Recovering From Gum Disease: Should You Have Your Dentures Relined?

If you wear partial or complete dentures, it is important to make sure they fit comfortably and securely at all times. Ill-fitting dentures can damage the soft tissues in your mouth and may also make it difficult to eat and speak clearly.

To achieve a snug fit, it is usually necessary to have your dentures periodically relined. Dentures are usually relined every few years, but if you have recently suffered from a bout of gum disease, your dentures may need to be relined as soon as possible.

What Is Denture Relining?

When your dentures were initially created, your dentist or denture care clinic will have taken a cast of your mouth. This cast is used to shape the bases of the dentures, so they match the unique contours of your mouth and gum line. 

However, the shape of your gums and other soft tissues in your mouth can change over time. Aging can affect the shape of your gums and the muscles in your mouth, and your gums may recede due to other health issues, such as smoking or poor dental hygiene. As the tissues in your mouth change shape, gaps may start to appear between your gums and the bases of your dentures, preventing a proper fit.

Denture relining is used to modify the shape of your dentures and fill in these gaps. During the relining process, a denture care service will add new material to the bases of your dentures and shape it to match the new contours of your mouth and gum line. 

How Can Gum Disease Make Relining Necessary?

Gum disease occurs when harmful bacteria infect your gums, causing them to become damaged and inflamed. It is one of the most common causes of gum recession, and even mild cases of gum disease can destroy significant amounts of gum tissue. Gum tissue never grows back and can only be repaired surgically, so any recession caused by gum disease is likely to be permanent.

More serious cases of gum disease (known as periodontitis) can also affect the bones in your jaw. If the infection spreads to the jawbones, they can shrink and atrophy. This is called bone resorption and can cause dramatic changes to the shape of your mouth and the contours of your gums. 

Both of these problems can prevent your dentures from fitting properly. After suffering from gum disease, you may find that your dentures have become loose or uncomfortable. Poorly fitting dentures can damage your gums, preventing them from recovering properly. Food debris and plaque can also become trapped in gaps between your dentures and your gums, leaving you more vulnerable to gum disease in the future.

If you are recovering from gum disease, and your dentures aren't as comfortable or secure as they used to be, you should visit a denture care clinic as soon as possible for a consultation. Your dentures will be examined to check for fit problems, and a new cast of your mouth may be created. Your dentures can then be relined.

Many dental care clinics offer a specialized relining procedure known as 'soft' relining. Soft relining uses softer, more flexible materials to reshape your dentures. These materials place less pressure on your gums and can be very useful if gum disease has left your gums weakened or sensitive.

Contact your dentist for more information about dentures