Denture allergy, irritation, pain and other denture problems

Is your denture giving you pain or discomfort? Of the estimated 35 million denture wearers in the United States, rest assured you’re not alone. Many people have experienced discomfort, irritation, pain, inflammation, burning mouth or even allergic reactions from wearing dentures. The bad news may be that your denture is causing you trouble. The good news is that it can be fixed. Dentures should not cause you pain – if a denture is hurting you, something is wrong.

The bad news may be that your denture is causing you trouble. The good news is that it can be fixed. Dentures should not cause you pain – if a denture is hurting you, something is wrong.

A bad fit

The most common complaints of denture pain happen when a denture doesn’t fit right. As it moves around in the mouth, it bumps against the gums and tender tissue in the oral mucosa. Over time it can get really unpleasant, causing many denture wearers to rely on adhesives and denture creams to help keep their dentures in place. However, a denture that truly fits shouldn’t require the use of adhesive.

  • If your denture is new, yet after a few weeks it still doesn’t seem to right, don’t suffer in silence; have your dentist provide you with a denture that fits
  • If your denture is a couple years old and doesn’t fit like it used to, your dentist can have it relined with heat cured acrylic
  • If your denture is over five years old, it’s time to have it replaced, not just for fit and aesthetics but for sanitary and safety reasons

There are a number of other reasons that dentures may elicit irritation or discomfort. Some problems are well-known and others less so.

“Acrylic resin dentures have the potential to elicit irritation, inflammation, and an allergic response of the oral mucosa” (Tsuchiya et al., 1994).

“[A]crylic denture bases contain residual monomer which may cause some side effects such as hypersensitivity of oral tissues… Many studies have found that substances leached out from acrylic resin can cause irritation of oral tissue, inflammation, or even an allergic reaction…” (Golbidi and Asghari, 2009).

Irritation

Irritation is a broad topic. It doesn’t just mean getting annoyed (ha ha!). It is a problem mentioned with some regularity in studies on dentures. Irritation can have a number of causes. A possible culprit leading to irritation could be residual substances leaching from the denture. Toxic and allergenic substances have been shown to have the ability to leach from resin-based dentures and into the mouth. Methyl methacrylate (MMA) and formaldehyde are known irritants that may elute out of conventional resin-based dentures. Irritation can be a local effect resulting in oral discomfort for the denture wearer.

Burning mouth

Some people have described a sensation of burning in the mouth. Burning Mouth Syndrome is characterized by an oral burning sensation in the absence of any organic disorders of the oral cavity, and its cause is unknown. However, some studies have linked cases of burning mouth to the leachable substances in dentures. Purello-D’Ambrosio et al. (2000) linked a case of burning mouth syndrome to cadmium in a denture; in another study regarding a patient’s report of burning mouth in Feilzer (2009), “In this case, ultimately the complaint could be solved by eliminating exposure to possible allergenic components of denture base resins.” There is a difference between a sensation of burning mouth, and an actual diagnosis of Burning Mouth Syndrome. In either case, it is recommended to see your dentist and possibly an allergist in order to discover its etiology.

Inflammation

Inflammation can be incredibly uncomfortable. It can also be quite vexing if the cause is not immediately apparent. In many cases, inflammation of the mouth and lips is referred to as stomatitis. If it is ultimately found to be related to the denture one wears, it’s called denture stomatitis. According to Tsuchiya et al. (1993), “Formaldehyde is responsible for allergic inflammation in acrylic denture wearers.”

Denture Stomatitis 

Incidences of denture-related stomatitis have shown many different causes. In Anil et al. (2000), the combination of MMA and formaldehyde were shown to “synergistically promote microbial proliferation and cause stomatitis” (qtd. in Bhola et al., 2009). “Allergic reactions to… resin-based dental materials have been reported. These reactions are mainly denture stomatitis due to allergy to polymethyl methacrylate denture base material” (Moharamzadeh et al., 2009). In another study, Allergic Contact Stomatitis Caused by Acrylic Monomer in a Denture, Koutis and Freeman (2001) state, “While allergy to acrylates is a rare cause of stomatitis, this possibility must be considered in patients presenting with oral symptoms.”

Allergy

Colloquially, people may refer to negative reactions as evidence of allergy, but clinical allergy requires testing before a diagnosis can be given. Unfortunately for many, it’s not well known that dentures have the ability to leach cytotoxic and allergenic substances. As a result, many denture wearers suffer without knowing the cause. MMA that leaches from dental acrylic is “the most significant allergen for patients” among other substances, but “it is important to recognize that basically all components of PMMA resins [denture base material] are allergenic” (Geurtsen, 2009). If your denture is causing you problems beyond mere fit, there is a possibility that residual substances leaching out of the denture are to blame.

  • If your denture is giving you pain, discomfort, irritation, burning mouth, inflammation, stomatitis, etc., talk to your dentist
  • If you suspect you may have an allergy to substances leaching from your denture, ask your dentist about alternative materials that may alleviate your symptoms
  • If you are concerned about the toxins and allergens that have been shown to leach from resin-based dentures, consider detoxifying your denture.

It’s an unfortunate fact that typical resin-based dentures have the ability to leach residual substances like toxins, allergens and irritants. Whether we like it or not, “[w]earing dental acrylic prosthesis causes adverse reactions to oral tissues due to bioactive leachables from resins” (Çelebi et al., 2008). But that doesn’t mean denture wearers have to suffer. Be proactive and take steps to alleviate any pain, discomfort, or concerns you may have.

For further information on denture problems and how to safeguard your health, check out our Free Report on Denture Toxicity.

Pure Cure Dental Technology is the creator of Denture Detox, the first product to help remove toxins and allergens from dentures, and the author of the Free Report on Denture Toxicity. We invite any questions you may have about dentures, the issue of denture toxicity, or denture health in general. 

By Melissa Mesku 

Scientific studies referenced in this blog post can be found in the bibliography of our Free Report on Denture Toxicity.