an adjustment away. Other measures may be a denture reline to restore a snug fit, or a replacement denture if the denture is old or damaged beyond repair.

Change of diet

Sore spots due to diet variation are more easily fixed. Keeping track of what you’re eating is the clue to finding what you can and can’t eat and then resolved by simply avoiding the problem foods.

Allergy inducing products

A quick review of what has changed in your product selection, like denture adhesive, mouthwash, toothpaste etc., can reveal products which maybe making your gums sore. Eliminate the suspects for a week or two to confirm if indeed, they are the reason for your tender gums. In very rare cases, a denture patient may have an allergy to the compounds from which dentures are made, causing them to suffer from mouth soreness, or burning sensations as a consequence.vi If you are concerned this might be the case, see your dental prosthetist for advice.

Change of medication

A review of your medication may also prove useful. Are you taking something new, or in higher doses? If you suspect a change of medication may be causing your sensitive gums, a visit to your doctor is strongly advised. Do not stop taking medication without consulting your doctor first. Some medications can result in dry mouth, soft tissue sores, bone changes or abnormal bleeding.vii

Denture stomatitis: dentures, painful gums

It may not be the fault of your dentures; painful gums can be the result of denture stomatitis, which presents as sore spots and inflammation of the mouth, cheeks, tongue and gums. Common causes are poor oral hygiene, Candida (thrush), or other health conditions.

Treatments for sore gums from dentures

While there are many measures you can take to get some relief from sore gums, if your pain is severe, you must contact your oral health practitioner immediately.

However, if your gum soreness is moderate, you can try the following suggestions. Of course, if your gum inflammation is a result of loose-fitting dentures or allergy producing products then removing them until you can have the problem rectified is essential. Ask your pharmacist to recommend a topical mouth gel to soothe the inflamed gums. Some teething gels also contain anaesthetic agents which give instant relief from pain. Over the counter pain medication can help with inflamed gum pain until healing takes place.

Sore gums from dentures home remedies

Natural remedies include regular tepid saltwater mouthwashes – a favourite with oral health practitioners for its effectiveness, aloe vera gel, turmeric which has ant-inflammatory properties – perhaps in a turmeric latte. A cold teabag contains tannin which, when placed on sore gums can sooth gum swelling.viii Clove oil has an effective natural numbing agent in oil which helps to soothe irritated gums.

Sore gums from partial dentures

While most of this article has focused on full dentures, the same advice applies when you experience sore gums from partial dentures. Check with your prosthetist if you’ve had recent dental work or extractions, which may have compromised the fit of your partial denture, causing it to rub on your gums or be unstable when you chew.

Summary

No-one would dispute the torment sore gums can cause denture wearers. However, with a little detective work you can uncover the possible cause of your pain and quickly resolve the situation. Often, at-home remedies will do the trick but when the situation is a little more complex, there is help on hand. Your prosthetist is your go-to expert in this field and will diagnose the cause of your distress, then resolve your situation, referring you on to other oral health or medical practitioners if this is necessary.

References

i https://www.dentalhealth.org/denture-stomatitis
ii https://www.healthline.com/health/why-do-my-gums-hurt#vitamin-deficiency
iii https://denturehealthcare.com.au/remedies-for-sore-gums-from-dentures/
iv https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijd/2011/589064/
v https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1601-5037.2009.00413
vi https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4745248/
vii https://www.irvinedentalcare.com/blog/medications-that-affect-your-teeth/
viii https://denturehealthcare.com.au/remedies-for-sore-gums-from-dentures/



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