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Denture Reline

What is a Denture Reline?

Understanding This Essential Denture Maintenance Procedure


For individuals who wear dentures, comfort and fit are paramount. Over time, changes in the mouth’s structure can lead to a less-than-ideal fit, causing discomfort or even sores. This is where a denture reline comes into play. This article delves into what a denture reline is, its importance, types, and the process involved.

Understanding Denture Relines

  • Purpose: A denture reline is a procedure that reshapes the underside of a denture to make it more comfortable and secure against the gums. It involves adding new material to the denture’s base to improve its fit.
  • Necessity: Over time, the gums and jawbone can shrink or change shape, especially following tooth loss. These changes can lead to dentures that no longer fit snugly.

Complete Guide to Denture Relines

Types of Denture Relines: Tailoring to Individual Needs

Denture relines are an essential aspect of maintaining dentures, ensuring they fit comfortably and function properly. There are several types of relines, each designed to meet specific needs based on the condition of a patient’s gums and the fit of their dentures. Let’s explore these types in more detail:

1. Soft Reline

  • Purpose: Soft relines are ideal for patients with sensitive, tender gums or those who have sore spots caused by their dentures.
  • Material Used: In this procedure, a pliable, soft material is added to the denture base. This material remains flexible and provides a cushioning effect between the denture and the gums.
  • Duration and Comfort: Soft relines are known for their comfort and can significantly reduce gum irritation. The soft lining material typically remains functional for one to two years, but it may require more frequent checks and replacements due to its softer nature.
  • Suitability: Particularly beneficial for new denture wearers adjusting to their prosthetics and for long-term wearers who have experienced gum resorption or increased sensitivity over time.

2. Hard Reline

  • Material and Process: Hard relines involve using a hard acrylic material, which is more similar to the original denture base, to reshape the fitting surface of the denture.
  • Durability: This type of reline is more durable than a soft reline. The hard acrylic material is less prone to wear and provides a stable base for the denture.
  • Frequency of Relining: Typically, hard relines are recommended every two to three years, but this can vary based on the individual’s oral health and the condition of their dentures.
  • Improving Fit: Hard relines are effective in improving the fit of dentures for patients whose gums have changed shape or shrunk over time, ensuring a snug and comfortable fit.

3. Temporary Reline

  • Indications for Use: Temporary relines are used when a patient’s gums are inflamed, often due to ill-fitting dentures.
  • Medicated Material: A medicated, softer material is applied to the denture to reduce irritation and allow inflamed gums to heal. This material is designed to be gentle on sore or swollen gum tissue.
  • Short-term Solution: As the name suggests, temporary relines are a short-term solution. They provide relief while the gums heal and return to a healthier state.
  • Path to Permanent Relining: Once the inflammation has subsided and the gums have healed, the patient may be fitted for a more permanent soft or hard relin

The Process of Denture Relining: A Step-by-Step Guide

Denture relining is a crucial process for ensuring that dentures continue to fit comfortably and function properly over time. Here’s a detailed look at the steps involved in the denture relining process:

1. Initial Assessment

  • Evaluating Denture Fit: The process begins with the dentist conducting a thorough assessment of the current fit of the dentures. This includes checking for any areas where the denture may be loose or causing discomfort.
  • Examining Gum Health: The health of the gums is also evaluated. Changes in gum and bone structure over time can affect the fit of the dentures.
  • Determining the Need for Relining: Based on this assessment, the dentist decides whether a reline is necessary and, if so, what type of reline (soft, hard, or temporary) will best suit the patient’s needs.

2. Taking Impressions

  • Impression Process: If a reline is deemed necessary, the next step is to take an impression of the patient’s mouth. This is often done with the denture in place to ensure that the new lining will fit precisely against the gums.
  • Capturing Mouth Changes: The impression material captures the contours of the mouth and any changes that have occurred since the dentures were first fitted. This ensures the reline will address any areas where the fit has become loose or uncomfortable.

3. Laboratory Work

  • Sending to Dental Lab: The denture, along with the impression, is sent to a specialized dental laboratory. Here, technicians will add new lining material to the base of the denture.
  • Adding New Material: The laboratory uses the impression to apply the new material, reshaping the denture’s base so it will fit snugly against the patient’s gums.
  • Quality and Precision: The process in the lab is meticulous to ensure high quality and precision, resulting in a comfortable and well-fitting denture.

4. Final Fitting

  • Receiving Relined Dentures: Once the laboratory work is complete, the relined dentures are returned to the dentist’s office.
  • Patient Fitting: The patient then comes in for a final fitting. During this appointment, the dentist checks the fit of the relined dentures, ensuring they are comfortable and properly aligned in the mouth.
  • Adjustments if Needed: Any necessary adjustments are made at this stage. This may involve minor trimming or additional shaping of the relined areas to achieve the best fit and bite alignment.



Why Regular Relines are Important for Denture Wearers

Regular relines are a critical aspect of maintaining dentures and ensuring the overall oral health and comfort of the wearer. Let’s explore in more detail why they are so important:

1. Comfort and Health

  • Preventing Gum Irritation and Sores: Ill-fitting dentures can rub against the gums, leading to irritation and sore spots. Regular relines adjust the fit of the dentures as the mouth’s shape changes over time, reducing the risk of these painful issues.
  • Enhanced Comfort: A denture that fits well is more comfortable to wear. Relines ensure that the dentures conform snugly to the contours of the gums, improving comfort during everyday activities like eating and speaking.
  • Avoiding Jaw Problems: Poorly fitting dentures can lead to problems with jaw alignment, which can cause pain and difficulties with mouth function. Relining helps maintain the correct alignment.

2. Oral Health Maintenance

  • Supporting Gum Health: When dentures fit properly, they distribute pressure more evenly across the gums, reducing the risk of gum resorption and maintaining the health of the oral tissues.
  • Protecting Remaining Teeth: For those with partial dentures, a good fit is crucial to avoid putting extra stress on the remaining natural teeth, which can lead to their accelerated wear or damage.
  • Preventing Infections: Well-fitting dentures reduce the likelihood of food particles becoming trapped, which can lead to infections or issues like thrush.

3. Prolonging Denture Life

  • Preventing Damage: Regular relining can help prevent the dentures from becoming damaged due to a poor fit. When dentures fit poorly, they are more likely to crack or break as they move around in the mouth.
  • Economic Benefits: By extending the life of the dentures, relining can be a cost-effective solution in the long run. It’s more economical to reline a denture than to replace it.
  • Consistent Performance: Regular relines ensure that dentures continue to function effectively, maintaining their ability to assist in proper chewing and speaking.


Denture relines are a crucial aspect of denture maintenance, ensuring that the prosthetics continue to fit comfortably and function effectively. Regular dental check-ups are important for determining when a reline is needed. If you wear dentures and start to feel discomfort or a loose fit, consult with your dentist to see if a reline is necessary.

Regular relines are an essential part of keeping your dentures comfortable and functional, contributing to your overall oral health and well-being.