By David Hudnall, DMD
If you’re considering getting dentures, you probably have many questions about the process and their general maintenance. From how to clean them to what to do if they don’t fit comfortably, you’ll want to establish a routine to keep your dentures in top condition. While many people believe that getting dentures is a one-and-done procedure, regular maintenance is required if you expect your dentures to serve you well into the future.
Denture relines are one of the more common and important aspects of denture maintenance. How often do dentures need to be relined? Continue reading to learn vital information about relining dentures.
What Is Denture Realignment?
Realignment is a term that does not exist in dentistry. The Cambridge Dictionary defines realignment as “the process of changing your ideas or policies so that they are the same as those of another person or group.” Many people also mistakenly use the term “aligned” and say something like “I need to get my denture aligned,” which is a procedure done to the tires on your car to help them wear evenly. What do either of these terms have to do with dentures? Absolutely nothing, and neither term is correct. The correct name for the dental procedure is “reline,” which means to add a new lining. And that is exactly what the dentist does when a denture is relined.
So, why would someone have a denture reline performed? A reline is the process of adding new material to the inside surface of a denture. A reline aims to improve the fit of the denture by filling in the gaps where it no longer makes intimate contact with the gum tissue.
Denture Reline Procedure
A denture reline is one part of the routine maintenance necessary for keeping removable dentures functioning properly, also included is seeing a dentist regularly, addressing new missing teeth, and regular cleanings. However, depending upon the reline material used, the procedure can often be performed within one day, so you’ll get back to wearing dentures that same evening.
The first step to getting your dentures relined is an evaluation of your dentures or partials by a dental professional. They’ll determine if a reline is likely to address the issues that you are experiencing. Sometimes, dentures begin to feel loose, and a simple adjustment will improve the fit dramatically. But if your well-fitting denture has gradually become less snug over a long period of time and you find yourself wearing denture adhesives to improve security, a reline may be a solution.
Types of Denture Relines
Not all denture relines are the same. There are a variety of procedures and reline materials that can be used to achieve different goals. Patients who have lost weight may be able to extend the life of their dentures with a reline. Sometimes relines can offer a short-term, temporary fix while healing from dental extractions or implant placement to buy yourself time before getting a final appliance that fits correctly.
Relines are broken into several categories, including:
- Hard Reline Material versus Soft Reline Material
- Temporary Reline versus Semi-permanent Relines
- Chairside versus Laboratory-Processed Relines
Within each of these categories, there are multiple combinations. In other words, it’s possible to perform a semi-permanent hard reline using a chairside method. Chairside relines, where reline material is directly added to the inside of the denture and is allowed to harden in the mouth, allow patients to experience the benefits of a reline without being without their dentures for any period of time. But there is a trade-off. In general, a dental laboratory-processed reline that requires taking an impression inside of your existing denture lasts longer, has fewer imperfections, and more closely restores the denture to its original condition.
Soft Reline Procedure
A soft denture reline not only fills the gaps where the gums have changed but also cushions the soft tissues with which it comes in contact. While this type of reline may sound great, it is not for everyone. It can be especially beneficial for patients with very thin, sensitive gums that are susceptible to pressure and irritation. Chairside soft relining can be a temporary solution, while a lab-processed soft reline can last longer.
In either case, soft relines have a relatively short lifespan, and special care must be taken to clean them. Soaking a denture with a soft reline in commercial denture cleaning solutions will shorten the life of the reline and ruin its cushiony texture. A brush can also cause damage to the soft reline material.
Hard Reline Procedure
A hard reline is the standard type of reline dentures that is beneficial to most denture patients. It fills in gaps with acrylic material most similar to the denture base, creating a seamless appearance. With a hard reline, you can clean your denture using the standard methods recommended for cleaning new dentures. A hard reline is less susceptible to denture wear and tear, but it may be a poor choice for patients with more sensitive gums.
Benefits of Relining Dentures
No matter the type of reline, the goal of denture relining is to compensate for bone and tissue changes, improve ill fitting dentures, increase comfort, and make the denture less likely to cause sores or tissue irritation. Extending the life of your dentures is an added bonus, provided that the denture acrylic is in good condition and the denture teeth don’t show signs of excessive wear.
How Often Should You Reline Your Dentures?
Patients who wear dentures should see their dental professional at least once every year since dentures require more maintenance than natural teeth. This allows the dentist to catch and address any issues before they become a bigger problem. In general, dentures are relined every one to two years. But this is different for every patient depending upon how much the gum tissue and bone structure have changed.
Relines don’t last forever – the durable material does wear out with time. If you find your denture becoming loose repeatedly, it’s time to consider a new denture. While a reline costs less than purchasing new dentures, relining dentures more than twice usually has diminishing returns. You are investing money into an old denture with a finite lifespan that no longer serves your needs.
Top Denture Relines with European Denture Center
Let the caring professionals at European Denture Center guide you to the correct denture maintenance procedure. The right procedure will address your concerns while keeping your budget in mind. Many patients believe if their denture is loose, they need a reline. This could be – but not necessarily. Good dental professionals will determine the reason why your denture isn’t fitting optimally and offer the appropriate treatment to solve the problem.
There’s really no reason to put up with dentures that you can’t comfortably wear. Make your consultation appointment today to find the best course of action for your specific situation!