Relining Dentures

Over the years, dentures will become looser and looser. This is not because the denture is changing but because the gums are shrinking. Alveolar bone (the bone that holds the teeth in) is very labile bone. That means that it is constantly changing to meet the current conditions. This is an important property due to the constant changes in the forces while chewing with natural teeth. However, the sole purpose of alveolar bone is to hold the teeth in, so once a tooth is removed, it thinks that its job is done and begins to resorb. When the teeth are first lost, there is usually a fair amount of bone left behind, unless there was severe periodontal (gum) disease present. However, as time goes on, the bone will continue to erode until eventually, there will not be much left. Since the bone shrinks, dentures must be periodically relined.

Impression material inside denture

To reline a denture, impression material is placed into the actual denture to make a mold of the changed gums. A technician will then grind out the old plastic and process new plastic to perfectly match the present situation. This is a much less expensive way to make an old set of dentures fit as good as new, and avoids the great expense of an entirely new set.

Sore Spots in Dentures

Sore spots under dentures can be extremely aggravating. They are caused by an area of extra pressure consistently rubbing against the oral mucosa. It causes a tell-tale ulceration of the tissue. Even the tiniest ulcer can make the whole denture feel extremely uncomfortable to wear. Just like a pair of shoes. An area of the shoe that is ill-fitting to the foot and slips and slides with every footstep, it can rub an area raw in a very short amount of time. When a sore spot occurs under a denture, it is always best to get to your dentist for an adjustment. Don’t try to fight through it as it can only make the problem worse.

Orabase with Benzocaine

In the interim, you can place a salve that contains a local anesthetic onto the sore. I usually recommend Orabase with Benzocaine. A tiny dot of that will numb the area and stick to the tissue for up to a few hours. It is important to wear the denture for 24 hours before your dental appointment. If it is left out for a significant amount of time, then the area could heal and be difficult for the dentist to spot. When the denture has been worn the day before, the dentist will be able to see exactly where the sore spot is. This way he can mark the exact location and grind on the offending area of the denture. By relieving that area, it allows the pressure of chewing to be spread over a large area thus allowing the sore spot to heal.