July 13, 2023
Dentures today are more secure, comfortable, and natural-looking than they have ever been before. However, the jaw will change as it ages and develops, making adjustments to the dentures necessary. For people who wear dentures, these adjustments can include a denture reline. Read on to learn more about this process and what to expect from it.
How Does the Jaw Change?
After tooth loss, the jaw almost immediately begins to change. The bone that was once used to support teeth no longer receives the exercise it needs to remain strong, and it will begin to atrophy in a process called resorption. The course this takes is predictable, but as it progresses it can alter the way dentures fit inside the mouth.
What Is a Denture Reline?
A denture reline involves adjusting the fit by padding out the denture’s contact points with the gums. This allows dentures to continue to fit properly in the mouth. There are two types of denture relining:
Soft relines can often be done in one day and usually work well for patients for whom hard materials are not a good fit because of tenderness. This is usually for the recovery period after oral surgery. It is typically used immediately after patients undergo surgery to receive dentures. The reline material is soft to protect the surgical site and provide a comfortable fit. It can also be used for partial dentures following dental implant procedures.
Typically recommended every two years, hard relines are used to reinforce the rigid denture structure due to the changing gums and jaw. The dentist marks changes with a temporary putty while a new acrylic denture is manufactured for better fit and comfort. This is typically used only when the mouth is healthy enough to accommodate the hard acrylic materials in the dentures. The process can take one or two days.
How Do I Know I Need a Reline?
Dentures wear out over time. They are subject to cracks, fractures, and wear on the chewing surfaces and points of contact with the gums. Improper denture care and hygiene also erode their lifespan. Poorly fitting dentures can result in the following symptoms:
- Loose feeling
- Loss of grip
- Sores or irritation of the gums
All of these are signs that your dentures may need relining.
After receiving a reline, you should give them proper care. This includes brushing twice daily with an approved cleaning agent, storing dentures in water overnight, a weekly deep cleaning soak, and a weekly examination for warping or corrosion.
Occasional relining keeps your mouth healthy and your dentures comfortable. With proper care and regular maintenance, your dentures will continue to look great and serve you well for the foreseeable future.
About the Author
Dr. John T. Thompson received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the Baylor College of Dentistry in 1985. He is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, placing him in the top 7% of all dentists. He is also a member of the American Academy of Dental Practice and the Texas Dental Association. His practice provides preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dental services including dentures. If you’re interested having your dentures relined, contact him online or at (361) 242-3151.
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