For patients missing all or some of their natural teeth, dentures or partial dentures provide a relatively affordable option to restore their smile. Unfortunately, over time, these devices may not fit as well as when they were new. For this reason, your dental professional may recommend a denture reline. Learn more about what options are available and what to expect regarding your denture reline cost.
What Is a Denture Reline?
The upper and lower jaws often change as patients grow older. According to the textbook Dental Materials, dentures that once fit perfectly can become loose and uncomfortable due to changes in bone levels after teeth are extracted and shrinking gums. When these aspects change, a dentist may recommend a denture reline to accommodate the difference in space between the denture and the gum tissue.
A general or specialty dentist — usually a prosthodontist — will perform the denture reline by placing a hard or soft material into the space on the gum side of the denture to recontour the fit. SPEAR Education states that the dentist will measure the degree of bone and gum changes in the patient's mouth by taking an impression. After assessing the function and condition of the denture, they will determine if there is enough support for a reline procedure, or if it would be more cost-effective to remake the entire prosthesis.
Some patients may be tempted to try a do-it-yourself reline, but the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP) states that these over-the-counter kits aren't the ideal option, so it's best to see a dental professional for a denture reline.
Types of Relines
The cost of a denture reline depends on many factors, including the type of reline and how it is manufactured. The two main types of denture relines are hard and soft. Dental Materials notes that a soft reline is usually made from flexible acrylic, while a hard reline is made from a hard setting material. For some patients, the soft material may be more comfortable and less irritating on the gums. Speak with your dentist about which type of reline is best for you.
According to Dental Materials, both hard and soft relines can be completed chairside in the dental office, though some offices may send the denture out to a lab to be relined. Typically, lab-made relines last longer and are less likely to stain compared with chairside relines, but they require that the patients go without their denture for one to two days.
Denture Reline Cost
Denture and partial denture reline costs vary based on what material is used, what method the dental provider uses and whether the reline involves a dental laboratory or is completed chairside. In certain cases, denture relines may be more affordable than the complete fabrication of a new denture. Speak with your dental provider about your cost expectations so they can help you find a solution that fits your budget.
How Often to Reline or Replace Dentures
According to the ACP, there is no single way to determine how often dentures should be relined, rebased or completely remade. This decision can only be made after a thorough assessment by a qualified dental professional to analyze the wear and function of the denture — along with the fit and satisfaction of the patient.
It's important to keep dentures functioning properly and comfortably to facilitate smiling, eating and talking. If you or a loved one experiences gum tissue irritation, denture wear or ill-fitting dentures, the best course of action is to contact a trusted dental professional for an examination.