The Top Causes of Denture Pain, Sores, & Discomfort

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Woman With Dentures Smiling

Dentures are a reality for some. Whether you’ve lost teeth for health reasons or injury, Partial or Full Dentures could be prescribed to you. But they do not come without their challenges. They can be too loose or your mouth can change during the healing process. Here’s what you need to know about potential pain, signs of trouble and how to deal with them.

Denture Types

Partial Dentures

When nearby teeth aren’t strong enough to support a bridge, or there are only a few teeth missing, this may be the route you take. Unlike complete dentures, partial dentures are held in by lining up with existing teeth. A mould is taken and the Dentures are made. There aren’t typically any issues of fit, but they can happen.

See more: Partial Dentures


These dentures are designed to be worn during the healing process are teeth are removed. The healing process can take months. This means a great deal of time before complete dentures can be worn. The issue with immediate dentures is that as the mouth heals, gums can shrink and move. Over-time, immediate dentures will need to be re-lined.

See more: My First Denture Program


Complete dentures are worn after the mouth is fully healed. This healing process can sometimes take months. After healing, a mould is taken and the dentures made. These dentures, like immediates, are held in with suction. Their maintenance is crucial. Some fit issues may arise as a result of conditions described below.

See more: Complete Dentures

Identifying the Problem

This is typically the more obvious sign of trouble. Pain can occur when chewing or after wearing your dentures throughout the day. This can be an indication of nerve pain which can be a long-term side-effect of use. On the other hand, you may feel pain above and below the dentures. This can be an indicator of rubbing, which indicates your dentures do not fit properly.

The pain can sometimes manifest in different forms. As mentioned above, rubbing can cause inflammation around the area of the dentures. However more extreme pain can occur. When teeth are lost or removed, the gums lose approximately 1 millimeter of bone each year. The effects of bone atrophy can be quickened due to rubbing caused by poor fitting dentures.

Visible Sores

You may not feel any pain in some cases. Build up of bacteria may cause sores under and above the dentures. These are a form of thrush and most commonly affect denture wearers. In some cases there is no pain felt.

Potential Causes


When dentures are not properly cleaned or maintained, bacteria can build up causing yeast to form under your dentures. This yeast can cause painful sores to appear. Unlike those still with natural teeth, the bacteria does not build up in the form of plaque. Rather, those with dentures are at a greater risk as the bacteria can inflame all areas covered by the denture.


As we mentioned earlier in the article, your mouth can change during the healing process. This can cause dentures to fall out of alignment or struggle to fit. Your dentures can rub on the top and bottom of your mouth, leading raw skin on the roof or floor of the mouth.

Poor fitting dentures rub along the gums potentially leading to a condition called bone resorption. This painful ailment results in extreme pain while chewing. The pressure pushes down on sensitive nerves in the jaw.

Adjustment Period

Denture wearers can experience mild pain in the early months of wear. Similar to other major periodontal procedures, the mouth can take time to adjust. If the pain persists however, it’s recommended you bring your dentures in for adjustment.

Treatment and Prevention

Proper Maintenance

Dentures require strict maintenance and care. They must be removed and cleaned every night. Soak dentures overnight in water or any cleaning solution. This loosens up particles and bacteria in the dentures. Avoid using hot water as it can warp your dentures.

Every morning, brush your dentures. This will remove loosened particles of food and kill any bacteria. Do not clean your dentures with standard toothpaste. It has been said to be too abrasive and can damage them. Also, avoid whitening pastes and any bleaching products. The chemicals in these products don’t alter the colour of dentures. Furthermore, chemicals in bleach products can damage your dentures.

Proper Mouth Health

While cleaning your dentures is important, it’s also crucial to keep your gums clean. Bacteria is your worst enemy. After cleaning your dentures at night brush your gums to eliminate bacteria left from food getting caught under your dentures. The suction effect of full dentures can sometimes cause discomfort for new patients so it is suggested that even if your gums are sore, massage them; soak a washcloth in warm water and wrap it around your finger.

You can also use a non-alcoholic mouthwash.


In more serious cases where an adjustment will not better the fit. Your dentures will need to be relined. This process can be done in our office.

A Soft Re-line can be done in our office . The underside of the denture is lined with a substance that molds to you gum line and can remain pliable for up to two years. After that time it will need to be replaced.

A Hard Re-Line is a similar process. However, the dentures are sent in to have them coated with a harder substance close to what the denture is made of. This fix is more long term.


Adjustments are a simple process that can be done through your dentist. Your mouth can change overtime The dentures are ground down where you’re experiencing rubbing or soreness.

Is It Time For New Dentures?

The shape of your gums can change over time. This may lead to a complete loss of suction and secure fit with your dentures. In extreme cases when relining or adjustment do not work, a new set of dentures are needed.

We welcome you to visit us for a custom assessment!

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