How to avoid your dentures from hurting

Almost one in ten Americans – largely seniors – wears dentures, and if you wear one of these removable dental appliances, it’s important to know how to take care of them.

Proper maintenance of your dentures includes:

•    Rinsing before brushing
•    Using a soft-bristle brush with non-abrasive cleansers
•    Cleaning your mouth thoroughly to remove plaque with a soft-bristle brush
•    Keeping dentures in water when they aren’t in use
•    Using adhesives correctly and consulting your dentist for recommendations

Despite following basic care instructions, dentures still can cause some discomfort. Adhesives have become popular among denture wearers and help to alleviate most of the pain and irritation that can be caused from shifting while chewing.

According to the FDA, dentures that are “properly fitted and maintained should not require the use of denture adhesives,” but as shrinkage occurs in the bone structure the dentures become increasingly more loose. The adhesives are used to fill in areas caused by shrinking of the bone structure and offer only temporary relief from loose dentures.

Dentures are designed to resemble natural teethThe best way to steer clear of pain involving your dentures is to continuously follow up with your dentist. Dentures are only made to last 3 to 5 years and need to be replaced within this time frame. Your dentist can also help you evaluate whether or not there are other options outside of full dentures. For instance, perhaps an implant over denture, which fits over your existing natural teeth, and is prepared by your dentist, would be a better option for you.

If dentures are your only option, your dentist can insert a soft silicone liner on your lower dentures, which acts as a cushion. Tissue conditioners are also another way your dentist can help alleviate some of that pain to take some pressure off of your teeth.

Your dentures may also not be your whole problem when it comes to pain. Perhaps you’re trying to eat foods that really shouldn’t be eaten when wearing dentures.

Some foods that you should avoid include:

•    Large pieces of meat, poultry and fish (these should be cut into smaller bites for less chewing)
•    Nuts
•    Popcorn kernels
•    Raw fruits (i.e. apples and pears)
•    Candy
•    Corn on the cob
•    Sticky substances (i.e. gum, taffy, caramel)

Even some vegetables will be better to chew if they are cut into smaller pieces to decrease the amount of chewing that is required.

Rory Mycek is a guest contributor from