Denture Reline

What are Dentures?

Dentures are prosthetic teeth that you can have placed in your mouth to cover up missing teeth. They restore your mouth’s function and facial aesthetics. With dentures, you’ll have an easier time eating and speaking, as well as 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 that caused an infection and tooth loss. There are various types of dentures for different situations.

Some dentures are permanent, and some are removable. Some dentures fit your whole mouth, and some are only partial. If you are missing many or all of your natural teeth, full dentures are best. If you only need to replace a few missing teeth, partial dentures may be a better option.

Overdentures are another option. They are implant-supported dentures that sit at the top of your gums. 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 reline 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.

Because denture relines make sure that your dentures fit well, they also help promote dental hygiene. Well-fitting dentures are better for you because they won’t cause sores that can lead to infections. 

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 will need a hard reline about once every two years. Your dentist will remove some of the plastic from the inside of your dentures. They’ll use putty to make an impression where your dentures make contact with your mouth tissue. Then the dentist will replace the putty with acrylic to create a hard denture set. 

A hard reline will likely last about two years. You should keep up regular visits to your dentist’s office to be sure.

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 will last for a year or two, so you will need more adjustments. 

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 another reline. 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.

A hard reline lasts about two years. But a soft reline lasts about a year or two. 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 in warm water can also help them retain their shape.

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 if your mouth significantly changes. You may also choose to replace them if they are old. Typically, a well-kept pair of dentures can last about ten years. 

Your dentures should last you several years with relining. But, over time, your mouth changes. Your bone and gum ridges can shrink up. This can cause your jaw to close differently.

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. 

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. While a hard reline uses acrylic, a soft reline uses a pliable material like 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.

Resources

Dentalhealthorg. “Dentures.” Oral Health Foundation, www.dentalhealth.org/dentures

“Dentures.” American Dental Association, https://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Publications/Files/ADA_PatientSmart_Dentures.pdf?la=en

Denture Care and Maintenance, www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/dentures

“Does Dental Insurance Cover Dentures?” Guardian Direct, www.guardiandirect.com/resources/articles/does-dental-insurance-cover-dentures.

Europe PMC, A Comparison of Three Hard Chairside Denture Reline Materials. Part I. Clinical Evaluation., europepmc.org/article/med/14737792

“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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