Epulis Fissuratum: Are Your Dentures Causing Sores?

Dentures can make a huge difference in your quality of life—they can, quite literally, let you smile naturally again after losing your natural teeth. But one of the most common complaints amongst people with dentures is discomfort due to improper fit. If not fixed by having the dentures refitted, this can quickly lead to sores forming in the mouth. If you have oral sores, don't assume that this is a normal part of the adjustment to dentures, like breaking in stiff shoes.

In fact, a denture sore can develop into a lesion called an "epulis" or "epulis fissuratum." So how can you tell if you have these lesions—and what should you do if you think you might? Since other causes of oral lesions include oral cancer, it's important not to procrastinate about diagnosing and treating oral sores. And while an epulis caused by poor denture fit isn't a life-threatening issue, it can cause eating to become painful, even leading to malnutrition.

How Can You Spot Sores?

If you've been having oral pain, take a look at your mouth in the mirror. Lesions are usually swollen, discolored areas—technically, they are small oral tumors, so look for any lumps. As the name "fissuratum" implies, these lesions often have a fissure down the center of them. However, any lumps, ulcers, or sores are cause to see your dentist.

It's also possible, although more rare, to have lesions without pain. If you're noticing other symptoms of ill-fitting dentures, such as difficulty chewing or dentures slipping or becoming loose during the day, you should talk to your dentist right away. He or she will be able to find any existing sores, and fixing the fit of your dentures will ensure that you don't form any in the future.

What Should You Do If You Find Sores?

If you notice sores in your mouth, remove your dentures so that they don't further irritate the area. While this won't fix the condition, it will prevent it from getting any worse. The next step is to make an appointment with your dentist (such as Pitts Patrick M). He or she can examine your lesions to determine their cause—most likely your dentures.

Getting an epulis fixed is a two-step process. The lesion must first be removed, and then future lesions must be prevented. Your dentist will most likely refer you to an oral surgeon for the first step. Lesions can be removed with a scalpel or through laser surgery—a minor outpatient procedure.

Your dentist will then want to work with you on correcting the fit of your dentures. With properly-fitted dentures, you will soon be able to talk, eat, and smile without pain or the worry and embarrassment of shifting teeth.