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What is a Soft and a Hard Denture Reline?
Dentures are designed to fit a patient’s gums perfectly when first inserted. But, a reline becomes necessary as the gums and jawbone slowly adjust over time due to aging and the process of reabsorption.
When a tooth is extracted from the gums, the leftover alveolar bone tissue breaks down and disperses this matter throughout the rest of the body. This causes the density and shape of the gums to alter, which causes misalignment and discomfort.
Patients can opt for either a hard or soft denture reline depending on their situation and preferences.
Hard and Soft Denture Relines
The following are explanations of these two types of denture relining procedures.
What is a hard denture reline?
A hard denture reline can be a great option for patients who want a long-lasting solution for relining dentures without a completely brand new fitting.
However, patients who experience extreme discomfort with the fittings may not find the desired level of relief with this type of reline.
The process of performing a hard reline starts with the dentist removing some of the hard plastic from the inside of the prosthetics. Next, the dentist places putty on any area that makes contact with the tissue and waits until it hardens to a rubbery consistency.
To make an impression of the exact shape of the gums, the dentist places the dentures with putty into the patient’s mouth. The lab technician or dentist then uses this model to recreate a hard acrylic version of the impression that mimics the material of the original denture base.
What is a soft denture reline?
A soft denture reline is often the preferred procedure for patients. This type of relining may only last a year or two and requires more adjustments than a hard reline.
But, the end result is typically more comfortable. Patients who have very tender gums or reoccurring sore spots can benefit from getting a soft reline.
Additionally, patients who have received dentures more recently should choose a soft reline due to the especially high rates of bone absorption occurring during this time. For a soft reline, a more porous, softer material is used instead of acrylic to help provide enhanced comfort.
The Difference Between a Laboratory and Chairside Reline
Depending on the dental office and condition of the patient’s dentures, procedures may either be completed in-office or at a laboratory.
A chairside reline, or a reline performed entirely by the dentist during the visit, can be used for small adjustments or a partial relining. Patients can leave with the realigned dentures the same day.
A laboratory relining, on the other hand, is necessary for full relines and can take a full day or longer before the dental prosthetics are returned to the patient.
If at any point dentures start to feel uncomfortable, then it is time to visit the dentist. Discuss getting a denture relining to help the prosthetics better fit gums as they shift and change.
After discussing the patient’s personal history and history, the dentist can help decide whether a soft or a hard reline is the better option.
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