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What is a denture reline?

May 15, 2023Dentures, Oral health

What is a denture reline?

A dentist may mention a “reline” when discussing dentures. This term refers to a coating that is applied to the inner surface of a denture where it rests on the gums. By applying this lining, the fitting surface of the denture can be improved and enhance its retention. Generally, there are three types of relines available for full and partial dentures: Hard Reline, Soft Reline, and Temporary Reline.

Soft denture reline

Soft relines are recommended for dental patients who experience soreness or sensitivity in their gum tissue, as they provide an opportunity to gradually adjust to wearing dentures. A spongy coating applied to the inner surface of dentures helps protect the gums and mouth from the pressures incurred during biting and chewing, aiding in their healing process, thereby reducing the chance of further gum irritation or ulcer formation.

Soft relines are often recommended for patients with dentures, especially for those who are new to wearing them and have an accelerated rate of bone loss. This dental procedure is generally more comfortable for the patient. A professional dental reline utilizing liquid polymer can be administered at a dentist’s office. The patient is invited to provide feedback on how the denture feels after the procedure, thus assisting the dentist in ensuring a secure fit.

Soft relines can be quickly and conveniently completed in an office visit. Conveniently, the patient does not need to wait for their dentures to return from a lab. Nevertheless, it is important to note that soft relines require more frequent relining due to the material used.

Hard denture reline

It is recommended that hard relines be performed every two to three years in order to maintain a proper denture fit between the denture’s base surface and the topographical shape of the patient’s mouth, thus preserving the structural integrity of the denture and extending its lifespan.

Hard denture relines are typically composed of a more durable material than soft relines, and the basic process for both is similar. However, hard relines can last significantly longer than soft reline and can be completed in the dental office.

Many dentists recommend using a laboratory to ensure quality material is used in the relining process. However, some patients may experience discomfort with hard relines due to their sensitive gums, resulting in sore spots.

Temporary Reline

A temporary reline may be recommended to provide a cushioning layer between the gums and dentures, allowing for healing of sore spots or inflamed tissues. In some cases, poor maintenance of the denture may lead to abraded gum tissue, necessitating a temporary reline. The majority of temporary denture relines are performed to promote healing of gum tissue after teeth extraction and immediate denture insertion. A hard reline is typically applied within 1-6 months post-immediate denture insertion.


Why is a denture reline necessary?

When a tooth is completely extracted, the supporting bone that encased its root begins to resorb. As the tooth is no longer present, the body redirects the resources previously allocated to this area of the jawbone.

As time progresses, the loss of bone resulting from dentures can alter the shape of the jaw and gum line. The fit of these dentures will become increasingly looser, and eventually may start to slip off; this tendency often begins shortly after a natural teeth are extracted. As the shape of a patient’s mouth changes over time, dentures may require another reline in order to provide the patient with a tight fit. This process is necessary for the duration of the patient’s lifetime, as the mouth continues to shift and change.


How Do You Know If You Need a Denture Repair or Denture Reline?

If you are experiencing changes in the fit, comfort level, speech, or functioning of your dentures, it is a good idea to contact your denture care provider to discuss the possibility of relining your dentures or performing repairs.

Signs that your dentures may need to be repaired or relined include:

  • Dental prosthetics no longer fit as comfortably as they initially did.
  • Slipping dentures.
  • Slurred or whistling speech.
  • Difficulty eating foods that you could previously consume without any issues.
  • Visible cracks or damage to the denture.
  • Darkened areas that catch debris.
  • Stains that are not removable using standard cleaning methods.
  • Chronic sore spots inside the mouth.
  • General discomfort wearing your dentures.

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