When a tooth is extracted from its place within the alveolar bone tissue that houses it, the tissue undergoes what is known as resorption, or a “breakdown” at the cellular level that takes its component materials and disperses them elsewhere throughout the body. Without such intervention, the bone tissue undergoes resorption at the cellular level. That is, the bony material of the tooth is broken down and used elsewhere in the body. Denture wearers experience most of this resorption within the first three to four months after an extraction, and then gradually over time throughout life.
As a result of this resorption, the gum tissue surrounding the alveolar bone experiences a change in density and shape that begins to cause a previously-fitted denture to become more uncomfortable over time. A denture reline, then, restores the prosthetic to a comfortable state by re-shaping its underside to rest more gently against your gums. Relines are referred to as “soft” (involving the application of a liquid polymer to the base of the denture) or “hard,” (done with a material more like the hardened denture base itself), and can be completed either at the office or in a lab. This procedure code covers relines conducted at a laboratory.