Denture relining serves the need to periodically replace the hard and soft tissues that were lost as a result of dentures eroding more bone due to movement and friction of the denture.
Dentures that loosen over time are typically due to 2 problems. First, the bone loss is so significant that there is not enough bone to "grip" the denture. Second, the bite is off and the lower teeth, denture, partial are hitting in the wrong places or at the wrong times.
A denture is essentially a piece of acrylic fitted with denture teeth that covers an entire palate (upper jaw) or ridge (lower jaw). The denture is held in place with some suction if a good impression is made and possibly with the use of denture adhesive and bracing with the tongue and opposite arch.
Denture movement that slowly increases over time invariably leads to more bone loss, further instability and sore gums. The sore tissues are a result of uneven pressure which will cause pain, swelling, worsening denture fit and will ultimately compromise one's ability to chew normally.
Uneven occlusal planes - how teeth or dentures fit together can lead to a "teeter totter" rocking of the teeth, pressure spots, painful ulcerations or epuli or denture sores. Dentures that are not relined on a routine basis that addresses this issue frequently cause tissue disparities that create these occlusal or bite problems which perpetuates the cycle of continued hard and soft tissue deterioration
The fabrication process used to manufacture a denture product can also be responsible for the soreness factor. Many dentures are made quickly and inexpensively, with a shrinkage effect that is entirely due to the curing process used in manufacture of the denture.
Ivocap processing or injection molded acrylic are popular denture fabrication processes that will result in less than .1 shrinkage, thereby producing a more comfortable denture with less need for adjustments.
The quality of the impression making process can be critical for some patients. If a dentist takes an impression for a denture on inflammed puffy tissues the result will be a less than wonderfully fitting set of dentures as well.
In a similar fashion, for the lower jaw... if the impression is made on an inadequate or sickly ridge the denture will be sickly.
The idea of a reline is to make dentures fit better. The reline or rebase of a denture every 3-5 years is to keep the fit good and the movement or wear to the ridge at a minimum.
With today's advancements in denture prosthetics and the availability of mini implants, it might be more healthful to look at a denture as a temporary prosthesis until implants can be placed to stabilize the bone, prevent bone loss and sinus expansion in the upper arch, and create teeth that are fixed solutions.
The cycle of loose fitting dentures and increasing bone loss can be a relentless event. In extreme cases, the wear and tear can cause deterioration that is so significant the comfortable use of dentures can become impossible.. along with the impossibility of placing implants.
Patients who sense their relinings are not as effective as they once were, should consult with their dentists to investigate more sensible alternatives that will either halt hard and soft tissue loss.. with the possibility of augmenting need bone structures.
Wisconsin Reconstructive Implant Dentistry
Richard Winter, DDS MAGD
Winter Dental Associates
5323 W. Hampton Avenue
Milwaukee Wisconsin WI 53218