Tips for Managing Denture-Related Gum Pain

A blonde, elegant older woman in a beige jumper holds her hand up to her face as she winces with gum pain.

Having new dentures fitted can help give you confidence when smiling, laughing and eating.i Occasionally, though, dentures can cause gum pain or discomfort.ii Often, this is nothing to worry about; other times, you may need to book a check-up with your dentist. Keep reading to discover tips for managing discomfort at home, as well as guidance on when to give your dentist a ring. 

 

Why do my gums hurt?

There are a few reasons your dentures might be causing some discomfort. These include:

  • Your dentures are new. When you’ve just had your dentures fitted, it’s not unusual to experience some discomfort or gum pain at first, as it may take a few weeks for your mouth to become accustomed to them.ii
  • Your dentures don’t fit properly. If your dentures don’t feel like they fit as well as they should, they may need to be replaced. Poorly fitting dentures can lead to mouth sores or infections, as well as causing a lot of discomfort.i.
  • Your dentures are too loose. Loose-fitting dentures can cause discomfort when eating and speaking, as it’s possible for food to become trapped under your dentures and irritate your gums.iii

What’s the best treatment for sore gums?

If your gum pain is caused by loose or ill-fitting dentures, there’s probably nothing for it but to get a replacement.i If you don’t replace them, they can cause more serious problems than just gum irritation (such as sores and infections), so don’t be shy about talking to your dentist if you feel the fit of your dentures isn’t quite right.i

If new dentures are causing discomfort, this should eventually go away on its own.ii However, there are a few things you can do at home that may help manage any gum pain during the initial adjustment period.

Denture pain relief tips & tricks

Here are a few things you can try to help alleviate any discomfort you experience while adjusting to your new dentures:

  • Eat mindfully.
  • Use a denture adhesive.
  • Try a salt water rinse.
  • Apply a topical gel or cream.
  • Take some over-the-counter pain medication.
  • Remove your dentures overnight.

Eat mindfully

To help prevent your mouth from feeling sore when you are eating with dentures, try chewing food slowly, in small bites, and using both sides of your mouth.i

Use a denture adhesive

Speaking of eating, you may also want to consider using a denture adhesive to help prevent food particles from getting under your dentures and causing irritation.iii

Try a salt water rinse

To soothe your gums after prolonged denture wear, you may want to try rinsing your mouth with salt -water. Research suggests that using a salt water rinse may promote healthy gums and improve the healing of any mouth sores.iv

Apply a topical gel or cream

You can use a topical gel or cream that’s specifically made for oral pain relief to soothe any sore areas on your gums.

Take some over-the-counter pain medication

If you’d rather not use topical pain relief for your sore gums (perhaps you don’t like the mouthfeel, for example), you can take some OTC pain medication instead. If you feel the need to take OTC pain relief because your gum pain is severe, however, you should see your dentist as soon as you can, as this may indicate the need for professional intervention.

Remove your dentures overnight

To begin with, you may need to wear your dentures all the time (including while sleeping), but taking them out at night can allow your gums to rest as you sleep.i Have a chat with your dentist, as they will be able to advise you on the best approach to take.i

Remember, it is perfectly normal for your gums to feel sore at first as you are adjusting to your dentures - however, if they continue to cause problems, you should speak to your dentist.ii They will be able to check your dentures and make sure they are the right fit if they continue to feel uncomfortable.

 

Cleaning your dentures

To help prevent damage and to keep your dentures in the best shape, it’s important to take care of them just like you would your natural teeth. Having a thorough, daily cleaning routine will help ensure they are kept in the best possible condition, so you can keep on smiling.

 

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SOURCES

i. Dentures (false teeth). NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dentures/. Accessed 27/08/2021. Referenced text is highlighted in source PDF.

ii. Dentures. Mouth Healthy. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/dentures Accessed 27/08/2021. Referenced text is highlighted in source PDF.

iii. White paper on guidelines for the use of denture adhesives and their benefits for oral and general health. Oral Health Foundation. https://www.dentalhealth.org/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=aa48e389-9c7f-40b1-9d47-ac1dcb599897. Accessed 27/08/2021. Referenced text is highlighted in source PDF.

iv. Rinsing with Saline Promotes Human Gingival Fibroblast Wound Healing In Vitro. Plos One. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0159843. Accessed 27/08/2021. Referenced text is highlighted in source PDF.