COVID SECURE SERVICE

Can Dentures Be Relined?

Millions of people around the world rely on dentures to replace missing teeth and restore their smiles. According to an adult oral health survey, roughly 3% of adults alone are missing all their natural teeth in one or both jaws. Dentures offer a practical solution, allowing individuals to eat, speak, and smile with confidence. However, a denture’s effectiveness hinges on a snug fit. One common question denture wearers have is whether their dentures can be relined.

Yes, dentures can be relined! Denture relining is a procedure that restores a comfortable and secure fit to loose dentures. This is important because loose dentures can cause discomfort, speech problems, and difficulty eating.

Imagine struggling to chew your favourite food because your dentures slip or click. Perhaps you avoid social gatherings due to the fear of your dentures coming loose mid-conversation. These are just some of the challenges associated with ill-fitting dentures. Here’s where the concept of denture relining comes in. Relining is a process that restores a comfortable and secure fit to your dentures, ensuring they function optimally and boost your confidence. Let’s delve deeper into why dentures might need relining and how this procedure can significantly improve your quality of life.

Why Dentures Need Relining

Even the most expertly crafted dentures require relining over time. This need arises from natural changes that occur in the mouth, affecting how your dentures fit.

Natural Changes in the Mouth 

  • Bone Resorption: Our jawbone is constantly adapting. After tooth loss, the bone that once supported those teeth begins to shrink (resorbed) due to lack of stimulation. This gradual bone resorption alters the shape of your jaw ridge, the foundation upon which your dentures rest. As the ridge shrinks, the fit of your dentures loosens, creating gaps and compromising stability.
  • Gum Tissue Changes: Just like bone, gum tissue also undergoes changes over time. Even with proper denture care, gums can naturally recede or become thinner. This reduction in gum tissue further contributes to a loose denture fit.

Impact of Improper Denture Fit

Loose dentures don’t just feel uncomfortable; they can significantly impact your daily life.

  • Discomfort and Sore Spots: Ill-fitting dentures rub against your gums and tissues, causing irritation and soreness. You might experience constant pain or develop pressure points that become uncomfortable throughout the day.
  • Speech Difficulties: Loose dentures can slip and move while you talk, affecting your speech clarity. You might slur your words or even whistle with each breath, impacting communication and confidence.
  • Eating Challenges: Chewing becomes a challenge when your dentures don’t fit securely. Food particles can get trapped under loose dentures, causing irritation and discomfort. Moreover, the inability to properly grind food can lead to digestive issues.
  • Potential Oral Health Issues: Loose dentures can create pockets where food debris and bacteria accumulate. This can increase the risk of infections, gum disease, and even oral thrush (fungal infection).

The Denture Relining Process

The good news is that a loose-fitting denture doesn’t have to spell the end of comfort and confidence. Denture relining offers a solution to restore a secure and comfortable fit.

Types of Denture Relines

There are two primary types of denture relines, each offering distinct advantages:

  • Soft Relines: These are temporary relines, typically made of a soft silicone material. They are ideal for individuals with sensitive gums that are prone to irritation from a hard reline material. Soft relines can be applied chairside by your dentist during a single appointment. However, they may need to be replaced more frequently (every few months to a year) compared to hard relines.
  • Hard Relines: These are permanent relines crafted from durable acrylic resin. They provide a long-lasting, secure fit and typically require relining less often (every few years). The process may involve sending your dentures to a dental lab for relining, leading to a slightly longer turnaround time compared to soft relines. However, hard relines offer superior strength and stability, making them suitable for most denture wearers.

Your dentist will discuss your specific needs and recommend the most appropriate type of reline for you.

What to Expect During a Reline Appointment

A denture reline appointment is a straightforward and relatively painless procedure. Here’s a general overview of what to expect:

  • Consultation: Your dentist will examine your dentures to assess the fit and identify any areas that need relining. They will also discuss your concerns and preferences, helping you choose between a soft or hard reline.
  • Preparing the Dentures: The dentist will gently remove a small amount of material from the inner surface of your dentures. This creates space for the relining material and ensures a snug fit.
  • Taking Impressions (Soft Reline): For a soft reline, your dentist might take impressions of your gums using a special paste. This impression ensures the relining material conforms to the exact contours of your gums.
  • Lab Work (Hard Reline): If opting for a hard reline, your dentist will send your dentures to a dental lab for relining. This usually takes a few days.
  • Fitting and Adjustments: Once the relining material is processed, your dentist will carefully fit the relined dentures back into your mouth. They will check for proper fit and make any necessary adjustments for optimal comfort and function.

Benefits of Denture Relining

Denture relining isn’t just about fixing a loose fit; it offers a multitude of benefits that can significantly enhance your quality of life.

  • Improved Comfort and Reduced Soreness: A secure and well-fitting denture feels comfortable throughout the day. Relining eliminates the constant rubbing and irritation caused by loose dentures, allowing you to enjoy pain-free wear.
  • Enhanced Chewing Ability and Clearer Speech: With a snug fit, your dentures function optimally. You can chew your food with confidence, ensuring proper digestion and better nutrient absorption. Additionally, the improved stability eliminates slipping and movement, allowing for clearer and more confident speech.
  • Increased Confidence When Eating and Speaking in Public: Loose dentures can be a source of anxiety, especially in social settings. Relining ensures your dentures stay securely in place, allowing you to enjoy meals and conversations without worrying about slippage or embarrassing clicks.
  • Prolonged Lifespan of Dentures (Saves Money on Replacements): Relining helps preserve your existing dentures by correcting the fit and preventing further damage caused by looseness. This translates to significant cost savings compared to the expense of replacing dentures entirely.

Alternatives to Denture Relining

While denture relining is a highly effective solution for most cases of loose dentures, there are situations where it might not be the best option.

  • Significant Wear and Damage: If your dentures are excessively worn, cracked, or warped, relining might not be sufficient to restore a proper fit and function. In such cases, your dentist might recommend a complete denture replacement.
  • Limited Bone Support: Over time, significant bone resorption can leave very little jawbone ridge for dentures to grip onto. In these cases, relining might not provide adequate stability.

An alternative solution for improved stability and long-term comfort is implant-supported dentures. Dental implants are tiny titanium screws surgically placed in the jawbone. These implants act as anchors for dentures, providing exceptional stability and mimicking the function of natural teeth.

Implant-supported dentures offer numerous advantages:

  • Enhanced Stability: Implants prevent dentures from slipping or clicking, allowing you to eat and speak with confidence.
  • Improved Bone Health: Dental implants stimulate the jawbone, preventing further bone resorption and maintaining facial structure.
  • Durability: Implant-supported dentures are highly durable and can last for many years with proper care.

If you’re experiencing significant issues with denture fit or are concerned about bone loss, discuss the possibility of implant-supported dentures with your dentist. They can assess your individual needs and determine if this option is right for you.

Conclusion

Denture relining is a vital procedure for maintaining a comfortable and secure fit for your dentures. It not only alleviates discomfort and improves speech and chewing, but also boosts your confidence and helps extend the lifespan of your dentures. Remember, regular dental checkups are essential for monitoring denture fit and discussing relining needs. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your dentist to ensure your dentures continue to function optimally and allow you to smile with confidence.

FAQs

Can I reline my dentures at home?

It’s strongly discouraged to reline dentures at home. DIY reline kits often use materials that aren’t as durable or biocompatible as those used by dentists. Improper relining can lead to a poor fit, further damaging your dentures and potentially causing irritation to your gums. Always trust a qualified dentist for denture relining to ensure a safe and effective procedure.

How long does a denture reline typically last?

The lifespan of a denture reline depends on the type used and your individual oral health. Soft relines typically last 3-12 months, while hard relines can last for several years (3-5+). Factors like how often you use denture adhesives and your chewing habits can also influence reline longevity. Regular dental checkups allow your dentist to monitor the reline and recommend when it’s time for a replacement.

What are the signs I need a denture reline?

Several signs indicate the need for a denture reline:

  • Loose dentures that slip or click when you talk or eat.
  • Difficulty chewing food due to poor denture fit.
  • Sore spots or irritation on your gums caused by rubbing dentures.
  • Increased reliance on denture adhesive to maintain fit.
  • Speech difficulties like slurring or whistling sounds.

If you experience any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss relining options.

Will my insurance cover denture relining?

Dental insurance coverage for denture relining varies depending on your specific plan. Some plans may offer partial coverage for relining, while others might exclude it entirely. It’s best to contact your insurance provider to understand your specific coverage details.

What happens if I don’t get my dentures relined?

Leaving loose dentures unaddressed can lead to several complications:

  • Increased discomfort and pain from gum irritation.
  • Difficulty eating and potential digestive issues due to improper chewing.
  • Speech problems and potential social anxiety.
  • Risk of oral health problems like infections and thrush.
  • Accelerated wear and tear on your dentures, leading to earlier replacement needs.

Regular denture relining helps prevent these issues and ensures optimal oral health and comfort.

Medically Reviewed by:

Dip CDT RCS (Eng) Clinical Dental Technician
Determined to remain at the cutting edge of modern Dental Technology, David recently completed an intense training course in producing dentures that genuinely recreate the natural facial structures which are lost during the ageing process through tooth loss and gum regression. He, and his many patients, are overjoyed with the natural appearance and facial proportions which this new methodology offers.