If you're a long-time denture user, you're probably already aware of the importance of having your dentures relined and readjusted by your dentist every so often. Everyday wear and tear can alter the shape of your dentures and cause them to become ill-fitting, and regular relining is essential for keeping your dentures comfortable and preventing them from damaging the delicate tissues of your mouth.

However, there are occasions when you may need to have your denture relining performed ahead of schedule. If you have recently suffered from a bout of oral thrush, you should visit your dentist to have your dentures inspected and, if necessary, properly relined as soon as possible.

What is oral thrush, and how can it affect the way your dentures fit?

Oral thrush, more properly known as oral candidiasis, is a fungal infection caused by the same fungal microbes that can affect other parts of your body. The microbes that cause thrush are naturally present in many people's mouths, and they usually cause no problems at all; however, they can start to attack the gums, tongue and other parts of your mouth under certain conditions, especially if you are a smoker or suffer from a compromised immune system.

Oral thrush is generally not a dangerous condition (although it can spread to other parts of the body in extreme cases, or if you have an underlying condition) and usually clears up swiftly after a short course of anti-fungal medication. However, the inflammation caused by oral thrush can cause damage to your gums, permanently altering the shape of your gum line. While this damage generally isn't noticeable in people with a full set of teeth unless their gums were already badly receded, it can cause problems for denture wearers.

When your dentures were made (or when they were more recently relined), they were sculpted to conform exactly to the contours of your gums; if the shape of your gums has been altered by a thrush infection, you may find that your dentures no longer fit properly, leaving gaps between your dentures and your gums.

Should you have your dentures relined after an oral thrush infection?

Ill-fitting dentures are not easy to live with. They can make it more difficult to speak or eat properly, and they may rub against your gums and the sides of your mouth, which can be painful and further alter the shape of your gums. Ironically, gaps between dentures and gums also provide a warm, wet haven in which new thrush infections can form, which can lead to a vicious cycle of repeated infections and long-term gum damage.

As such, you should always visit your dentist to have both your mouth and your dentures thoroughly inspected after suffering from a thrush infection, even if the infection was mild. This allows your dentist to chart any changes in the shape of your gum line. In many cases, no adjustment of your dentures is necessary, but if your gums have changed shape, your dentist can reline your dentures to fit properly and minimise the risk of your oral thrush returning.