Denture Discomfort Remedies for the Treatment of Denture Discomfort
Dentures have come a long way since the wooden teeth worn by George Washington. But, as anyone who has worn them can attest, dentures can cause discomfort. There are two times when dentures often cause discomfort-during the initial “adjustment” phase, when dentures are new, and after several years of wearing, when dentures may stop fitting properly.
Most people become accustomed to their new dentures within a short time. However, at first, you may have difficulty talking and eating. You may find the dentures tend to “slip,” or you may develop sore spots in your mouth.
Even people who have had dentures for years sometimes develop problems with them, usually problems related to fit. “When the teeth are extracted, the dentures sit on the bony ridge that’s left,” says Sandra Hazard, D.M.D., a managing dentist with Willamette Dental Group, Inc., in Oregon. “Without the teeth, the stimulation to the bone is gone and, over many years, the bone is reabsorbed by the body. The plastic denture, of course, stays the same but starts to fit badly.”
Poor fit is probably the most common cause of denture discomfort. As the bony ridge shrinks, the dentures can slip, move around, and cause sore areas. Often, people try to refit their dentures by using commercial denture adhesives. But using too much adhesive can change the relationship of the denture to the tissue and result in more soreness. Sometimes the body itself tries to solve the illfitting denture problem by causing tissue to overgrow in the mouth.
While dentures will never be as comfortable as your natural teeth, there are plenty of things you can do to prevent and resolve denture discomfort:
Keep those chompers clean. When you first have! your teeth extracted and your new dentures fit, it’ important to keep your dentures clean, because excess bacteria can retard the gums’ healing process, says Hazard.
Once you’re accustomed to your dentures, it’s important to clean them at least twice a day. “Yo can brush them with toothpaste or use a special denture cleaner,” says Hazard.
Jack W Clinton, D.M.D., associate dean of Patient Services at Oregon Health Sciences University School of Dentistry in Portland, plain old soap and water to keep dentures sparkling. “Using a hand brush and soap and I water works great,” he says.
Brush the gums. Don’t forget to brush your gums, too. “You can help maintain the health of the ; tissues that lie underneath the dentures by brushing the gums twice a day with a soft brush”, says Ken Waddell, D.M.D., a dentist in private I practice in Tigard, Oregon.
Brushing the gums, palate, and tongue not only stimulates the tissues and increases circulation, it . also helps reduce bacteria and removes plaque.
Baby your mouth. At least at first, your gums will: need time to adjust to the compression created by. the dentures. Hazard advises patients to eat soft foods during the denture adjustment period to avoid damaging the tender tissues.
Once the gums have healed and your dentist ha: refit your dentures properly, you’ll be able to chell more normally. But Waddell says some foods, sud as apples and corn on the cob, are probably best avoided by people who wear dentures. “Advertisements show people with dentures eating all kinds of hard foods,” he says. “But hard foods cause the denture to traumatize the gums and bon of the upper jaw. Cut up your apples and take the corn off the cob.”
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