Can dentures be reshaped?

dental prosthetist reshaping denture

Can dentures be reshaped? Yes, they can. In fact, this practice is a normal part of denture maintenance. Reshaping a denture, also referred to as a 'denture reline’, is done to restore the original fit. Denture relines can be applied to full or partial dentures. In the following article we discuss why you might need a denture reshaping, the types of relines for dentures, and their purpose. Also discussed is how to know when a reline is necessary and why you should avoid attempting to reshape your own denture.

Hard, soft, and temporary denture relines

Depending on the patient’s clinical needs there are three types of denture relines or reshaping from which to choose, depending on your clinical needs.

  • A hard reline can last from 2-4 years or even for the life of the denture. A hard reline material is usually acrylic, the same material as your denture base
  • A soft reline, as the name suggests provides a cushioning effect for those with sensitive gums. A layer of liquid polymer is applied to the underside of your denture. This may last between 18 months to 2 years.
  • A temporary reline is a medicated layer applied over the inner denture surface to protect and promote healing tissue. Temporary relines and conditioning treatments are therapeutic measures usually applied to a denture after tooth extractions or other mouth trauma. They last between 2- 6 weeks

Why dentures may need reshaping

As mentioned, the reason a denture is reshaped or relined, is to improve the way it fits, thereby restoring comfort and functionality. The mouth is a dynamic space. As we age, gums shrink, bone loss occurs, facial muscle tone changes. These factors impact on a patient even more when they are missing teeth or indeed, have no teeth at all. While dentures can help to slow the process in the edentulous patient, nevertheless over time, the changing oral landscape and everyday wear and tear will still impact how the denture fits. Generally, you can expect to have a denture reshaped several times over its lifetime to restore optimal fit. How often this needs to happen will depend on the type of denture you have, how much wear and tear you exact on it and whether you have a hard or soft reline. Eventually however, a new denture will be required.

How do I know if my dentures need to be reshaped/relined?

Ideally, you should visit your prosthetist on a regular basis for a check-up and to maintain the integrity of your denture. Often, they will alert you to the need for a reline before you notice obvious symptoms. Any of the following signs may indicate the need for a reline.

Your denture is unstable

Your denture may slip or rock in your mouth when chewing, laughing, or speaking. While denture adhesive can be an effective remedy for securing your denture, it is a temporary measure.

Sore spots or pain

Your denture may begin to rub on your gums causing inflammation, soreness or discomfort which can eventually lead to infection

Food particles

You may find food becomes trapped between your denture and gums or palate causing irritation

Length of time since the last reline

If it has been two years since your last reline or visit for a check-up, it is likely time to reline your denture.

How is denture reshaping/relining done?

  • During a soft reline, liquid polymer is applied to the inside of your denture creating a flexible cushion between your gums and palate.
  • A hard reline is created using a more robust, longer lasting material than a soft reline, usually acrylic like your denture base.
  • Temporary relines and conditioning treatments are applied during consultations.

How long does a denture reline or reshaping take?

Having your denture relined is a relatively fast process, often within the same day. Book ahead with your denture clinic so the appropriate appointments can be made at the beginning and end of the day, that way time without your denture can be minimised.

Can I reshape my dentures at home?

While an internet search may reveal DIY kits for reshaping your denture at home, it is not recommended. Denture reshaping requires specialist knowledge of oral mechanics and how they can be adversely impacted by a poorly fitting prosthetic device. An example of this is a group of conditions known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD) which cause orofacial pain and jaw joint disfunction.[i]

Benefits of professional denture reshaping

Keeping your denture in top shape by having regular maintenance will prolong its longevity.[ii] Reshaping or relining a denture to achieve better fit and stability is a common practice. Regular denture relines can:

  • Maintain your denture’s snug fit, and therefore your comfort and ability to laugh, chew and speak effectively.
  • Avoid uneven pressure on your denture which may compromise its structural integrity.
  • Better fitting dentures mean less stress is placed on the denture leading to greater denture longevity.
  • Less stress on your denture means fewer breakages.
  • Relines seal your denture against food particles becoming lodged in cracks and crevasses which can harbour bacteria and fungi growth

The risks of DIY denture reshaping

Risking the considerable investment you have made in your health, wellbeing, and appearance in search of a quick fix is counterproductive. Trying to make adjustments yourself by filing off base material can result in miscalculations affecting your health and requiring expensive repairs to your denture. Uneven pressure caused by maladjustments can damage your denture and cause sore spots on your mouth and gums. Also be warned against using immersion in boiling water to reform your denture. This practice can warp the denture base and compromise the denture’s structure. Dental prosthetics is a specialised field best left to the qualified therapists who know how to preserve your health and comfort while maximising your denture’s lifespan.[iii] If you are unable to visit your prosthetist immediately for an adjustment, denture adhesive can provide a temporary solution to a loose denture.

A final word on denture reshaping

The good news is having your denture relined or reshaped can not only ensure your comfort but also maximise your denture’s functionality and increase its lifespan. A useful list of signs to be aware of alerting you to the imminent need for a reline is given in this article. However, if you have a regular denture maintenance program, usually every twelve months, then your prosthetist will advise when a reline is needed. The type of reline required will depend on your clinical needs best determined by your prosthetist. Trying to do a denture reline yourself is a fool’s mission, possibly costing you expensive repairs and even your health and wellbeing.


[ii] Rathi A, Banerjee R, Radke U, Lahoti S, Sahni S. Knowledge and attitude about relining of complete dentures in clinical practice: A cross-sectional study. J Indian Prosthodont Soc. 2018 Apr-Jun;18(2):174-180. doi: 10.4103/jips.jips_302_17. PMID: 29692572; PMCID: PMC5903182.
[iii] Rathi A, Banerjee R, Radke U, Lahoti S, Sahni S. Knowledge and attitude about relining of complete dentures in clinical practice: A cross-sectional study. J Indian Prosthodont Soc. 2018 Apr-Jun;18(2):174-180. doi: 10.4103/jips.jips_302_17. PMID: 29692572; PMCID: PMC5903182.

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