How to Keep Your Dentures Fitting Comfortably

Soft Denture LinerMany people do not realise is that dentures should stay secure, with no need for adhesives.  Over time the bones in your jaw shrink, (a process called bone resorption), causing the dentures to slowly lose retention and comfort.  If you find that your denture clicks when you eat or speak, or if your denture has fallen out when speaking or laughing out loud, then congratulations, it’s time for a reline!

A dental prosthetist (DP) can usually perform a reline the same day by creating a new mould in your old denture using an accurate impression technique. The DP will then remove and rebuild the inside of your old denture with the new record of your gums. When the denture is returned and refitted back into your mouth the result is an accurate fit, much like a brand new denture. It should be noted that dentures going through this process must still have proper bite alignment for relining to be successful. A simple examination by your DP will assess your dentures in this regard.

I have seen some “do-it-yourself” reline kits however the problem with relining the denture yourself is that the denture becomes slightly thicker because you are adding new material without removing the old material.  You can imagine that a millimeter of thickness in the mouth can feel like a mile!  So, this slight change in thickness may cause problems with speaking and it can cause your bite to be slightly off. The slightest change in your bite strains your jaw, which can lead to chronic injury of your jaw joint (temporal-mandibular joint, or TMJ). Also, the materials in adhesives and “home reline” kits become very unhygienic, and almost impossible to keep clean.

As I see it, best to leave relines to the professional.  Bone loss occurs at different rates from patient to patient, but for most, it is a measurable change every two to five years. Patients who suffer chronic discomfort wearing lower dentures will often benefit with a layer of soft compressible material between their oral tissue and acrylic denture bases. This layer acts much like a shock absorber and can increase patient comfort dramatically. Permanent soft-liners can be the solution to discomfort. A soft-liner can be added at time of denture construction, or relined into an existing denture. The average life span of these linings ranges from two to five years.  Whether you choose a soft or a hard base, relines are an excellent way to keep your dentures working well, while protecting your jaws from premature bone resorption.

Michael Carson is a registered Dental Prosthetist (DP) at My Denture Place® located at Shop 4/10 Liuzzi St, Hervey Bay. Ph (07) 4124 0800

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