Q: I recently had my upper dentures replaced by a beautiful Valplast partial, however, my entire upper mouth is very sore. It feels as if the partial is squeezing my mouth in a vise. How come? My dentist smoothed one spot but the soreness is overall and even with my old partial inserted the soreness remains. What can I do to ease the pain until my dentist can see me again? Thank you for any advice you can provide. – Mary B.
A: Mary, There are two reasons your mouth could be sore. First, some background information about how Valplast works so that you can better work with your dentist to find the root cause of the issue and resolve the pain.
Valplast is a wonderful material that is known for being non invasive, comfortable, aesthetic, and less costly than a partial metal denture. The material was developed by NASA many years ago and is extremely flexible and has a lifetime guarantee against fracture and breakage of the base ? it?s that strong. One of its great advantages is that it?s flexible, making it somewhat more forgiving than a metal partial denture. There are also no metal clasps visible when you smile.
Possibility #1: Improper Sizing of the Valplast is Causing Soreness
Your teeth might be sore due to the extreme flexibility of the Valplast partial. This type of soreness is marked by tenderness when pushing down and chewing or biting down. If the partial is slightly too large or too small, it will still fit, but will try to expand or shrink due to its elastic nature and create an orthodontic effect, making the teeth sore as if you had braces.
When the impression for the Valplast denture is taken, the impression has to be poured up in stone and if not done correctly, the model of your teeth that the Valplast is made from may be slightly too large or too small. If this is the case, then the Valplast denture itself will be too large or too small and may exert forces on the teeth, or, in the case of possibility #2, will cause gum soreness.
Possibility #2: Pressure Points on the Gums are Causing Soreness
The gums are sore due to pressure points caused by the Valplast denture. Your gums are responding to the gripping, elastic power of the Valplast and might not have gotten used to that grip yet. The Valplast partial may not be fitting correctly and may be causing pressure points in the gums.
The Valplast is designed to stretch and slip over the teeth but recoil into its home position once past the teeth and fit snugly around the teeth with no space between the roof of your mouth and the Valplast.
If the Valplast is making your teeth or gums sore, inserting the old partial will not take away the soreness. However, if the old partial does not fit as it used to, then your teeth have moved. Share this with your dentist if it’s the case because it gives insight into which possibility is the root cause of your pain.
Speak with your dentist about these two possibilities. The best thing to do is to use this information to try to quantify which issue is causing the problem and to convey this to your dentist.
Once you have settled in with your Valplast, it?s important to keep the Valplast soaking in distilled water while you sleep at night. I say distilled because regular tap water has chlorine, minerals, and other contaminants in it which can harm your Valplast denture.
In the meantime, frequent breaks from wearing the Valplast and warm salt water rinses will help ease the pain. A mild painkiller, like something you would usually take for your headache, can also help.
Hope this helps.
Mark Burhenne DDS