In certain cases, when dentures become unstable or ill-fitting (through resorption of the gums for instance), it may be beneficial to have them relined. An impression of the patient’s mouth is taken within the dentures and these are then sent to the laboratory. Casts of the patient’s gums are made and the dentures relined or re-based to fit better. This is an ideal treatment modality in the months following the placement of immediate dentures, where the patient’s teeth are removed at the fit stage of new dentures. Relining a denture means that the patient will find them to be better fitting, whilst not having to get used to a new set from scratch.
The Copy Technique
Relining may not be suited for older dentures, which will have experienced a fair bit of wear. In this case, new dentures will be required. By taking an impression of the gums in the patient’s dentures in a similar way to the method used for a reline, the dentures can be duplicated in the laboratory, into a new set that feels familiar but fits better. This is the echnique of choice for patients with cognitive impairment or who have a limited capacity to get used to new dentures
In other cases, a tissue conditioner may be used to aid in diagnosis and problem-solving. In this technique, an acrylic paste is mixed into a paste and applied to the patient’s dentures, which are used as normal. This will eventually set into a thick gel after a few days, essentially resulting in a ‘functional impression’ of the gums, allowing for a reline which follows more closely the natural anatomy of the mouth in function.
Tissue conditioner pastes can be messy and are quite delicate. Because they will need to stay on the dentures for some time (typically more than one day), it is important that patients take proper care to ensure the tissue conditioner is not damaged.
The dentures must not be scrubbed, rather just rinsed under running water for a while every time they need cleaning,
No denture cleaning tablets are to be used whilst the tissue conditioner is still on the dentures; the dentures should be left in plain water overnight,
The tissue conditioner (including any excess paste) must not be picked at.