Sores from Dentures

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What causes sores from dentures, how can you treat the pain, and perhaps more importantly, how can you make denture sores go away?

Mouth sores from dentures are, unfortunately, a rather common oral health issue. Ill-fitting, wrongly sized or poorly kept dentures can all cause inflammation and irritation. This is the case for both old and new dentures, but in this case of a new set, the discomfort is likely to subside on its own just as soon as you get used to wearing them. 

In almost all cases, getting rid of denture sores is very easy once you know what is causing them. In this article, we’ll talk about the top reasons why dentures may cause sores, how to treat denture sores at home, how to prevent denture sores from developing in the first place, and knowing when to see a dentist.

Why do denture wearers get sore gums and sores from dentures?

There are many potential reasons why denture wearers might be getting sore gums and sores from wearing their dentures. Here is a rundown of the most common causes:

New dentures

Probably the most common cause of denture sores is new dentures. Initially, your dentures are going to feel uncomfortable, and they may be chafing your gums and even cause sores and swelling while you are getting used to them. 

Any new denture can potentially cause pain and discomfort. This is true whether we are talking about upper dentures, lower dentures, full dentures or partial dentures.

Provided that they have been fitted properly, your new dentures aren’t going to feel uncomfortable for long. Within a few days to a few weeks, you will have gotten completely used to their presence in your mouth. 

Ill-fitting dentures

If your dentures fit badly in your mouth, the only fix is to go back to your dentist to get them refitted. Well fitted dentures is not a luxury, it is a must. And while it is completely normal for new dentures to feel uncomfortable for the first few weeks of wearing them, wearing them shouldn’t be painful or irritating several weeks down the line.

For the most part dentists do an excellent job at making sure dentures sit well in the mouths of their patients, but no dentist or dental procedure is completely perfect, so it may be necessary for you to return to your dentist for a refit. 

Poor oral hygiene

Poor oral hygiene is at the root of most oral health problems, and may be a contributing factor in you developing gum pain, inflammation and sores from wearing dentures.

You probably already know that, during the day, bacteria-filled plaque and food particles layer themselves and get stuck both on and between your teeth as well as along your gum line, and that this is the reason why brushing twice a day is so important. 

If you are new to wearing dentures, you may not realize that cleaning your dentures as well as your gum line properly and thoroughly every day should be part of your daily oral hygiene routine. Because dentures look so much like natural teeth, it is tempting to keep them in and simply pass over them with your brush like you would the rest of your teeth. It is, however, important that you actually remove your dentures from your mouth and clean them thoroughly, including on the inside, before putting them back in your mouth.

Constant wear

Dentures are meant to be worn most of the time, but they aren’t meant to be worn absolutely all of it. Now and then, you have to give your gums a break.

The best time to take a break from wearing your dentures is at night, when you are likely to be asleep anyway.

How to get rid of denture sores and relieve denture pain

If denture sores have already developed in your mouth, you are probably wondering how you can effectively reduce the inflammation, pain and discomfort as well as encourage your gums to heal. These are our top tips:

Get your dentures refitted by a dentists

The most likely explanation for your mouth sores is that your dentures simply don’t fit properly. 

Only a dentist can make sure your dentures sit well in your mouth, so book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to get them refitted – or alternatively, to rule out a bad fit being the source of your soreness and discomfort.

Take pain relief medication

Taking over the counter pain medication is the best way to achieve nearly instant pain relief in the short term.

Warm salt water rinse

Salt water rinses are easy to prepare, and they are highly effective when it comes to both reducing inflammation and encouraging your gums to heal naturally. 

Boil some water, add a few pinches of salt, stir and gargle!

Remove your dentures overnight

You shouldn’t be wearing your dentures constantly anyway, but if you have already developed denture sores, you should try to give your gums as much of a break as you can get away with.

In an ideal world you’d be able to sit around at home for days with no dentures in, but chances are you have responsibilities and a life to run that requires you to get out and about as well as interact with other people. However, the nighttime should offer you ample opportunity for removing your dentures and letting your gums get a break.

Soak your dentures overnight

While you are giving your mouth a break, try soaking your dentures overnight. This keeps them clean and gives you a convenient place to store them. You can soak them either in clean water or in a denture cleaner solution.

How to prevent denture sores from developing

Here are our top tips for keeping denture sores from developing in the first place.

Don’t wear your dentures at night

Only wear your dentures during the day, and take them out at night to give your mouth some rest and time to recover.

Clean your dentures daily

Just like you should clean your teeth and mouth every day, you should also clean your dentures daily. Don’t brush them while they are still in your mouth – remove them and clean them thoroughly inside and out.

Eat soft foods and avoid sticky foods

Some foods can cause your dentures to chafe, specifically sticky and chewy foods and snacks such as caramel and toffee, thick and chewy breads, stringy meats and jerky snacks.

Keep your dentures in place with denture adhesive

Using a denture adhesive, particularly one with antibacterial properties, helps to keep your dentures in place while drastically reducing your chances of developing denture sores. 

Denture adhesives such as Fixodent Professional keep your dentures firmly in place and keeps food particles from getting stuck between your gums and dentures.

Limit or avoid triggers

Certain foods and beverages trigger denture pain and can spur on the development of denture sores. Triggering foods and beverages include any that are excessively spicy, hot, salty or acidic.

Frequently asked questions

How do I get rid of sores from dentures?

To get rid of denture sores, the first thing you must do is identify the underlying cause so that you can address it (possibly with the help of a dental professional). 
Ask yourself, are your dentures fitted correctly, are you keeping them clean, and have you allowed yourself enough time to get used to wearing them?

Badly fitted dentures is a common causation of sore gums and sores, so make sure your dentures have been professionally and well fitted.

If you have never worn dentures before, you’ll just have to accept that wearing dentures takes some getting used to. Allow yourself some time for your mouth to adjust to wearing them. 

Another important point is to keep your dentures clean. Remove your dentures from your mouth regularly and clean them thoroughly. You should also give yourself breaks from wearing dentures, for example at night while you are asleep.

How long do denture sores take to heal?

If properly cared for, denture sores tend to heal within a week’s time. 

What does denture stomatitis look like?

Denture stomatitis is a type of oral yeast infection that most frequently besets denture wearers. The infection is caused by a type of fungus called Candida.

In many cases, denture stomatitis clears on its own within a few weeks, provided that you take regular breaks from wearing your dentures and stay on top of your oral hygiene. Try not waring your dentures at night for at least two weeks and rinse your mouth with warm salt water regularly. In most cases, this simple at-home treatment is enough to eradicate the infection. However, if you notice your infection getting worse, book an appointment with your dentist.

Denture stomatitis is, fortunately, not contagious, so you don’t need to worry about transmitting it to anyone else.

What causes sores under dentures?

Sore gums and gum sores often develop when you have just gotten a new pair of dentures fitted. It will inevitably take a bit of time for your mouth to get used to accommodating the dentures.

Other potential reasons for mouth sores include dentures that are badly fitted, wearing your dentures constantly without giving your mouth the breaks it needs, and poor oral hygiene habits.

Dr Febin Mary George - Editor

With more than 10 years as a dental surgeon, Dr Febin Mary George is passionate about educating consumers around the world to help look after their teeth.

She completed her Bachelor of Surgery at the Century Institute of Dental Science and Research Centre in 2010.

Alongside editing the International Journal of Dental Clinics she has also written for major publications including Thrive Global.