On average, dentures should be replaced approximately every 7 years, and after approximately 1 year for an immediately placed “treatment denture.” When a patient wears complete dentures, supporting bony ridges are subjected to unnatural forces that contribute to rapid loss of bone. Therefore, the fit of the denture changes rapidly. Secondly, ill-fitting dentures cause even more damage to supporting bone as well as soft tissue injuries.
Relining is the process of refitting the tissue surface of a denture with a soft or hard material. Usually conventional hard acrylic or a soft rubbery material is the material of choice for this procedure, but many other materials are available. It’s purpose is to extend the life a denture to a limited extent by temporarily improving fit.
There is no “normal” amount of time between the initial fabrication of denture and a reline or between relines. Every person and every case is different. Sometimes, a reline is needed shortly after the initial fitting of a denture, if the case is more complicated than originally anticipated by the dentist. Unless a temporary “treatment denture” is made for use during healing immediately following tooth loss, a reline is usually needed within 6 months after inserting an “immediate denture” because the amount of bone loss during the first 6-9 months following tooth loss is substantial. Since denture acrylic is porous, a reline may be suggested to help manage soft tissue problems such as yeast infections.
Relines are a way to prolong the life of a denture up to the target of 7 years. Sometimes they are not needed, and sometimes they are needed quite frequently. In no way does the need for a reline indicate that the denture was improperly made, regardless of when it is needed. It is directly dependent on each individual patient and that person’s unique biology. Furthermore, relining a denture cannot correct other problems, such as artificial tooth fracture and wear.