Dentistry
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Updated on December 14, 2022
6 min read

When is a Denture Reline Necessary? 

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Dentures are prosthetic teeth and gums that can be placed in the mouth. They cover the area of missing teeth, restore the mouth’s function, and improve facial aesthetics.

With dentures, you’ll have an easier time eating, speaking, smiling, and laughing confidently. However, they must be periodically relined because your mouth naturally changes over time. Your dentures should be relined if they break, crack, chip, or start to feel loose.

You should also ask dental professionals about relining your dentures if you develop sore spots.

removable full denture lower jaw

What is a Denture Reline?

A denture reline involves adding material to the inside of your dentures. This helps the denture adapt to your mouth better as your jaw bone and gum tissue change. 

Here are some benefits of a denture reline:

  • Can help you talk and eat better because your dentures will fit more comfortably 
  • Promotes dental hygiene since your dentures won’t trap food underneath
  • Won’t cause sores that can be painful and lead to infections

3 Types of Denture Relines

There are three different types of denture relines available (depending on your needs):

1. Hard Reline

If you have a full set of dentures, you may need a new hard reline periodically.

Your dentist will roughen some of the acrylic inside your dentures. They’ll use putty inside of your dentures to make an impression of your mouth. Then, a dental laboratory will replace the putty with acrylic. 

A hard reline can last up to a few years. But, you should keep up with your regular dental visits in case more frequent relines are needed depending on your individual situation. 

2. Soft Reline

If your tissue is too tender and you get sores from your dentures, you may need a soft denture reline.

In this case, your dentist can reline your dentures with a more comfortable, pliable material like wax or rubber (instead of acrylic). 

A soft reline may not last as long as a hard reline. The soft reline material is also more porous, so it’s more likely to develop stains and collect plaque. This means it may become smelly over time. 

A soft reline does not last as long as a hard reline. 

3. Temporary Reline

You may need a temporary reline if you have gone too long without servicing your dentures. You may have very sore gums in this case.

Your dentist will have to reline your dentures with a medicated tissue conditioner to help reduce the inflammation of your gums.

A temporary reline is only meant to last a few weeks while you heal. After you heal, you’ll need a permanent solution. You’ll return to your dentist’s office for a new set of dentures or a hard reline.

How Do Dentists Reline Dentures?

The denture reline process differs depending on the type of reline you get.

Generally, laboratory relines work like this:

  1. Your dentist will use your dentures to make an impression of your mouth with putty
  2. Your dentist will then send your dentures to a laboratory to add acrylic material to the inside of your denture
  3. The dentist will refit the dentures to your mouth

If you’ve had a soft or temporary reline completed chairside, you’ll wait for your mouth to heal. Then you’ll revisit your dentist for a hard reline and repeat steps one to three.

Your dentures typically last a few years, depending on the type that you get. It’s important to visit your dentist regularly to ensure that your dentures still fit correctly.

How Often Should Dentures Be Relined?

Your dentures should be relined once every few years. The frequency depends on the type of dentures you have, the reline you need, and your unique situation.

Hard relines typically last longer than soft relines. Again, check in with your dentist periodically, so your dentures still fit comfortably.

To make your dentures last longer, take good care of them. Brush them with dish soap and a denture brush (like you would brush your natural teeth). Soaking your dentures with cleaning tablets also helps them stay clean.

The key is to be careful with your dentures so that they stay intact as much as possible. The better you care for them, the longer they’ll last, and the less often you’ll need to reline or replace them. 

How Much Do Denture Relines Cost?

While relining your dentures costs less than replacing them, relining comes at a price. The cost also depends on the type of reline you get.

  • Hard relines cost about $350 to $900
  • Soft relines cost about $200 to $500

Talk to your dental insurance provider to see whether or not your insurance plan covers denture relines. If so, it could help shave off some of the price.

When Should You Replace Dentures Instead?

You may need to entirely replace your dentures if:

  • They break beyond repair 
  • Your mouth significantly changes
  • They are already too old

Your dentures should last you several years with relining. But your mouth changes over time, and your dentures can loosen.

This can become uncomfortable or even painful. It can also lead to sores and infections. Therefore, replacing old dentures as soon as possible before they cause dental issues is important.

Summary

Dentures can eventually lose their shape and fit. When this happens, you may need to have your dentures relined. 

The type of denture reline you need usually depends on the condition of your dentures. Talk to your dentist to find out what options are available to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about denture relining:

Can you reline dentures at home?

You should not reline dentures at home. While DIY denture reline kits exist, the procedure is best left to your dentist. Otherwise, you can experience significant bite changes that make your dentures unusable.

What is the difference between a hard reline and a soft reline?

A hard and soft reline will change the inside of your dentures. Key differences between the two types of relines include: 

Hard relines are for people who do not have sensitive or sore gums. Meanwhile, soft relines are for people who do have sensitive or sore gums.

A hard reline uses acrylic; a soft reline uses a pliable material similar to wax or rubber. Hard relines typically last longer than soft relines.

How long does a denture reline take?

A denture reline is a generally quick process. If you need a soft reline, it can be done in just a few minutes at your dentist’s office.

For a hard reline, your dentist must send your dentures and impressions to a lab. This can take one to two days.

If you need a temporary reline, the process will take a few weeks. You will wear the temporarily medicated dentures while your mouth heals. Once it does, you will have to revisit your dentist for another reline or to replace your denture.

Last updated on December 14, 2022
7 Sources Cited
Last updated on December 14, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
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  3. “Dentures.” American Dental Association.
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  5. Haywood J, Basker RM, Watson CJ, Wood DJ. “A comparison of three hard chairside denture reline materials. Part I. Clinical evaluation.” The European Journal of Prosthodontics and Restorative Dentistry, 2003.
  6. “What is a Denture Reline? Soft vs Hard vs Temporary” Nava Dental.
  7. Complete Denture.” Complete Denture - an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics, 2017.
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