If you just got fitted with new dentures, you are likely learning about different care instructions so that you can maintain your appliance. One aspect of maintenance that you'll need to do periodically is a denture reline. Take a look at what a reline entails and why it is a necessary step to maintain your oral health.
What Is a Reline, and Why Do You Need One?
A reline is a procedure where a dentist or dental technician resurfaces portions of the dentures that directly touch gum tissue. Besides resurfacing the material, the dental professional will add additional material to make sure the dentures still fit snugly and comfortably in your mouth.
When you are missing teeth, your jawbone gradually shrinks over time. As the jawbone changes, patients will find that their dentures don't fit well anymore. A reline corrects this issue.
How Often Do You Need a Reline?
Some patients get a reline after a year, but some people may be able to go several years before needing a reline. While there are no hard and fast rules, dentures often need relines when stability and/or comfort are compromised. If your dentures are cracking and/or stained, you may also need a reline.
Why Is a Reline an Important Step to Protect Your Oral Health?
When dentures don't fit well, it's easier for food to get stuck underneath and become impacted. Plus, if your dentures aren't fitting as well, you may place uneven forces on the material as you chew and/or talk. These uneven forces can cause scratches and hairline cracks on the denture surface that can host bacteria and yeast. If you get a lesion or ulcer in your mouth, then that bacteria can migrate to those wounds and cause an infection. In short, relines not only improve your comfort but can improve the durability of the dentures so that the appliance doesn't develop biofilms.
Do You Need a Hard or Soft Reline?
During a hard reline, a dentist will fill in any gaps on the appliance with an acrylic material that's similar to your dentures' base. Hard relines are beneficial because the resurfaced texture has a seamless appearance and is less susceptible to wear and tear. The main downside of a hard reline is that these relines cause the appliance to be brittle, so they may not be a great choice for people with very sensitive gums. Soft relines are made of softer, flexible materials, so they tend to be better choices for people with sensitive gum tissue. The downside of soft relines is that they may not last as long as a hard reline. If you want the best of both worlds, you may want to opt for a lab-processed soft reline, which requires you to take your dentures to a dental lab instead of your dental office for adjustments.
Do You Have to Go Without Dentures During a Reline?
The good news is that reline procedures don't take a long time—some labs may be able to add new material to your dentures the same day as your appointment, so you may only be missing your dentures for a few hours. To learn more about services like same-day denture relines, reach out to a dental provider in your area today.