Denture rehabilitation is a significant aspect of modern dental care, particularly for older adults who have lost some or all of their natural teeth, by offering them the opportunity to regain oral function and aesthetics, and improve overall quality of life.
Despite these benefits, the outcomes and experiences with dentures can vary among different wearers, especially with regard to the fit, comfort, and overall satisfaction with their false teeth, owing to factors such as the individual’s oral health, bone structure, and adaptation to wearing dentures.
Consequently, denture wearers may encounter various challenges and difficulties associated with their ill-fitting oral prostheses, low-quality denture materials, or poor denture hygiene practices like keeping dentures in the mouth for too long. These problems include sore spots, gum irritation, and pressure points, as well as dentures cutting into their gums in extreme cases, which can in turn lead to nutritional deficiencies and potential health issues.
It is important to address these denture-related challenges to improve the overall well-being and oral health quality of life for denture wearers. Seeking professional assistance and exploring solutions to enhance denture fit and comfort can significantly alleviate these issues and promote a more positive denture-wearing experience.
Why are my Dentures Cutting into Gums?
Dentures cutting into the gums can be attributed to several factors:.
1. Unresolved Fit Issues and Inadequate Adjustments
When a denture is not properly fitted, it fails to conform to the contours of the gums and underlying bone. This creates pressure points and areas of friction where the denture rubs against the soft tissues of the mouth as you eat, talk, or laugh. Over time, this constant rubbing and pressure can lead to sore spots, discomfort, and even painful ulcers.
Even if a denture was initially well-fitted, changes in the oral structures can occur gradually, and the denture may require periodic adjustments to accommodate these changes. For instance, if a denture was initially well-fitted but changes in the jawbone occur due to resorption or other factors, the denture may no longer fit properly.
If the necessary adjustments are not made, the denture can start to apply excessive pressure on specific areas of the gums, leading to discomfort, soreness, and even tissue damage. The improper fit can cause the denture to move or shift during speaking or chewing, further exacerbating the risk of cutting into the gums and causing irritation.
But this should be avoidable by attending your annual denture checkup. Cuts in gums could result from:
- Lack of Regular Denture Checkups: During these checkups, a dentist can assess the condition of the denture, evaluate any changes in your oral structures, and make necessary adjustments or relines to ensure a comfortable fit. However, if you neglect to schedule and attend your annual denture checkups, potential issues with the denture may go unnoticed and unaddressed. As a result, an ill-fitting denture can continue to exert excessive pressure on the gums, leading to discomfort and the risk of the denture cutting into the gums.
- Inadequate Denture Adjustments: If the denture is not adequately adjusted or relined during these checkups, it can lead to issues such as the denture cutting into the gums. As the oral structures change and the denture’s fit becomes compromised, the lack of timely adjustments can result in discomfort, sore spots, and irritation of the gums.
- Improper Adjustments: In some cases, individuals may attempt to adjust their dentures at home or seek assistance from inexperienced individuals, such as denture repair technicians or unqualified individuals. Improper adjustments can disrupt the proper fit and balance of the denture. This can lead to uneven pressure distribution on the gums, causing localized soreness, irritation, and the potential for the denture to cut into the gums. It is essential to rely on the expertise of a dental professional to ensure that adjustments are made accurately and appropriately.
2. Poor Choice of Denture Materials
Another factor to consider is the choice of denture materials, especially for the soft lining. Different materials may have varying textures, smoothness, and hardness. Some materials may be rough or have sharp edges, which can irritate the gums and lead to cuts or sores. In certain cases, individuals may also have allergic reactions to specific denture materials, resulting in gum irritation and discomfort. It is essential to choose denture materials that are biocompatible and well-tolerated by the individual’s oral tissues to minimize the risk of denture cutting into the gums.
- Rough or Sharp Edges: Some denture materials may have rough surfaces or sharp edges that can irritate and abrade the gums. When the denture rubs against the soft tissues of the mouth, especially if it has not been adequately polished or smoothed, it can cause friction and lead to gum irritation. Over time, this constant rubbing and friction can result in sore spots, inflammation, and even cuts or ulcers on the gums.
- Allergic Reactions: Certain individuals may have allergic reactions to specific denture materials. For example, some people may be sensitive or allergic to the metals used in metal-based dentures or the acrylic resins used in acrylic dentures. Allergic reactions can manifest as gum inflammation, redness, itching, or swelling. When the gums become inflamed or swollen, the denture may not fit properly, leading to increased pressure and discomfort. In severe cases, allergic reactions can cause significant gum irritation and necessitate the replacement of the denture with a different material.
- Poor Biocompatibility: Not all denture materials are equally compatible with oral tissues. Some materials may not interact well with the gums and surrounding tissues, leading to adverse reactions. For example, certain denture materials may cause excessive drying of the oral mucosa, resulting in gum irritation and discomfort. Moreover, if the denture material does not properly adhere to the underlying tissues, it can create gaps or spaces where food particles and debris can accumulate, leading to gum irritation and potential infections.
- Inadequate Flexibility: Denture materials should possess a suitable degree of flexibility to adapt to the natural movements of the oral cavity. If the material used for the denture base is too rigid or lacks flexibility, it can create excessive pressure points on the gums. This increased pressure can cause discomfort, sore spots, and even lead to the denture cutting into the gums.
To mitigate these issues, dental laboratories and manufacturers should adhere to quality standards and guidelines recommended by professional dental organizations, such as the American Dental Association (ADA), to ensure that denture materials meet the necessary biocompatibility and smoothness criteria.
3. Failure to Remove Dentures as Required
Dentures are typically designed to be removable, allowing individuals to take them out for cleaning, soaking, and giving the oral tissues a chance to rest. However, if they’re not removed regularly, such as during sleep, it can lead to prolonged pressure on the gums and soft tissues, resulting in gum irritation, inflammation, and an increased risk of denture cutting into the gums.
- Prolonged Pressure: Wearing dentures continuously without removing them gives rise to prolonged pressure on the delicate gums and underlying soft tissues, compressing them against the underlying bony ridge. Over time, this can lead to soreness, tenderness, and irritation of the gums. The gums may become more susceptible to inflammation and damage, making them more prone to discomfort and injury.
- Reduced Blood Circulation: Regular removal of dentures allows for improved blood circulation to the gum tissues. When dentures are in place for an extended period, blood flow to the gums can be compromised. This can negatively impact the health of the gum tissues, impair their ability to heal, and increase the risk of gum irritation and inflammation. Proper blood circulation is crucial for maintaining healthy tissues and minimizing the risk of injury or trauma to the gums.
- Altered Tissue Health and Resiliency: The oral tissues, including the gums, need periodic rest to maintain their health and resilience. Continuous pressure from the denture restricts the natural movement of the gum tissues and limits their ability to recover and rejuvenate. Without regular intervals of rest, the gums can become more susceptible to damage, leading to heightened sensitivity, inflammation, and thinning of the tissue. Consequently, the denture may fit less securely, allowing for increased movement and potential cutting into the gums.
To avoid these complications, individuals should adhere to their dentist’s instructions regarding denture removal.
4. Poor denture hygiene
Additionally, not removing dentures for proper cleaning can lead to the accumulation of plaque, bacteria, and food particles, which can further irritate the gums and increase the risk of oral infections.
Removing dentures regularly provides an opportunity to thoroughly clean the oral cavity and the prosthetic itself. When dentures are left in place for an extended period, food particles, plaque, and bacteria can accumulate in the space between the denture and the gums, causing gum irritation, inflammation, and even infections such as oral thrush.
The presence of debris and microorganisms increases the risk of gum discomfort and can contribute to gum disease, which further compromises gum health and the fit of the dentures.
Maintaining good oral hygiene practices and following the recommended denture care instructions are crucial in preventing gum irritation and ensuring the longevity of the dentures.
Potential complications arising from dentures cutting into gums
Allowing your dentures to injure your gums can have various consequences. The constant rubbing and pressure can cause gum irritation and inflammation, leading to discomfort and tenderness. Over time, the repetitive trauma to the gum tissues can result in the formation of painful sores or ulcers, making it difficult to wear dentures comfortably.
Ultimately, this can significantly impact your daily activities and overall well-being. Eating becomes a challenge, as the discomfort and pain can limit food choices and make it difficult to chew properly. Speaking clearly may also be affected, as the movement of the denture against the gums can interfere with proper articulation and pronunciation.
These difficulties can lead to frustration, social anxiety, and a decreased quality of life for denture wearers.
Managing Denture-Related Problems
It is crucial for individuals experiencing denture-related issues, including dentures cutting into the gums, to seek professional help from a dental provider, especially if home remedies for sore gums don’t seem to be yielding any results.
Dental professionals play a vital role in assessing and addressing denture fit problems. They can perform a comprehensive examination of the oral tissues and evaluate the denture’s fit, alignment, and occlusion.
They may recommend several solutions to address the issue:
- Denture adjustments involve modifying specific areas of the denture to relieve pressure points and improve fit.
- Relining is another option, where a new layer of material is added to the tissue surface of the denture to enhance its adaptation to the gum tissues.
- In some cases, if the dentures are extensively worn or no longer provide a satisfactory fit, dentists may recommend remaking the dentures entirely.
Seeking timely treatment for denture-related problems is crucial for improving comfort and maintaining oral health. By addressing denture cutting issues promptly, individuals can alleviate discomfort, prevent further gum irritation, and minimize the risk of complications such as oral infections.
Keep in mind that many individuals have reported positive experiences and improved satisfaction with their dentures after addressing initial problems. They have found that properly fitting dentures that are routinely adjusted through annual checkups or even during same-day repairs for emergency cases can enhance their ability to eat comfortably, speak clearly, and regain confidence in their appearance.
These positive outcomes contribute to an improved overall quality of life, allowing individuals to enjoy social interactions, maintain a nutritious diet, and experience increased self-esteem.