The short answer is “maybe” or “maybe not”. In this blog, let’s talk about what may or may not be considered “normal” denture pain. While well - made dentures may hurt the first time they are placed in the mouth – continued pain should not be considered “normal”.
So let’s start with why even well-made dentures may hurt the first time the dentist puts them in your mouth. Dentures are usually made on a stone model or “mold” of your mouth. Of course, stone does not have tissue or nerves, so pressure points must be adjusted at the final appointment. Where particular pressure points cause pain will vary from patient to patient. These pain areas can be evaluated by the dentist quite accurately with pressure indicating cream or pressure ink. A good example to think about is the bottom of your foot. There are parts of your foot (the heel) where you can tolerate pressure, but other parts (the arch) where the pressure needs to be lighter. This is true of the mouth also and can depend on gum and bone thickness variations.
One rule of thumb is to give yourself 1 – 2 weeks per decade for the adjustment period. If you are 80 years old – it could take from 8 weeks to several months to be fully functional. However, this does not mean you should be in pain for this amount of time. If you have a sore spot that has turned into an ulcer or blister – your dentist must make an adjustment – it will not go away on its own.
You do not have to wait to have a sore spot for a follow up. Most dentists will automatically schedule you for a follow up appointment even if you have no pain at delivery appointment. Most new denture wearers benefit from 1-3 follow-up appointments. Some patients will need more depending on many factors.
From my experience – most pain from dentures will require adjusting or “tweaking” of the pressure point(s). Rarely will pain go away by just “getting used to them”. If you have pain “all over” and cannot pinpoint a certain area – there are several “not normal” possibilities that could be the cause of denture discomfort. One cause of “all over” pain and “burning” is the presence of a yeast infection in your mouth. It is not uncommon to have a red type of yeast infection without any white “plaques”.
Mouth issues/causes of “all over pain” include: dry mouth, medications, low tissue tolerance, not removing your dentures at night. Your dentist will suggest appropriate measures to help with your specific mouth issues.
Denture causes of “all over pain” are usually related to problems with the fit of the denture or “bite measurements”. My other denture blogs have talked about denture “fit” problems that will cause pain so I will only discuss bite measurement problems here.
Bite measurement problems can be complex and often result in your mouth, mouth muscles, jaw joints feeling like they are too “stretched”. Your mouth is unable to feel rested when your dentures are in place. “Bite measurement” problems could be the problem if you notice that your front teeth hit each other when you speak and you have problems chewing. “Bite measurement” problems often cause chronic denture pain that may require remaking one or both dentures. If the bite measurements are off, the pain will not go away.
Think of getting new dentures like getting a new pair of hiking boots. While you may need to “work them in” – blisters are not normal and you don’t want to keep wearing them if you are in pain. Your dentist will be able to determine the cause of the pain, and if it’s “normal” pain, most likely a denture adjustment will be made. Your dentist will likely use a pressure indicating cream or pressure ink so that adjustments are most accurate. Our dentures at Geriatric Dental Group have soft, flexible denture borders when there is minimal remaining bone support and low tissue tolerance.
And remember – at Geriatric Dental Group in San Antonio – we have denture solutions for even the most difficult situations!