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Updated on October 3, 2022

Denture Reline

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What are Dentures?

Dentures are prosthetic teeth that are placed in your mouth to cover up the area of missing teeth. They restore your mouth’s function and facial aesthetics.

With dentures, you’ll have an easier time eating, speaking, smiling, and laughing with confidence. 

removable full denture lower jaw

You may need dentures if you’ve had an injury that resulted in tooth loss. Or you may need dentures if you have severe tooth decay and/or gum disease that caused an infection and tooth loss.

There are various types of dentures for different situations.

Some dentures are permanently glued into your mouth, and some are removable. Some dentures fit your whole mouth, and some are only partial.

Full dentures are best if you are missing many or all of your natural teeth. If you only need to replace a few missing teeth, partial dentures may be better.

Overdentures are another option. They are implant-supported dentures that snap onto implants. Dental implants hold them in place. Your oral surgeon screws the implants into your jawbone to stabilize them.

Your dentist or prosthodontist will walk you through the best dentures for your oral health needs.

What is a Denture Reline?

If you wear dentures, you’ll likely need a denture reline at some point. 

A denture reline adjusts the dentures to fit your mouth as your jaw bone and gum tissue naturally change. Your dentist will add new material to the underside of the denture base so it fits your gums properly. 

A denture reline is beneficial because it can help you to function better. When you get your dentures relined, they’ll fit more comfortably. And when they fit more comfortably, you will have an easier time talking and eating.

Denture relines also help promote dental hygiene. Well-fitting dentures are better for you because they won’t cause sores that can lead to infections, and they won't trap food underneath. 

Why Do Dentures Need to be Relined?

Dentures need to be relined because your mouth naturally changes over time. You should have your dentures relined if they break, crack, chip, or start to feel loose.

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

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 remove some of the acrylic from the inside of your dentures. They’ll use putty to make an impression where your dentures make contact with tissues in 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 needs.

2. Soft Reline

If your tissue is too tender and you are getting 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. In addition, the soft reline material is more porous and therefore more likely to develop stain and collect plaque. Thus, it may become malodorous over time.

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 material 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.

Denture Reline Procedure Steps

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

Generally, it works like this:

  1. Your dentist will take an impression of your mouth with putty.
  2. Your dentist will then use the putty to create a new underside base for your dentures.
  3. The dentist will refit the dentures to your mouth.
  4. If you’ve had a temporary reline, 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 make sure that your dentures still fit correctly.

How Often Should Dentures be Relined?

Your dentures should be relined once every few years. How often depends on the type of dentures you have and the reline you need.

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

To make your dentures last longer, make sure to take good care of them. Brush them 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 care you take of them, the longer they will last. And the less often you’ll need to reline or replace them. 

When Should You Replace Dentures Instead?

You may need to entirely replace your dentures if they break beyond repair or your mouth significantly changes.

You may also choose to replace them if they are old.

Your dentures should last you several years with relining. But, over time, your mouth changes. Your bone and gum ridges can shrink, or resorb, over time.

When this happens, your dentures can come loose, which can become uncomfortable or even painful. It can also lead to sores and infections. Therefore, it’s important to replace old dentures as soon as possible before they cause dental issues.

How Much Do Denture Relines Cost?

Dentures are not cheap, and neither are relines. While relining your dentures costs less than replacing them, relining comes at a price.

Denture relines cost a couple hundred dollars, depending on the type you get. Hard relines tend to cost more than soft relines, ranging from about $350 to $900 and $200 to $500, respectively. 

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.

Denture Reline: FAQs

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 there are DIY denture reline kits that you can use, the procedure is best left to your dentist. Otherwise, you can experience significant bite changes that make your dentures unusable.

Your dentist will have to take an impression of your mouth to reline the dentures with either a hard or soft material. If you need a temporary reline, your dentist will need to use a specific medicated material.

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

Both a hard reline and a soft reline will readjust your dentures. But there are some key differences between the two types of relines. 

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 a little 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 will need to send your dentures and impression 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.

6 Sources Cited
Last updated on October 3, 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).
  1. Dentalhealthorg. “Dentures.” Oral Health Foundation, www.dentalhealth.org/dentures
  2. “Dentures.” American Dental Association, https://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Publications/Files/ADA_PatientSmart_Dentures.pdf?la=en
  3. Denture Care and Maintenance, https://www.ada.org/resources/research/science-and-research-institute/oral-health-topics/dentures
  4. “Does Dental Insurance Cover Dentures?” Guardian Direct, www.guardiandirect.com/resources/articles/does-dental-insurance-cover-dentures.
  5. Europe PMC, A Comparison of Three Hard Chairside Denture Reline Materials. Part I. Clinical Evaluation., europepmc.org/article/med/14737792
  6. “What is a Denture Reline? Soft vs Hard vs Temporary” Nava Dental, https://navadental.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Denture-Reline.pdf.
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