Once dentures are fabricated and worn, the fit will change. Over time, dentures cause pressure on the gums and the resultant arched bone ridge underneath, which gives dentures their stability. This pressure causes the ridge to slowly shrink away. This is a normal physiological process, and can only be slowed down if natural teeth are kept. The more natural teeth you have left, the slower the process of bone loss is. This shrinkage changes the fit of the denture.
What is a reline?
Denture relines can often restore the proper fit by filling in the dentures in the missing bone areas. Relines are carried out in the dental office. A soft reline material is first placed in the denture and then inserted into the mouth. This soft material sets in a few minutes, and has a rubbery feel. The soft reline material can then be left or sent to a lab after one week, which is most often the case. Here at the lab, the denture with the new base shape made of soft material is processed to hard acrylic which becomes a part of the denture base and provides an updated fit.
When else can a reline be used?
Relines can also be used when a patient is having a new denture made and several extractions at the same time. Here, after the extractions a soft reline is placed to help with the healing process and then the new denture is worn immediately. When extractions are carried out, healing and shrinkage of the ridge will occur over a three month period. After the 3 month healing period, the soft liner is again replaced and the denture sent to the lab for hard processing.
As previously mentioned, all dentures become loose over time due to bone ridge shrinkage. If left untreated, the loose denture can cause speech problems, decrease in chewing efficiency, sore spots, and the denture can even break. Relines are designed to alleviate these problems. Denture relines should be carried out on dentures once every three years, and in some cases sooner. The fee for relines is significantly less than purchasing a new denture. A denture consultation is also required prior to having a reline. As mentioned before, not all denture problems can be corrected by a reline. Dentures can wear out beyond the ability of repair. However, there are many positive benefits of a timely reline. A reline can not only bring about greater confidence and increased health from proper chewing, but can also extend the life of your denture.