What is a denture reline?

Updated 7th April 2023

When your prosthetist talks about a ‘reline’, he or she is referring to a coating applied to the inside surface of your denture where it rests on your gums. The application of this lining effectively transforms and improves the denture’s fitting surface, thereby enhancing retention. Generally, there are three types of relines: a hard reline, a soft reline and a temporary reline. These can be applied to full or partial dentures.

A hard reline is recommended every two to three years to maintain a good fit between the denture’s under surface and your mouth’s topography, thus maintaining the integrity of the denture’s structure and prolonging the denture’s life.

Soft relines are recommended for patients who have soreness and sensitive gum tissues, thus allowing time for them to become accustomed to wearing a denture. A spongy coating applied to the inside surface of the denture protects the gums and mouth from the pressures of biting and chewing while the mouth heals, thereby reducing the possibility of further gum irritation or ulcers.

Temporary relines provide a medicated cushioning layer between your gums and your denture to allow for healing of sore spots or inflamed tissues. Some patients may need a temporary reline due to poor maintenance resulting in abraded gum tissue. However, the majority of temporary denture relines are done to help heal gum tissue after teeth are extracted and an immediate denture is inserted. A hard reline is then applied within 1 – 6 months of getting an immediate denture.

Why do I need a denture reline?

When natural teeth are lost, whether due to disease or trauma, changes in the mouth and jaw are inevitable. While dentures mimic the natural teeth in helping to support the framework of your mouth, bone loss or resorption still occurs, causing shrinkage of oral tissues. Denture relines are necessary to accommodate these changes and ensure an ongoing close fit.

Dentures need to fit snugly to avoid issues like sensitive spots, ulcers, tissue overgrowth and infections. Denture relines restore the close fit needed to avoid the problems caused by ill-fitting dentures and the entrapment of food particles. Loose dentures can also cause embarrassment and insecurity in the wearer for fear of dislodgement when laughing or eating. Further, a loose or misaligned denture may crack or break under normal pressures of eating. Regular check-ups and maintenance can avoid this unhappy scenario.

How much does a denture reline cost in Australia in 2023?

While prices may differ between clinics, an estimation of denture reline costs follows:

Denture Reline Type Denture Reline Cost
Full denture hard reline $400
Partial denture hard reline $380 (from)
Soft denture reline $400 (from) 
Temporary denture reline $150

    What to expect from a denture reline

    You can expect a well-executed denture reline to restore not only a snug fit but also your appearance and confidence to chew, speak and laugh naturally, without fear of dislodgement. Denture relines prolong the life, fit and comfort of your denture and protect against damage caused by unnecessary stress enacted upon loose dentures by eating, chewing and biting.

    How long does a reline last?

    The material used for a hard denture reline becomes a part of the acrylic denture. Therefore you can expect it to last the life of the denture.

    Soft relines are more temporary, lasting from 12 to 18 months depending on the individual circumstances.

    Temporary relines and tissue conditioning treatments are interim solutions serving until the mouth heals, usually from two to six weeks.

    Should my relined denture taste bad?

    Some patients complain of an initial bad taste after a soft reline. It’s important to remember taste tolerance is individual. What bothers some people may not bother others. However, experiencing an unpleasant taste after a reline is temporary and can be addressed by soaking in a solution of warm (not hot) water and bicarbonate of soda for about ten minutes each day until the taste disappears. Some patients find sucking mint lozenges effective, to mask any unpleasant taste.

    How can I tell if my denture needs relining?

    Signs you may need a denture reline include your dentures not fitting as well as they did when new. When your dentures become loose in your mouth or when you notice food accumulating beneath the denture, it’s time to see your dental prosthetist.

    We recommend an annual denture check-up to determine what, if anything, is needed to restore a good fit. During this consultation your dental prosthetist will advise on the health status of your denture, whether a reline is required or simply an adjustment. In some cases, if your denture is old or damaged, a reline will not achieve optimal results and a new denture may be necessary.

    Is denture glue still necessary?

    One of the benefits of a well-fitting denture is enhanced retention – this means it stays in place in your mouth even when eating, talking or heaven forbid, shouting. Since relining a denture minimises gaps or spaces between your gums and the fitting surface of the denture that may have occurred because of normal bone resorption and shifting of any remaining natural teeth, suction or retention of the denture is increased making the use of denture glue unnecessary.

    Even if deemed desirable by the patient, the use of denture glue is not recommended post reline for at least 72 hours. After this, avoiding its use will allow you to determine if there are any issues of fit with the newly relined denture that need to be addressed by your prosthetist. Denture glue can confuse the issue of determining what, if any, the problems might be.

    How do I clean my relined denture?

    Cleaning a relined denture is like normal denture cleaning with a couple of exceptions.

    A hard relined denture is just like a new denture and may be cleaned in the same way, remembering that no denture, including one that’s been relined, should ever be scrubbed with a hard bristle brush and never with toothpaste, which is abrasive.

    Be especially gentle with temporary and soft relined dentures for at least 72 hours until the reline material cures. Neither of these types of relines should be left to soak overnight in denture cleaning solution. In both cases, doing so will damage the delicate lining.

    Brushing under cool to warm running water with a soft brush is sufficient to remove food particles. For more information, read our article 'White, Bright Smiles: how to keep your dentures sparkling' or our Denture Care page.

    How long does it take to get a denture reline?

    With a little planning, a denture reline can be done within a day, which means you are not without your denture for a protracted period. After the initial consultation to determine your needs, your prosthetist will arrange for you to drop your denture off in the morning and pick it up newly relined in the afternoon.

    Can I do a denture reline at home?

    Tempted by convenience, saving time and importantly, saving cash, we have all gone down the DIY path for one thing or another. However, please consider the following points before you attempt a DIY denture reline at home. It may save your denture, your health and your money in the long run.

    Expecting a professional result without the benefit of professional expertise is a stretch and can end in tears.

    Incorrect application of the lining material can result in improper seating of the denture in your mouth, compromising fit and leading to discomfort. Further problems associated with DIY denture relining include bulging cheeks or protruding lips, making your mouth feel overfull. Further, the harsh chemicals from which some DIY liners are made can cause nausea and taste issues in some people.

    A final word

    Having your denture relined on an ‘as needed’ basis can save you money and the inconvenience of a loose or broken denture. More importantly, just as you would not expect your car to keep running without regular maintenance, your denture will serve you best if you take good care of it. Having your denture relined maintains the best fit, and therefore the comfort of your denture, avoiding unpleasant mouth ulcers and gum soreness or even infections caused by a loose denture. A well-fitting denture not only makes you look your best, but also means you can eat, speak and laugh, confident in the knowledge it won’t dislodge. Furthermore, well-fitting dentures are less likely to break or crack due to uneven or excessive pressure, thereby prolonging the life of your denture and avoiding having to pay for repairs.

    Northern Rivers Denture Clinic is located in the heart of Tweed Heads, southern Gold Coast. Finally have the smile you deserve with handcrafted, quality dentures.

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