Full or partial dentures can be a helpful restorative option for people who are missing several or even all of their teeth. Dentures are designed to be worn every day and removed at night. They are designed to sit over the gums and around any existing teeth. However, it is important to note that dentures cannot serve as a replacement for teeth; rather, they are an alternative to the absence of teeth.
Dentures are an alternative to dental bridges and dental implants. Dentures can also be placed over implants and abutments. This is called an over-denture and is an excellent combination treatment alternative with great results.
Dentures require several steps, as well as several visits to the office to complete, as well as for adjusting the denture for the best possible fit. A typical full or partial denture takes about X weeks for the full process to be complete.
Step 1: Your dentist will take an impression of your gums. If you need extractions before creating your denture, your dentist will wait until your gums have healed before taking the impressions.
Step 2: Wax rims are placed in the mouth to establish a proper bite and orientation (occlusion) of the teeth. Patients can then select the size, shape and shade of the teeth for the denture. Your dentist will help you to make this selection, but we also recommend having someone who knows you very well help make the selection. Your dentist will send the impressions, as well as the selection for shape, size and shade to a dental lab.
Step 3: Try-In: This is a critical step in the denture process. The dental lab will send a mockup of your denture, which includes a set of pre-made plastic teeth, set in wax, to make sure you are happy with the general color, look, fit and feel of the denture. If any changes are needed, additional try-in appointments may be necessary. Once the denture is made to your satisfaction, the try-in denture will be sent back to the lab to create the final denture. At Fresh Smiles Advanced Orthodontics and Dental Care Clinic Family Dental, we will always help to make sure you are pleased with your denture, and that it looks and feels as natural as possible. However, this is an important and final decision, and we strongly support bringing a spouse or friend who knows you well, and who will give you honest feedback about how the denture looks so you can make your selection with the greatest amount of confidence.
Step 4: This is the fitting of your final denture. The lab has now processed the premade teeth into a hard, tissue colored acrylic base. If necessary, your dentist will make adjustments to the fit and the bite, and you may need to return to the office if you experience any sore spots or issue within the next few weeks to have the denture adjusted.
If you need a tooth extraction, your dentist may recommend an immediate denture which is also sometimes referred to as a “practice denture.” Patients often wear these to help them get used to having dentures, and also as a temporary replacement during the extraction healing process which can sometimes take weeks or months. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth prior to the extraction and these impressions will be used by a dental lab to create your denture. With an immediate denture, your denture will be ready to wear right after your extractions have been completed. Immediate dentures typically require adjustment and relining, because they were made before any extractions, which can change the shape of your gums and jaw.
The cost of dentures can vary between immediate, full, and partial dentures, and if the denture is for one arch or for both.
If you have dental insurance, your coverage may include a new or replacement set of dentures. Our staff is happy to review your coverage with you to ensure you are maximizing your insurance benefits while minimizing any out of pocket expenses.
Dentures are included in our full range of services, and can be made Fresh Smiles Advanced Orthodontics and Dental Care Clinic.
Generally, dentures should be worn during waking hours, and removed only at night for cleaning and storage. The more you wear your denture, the more quickly you will adapt and adjust to having them. Upper dentures usually fit snugly using natural suction. The lower denture may feel looser because of the shape of the jaw and other factors. You may need to use adhesive to hold your denture firmly in place after a few weeks, but if you experience persistent issues with sore spots or the fit and feel of a denture you had delivered by a dentist at Fresh Smiles Advanced Orthodontics and Dental Care Clinic Family Dental, you are always welcome to come in for a free evaluation and adjustment.
Having dentures takes time to get used to and requires patience, practice, and persistence for patients to feel comfortable and at-ease. Some common adjustments include:
Speaking: You may find that you have difficulty enunciating certain words and making some sounds. This is perfectly normal, and with some practice and patience, you will be back to speaking normally and comfortably.
Eating: You will need to get used to using a side-to-side motion to chew your food, rather than an up and down motion. This also takes practice and persistence to master. Many people who have dentures have found they can generally eat the foods they were able to eat before, especially when making small adaptations such as cutting food into smaller pieces to make it easier to chew.
Physical Appearance: Dentures are an alternative for the absence of teeth, and are made of plastic and acrylic. This means that in general they look and feel different than a dental bridge, for example. Other issues that may arise with a full or partial denture can include food getting under the denture, loose dentures, or a general feeling of fullness in your mouth. Typically, these issues will clear up with future adjustments, along with practice and time to adapt to your denture.
In some cases, 4 or more dental implants may be placed in the jaw. A denture is made that fits over the healing implants, so you are able to wear your dentures during the healing period. Once these implants have healed, the denture can be adjusted to clip directly onto the dentures. The dentures are held firmly in place until you are ready to remove them.
In addition to a major improvement in the comfort, fit, and feel of an implant/overdenture combination, dental implants help to slow or even stop the progression of bone loss over time.
Some patients have either had multiple implants placed, or continued to add dental implants, one by one. Dental bridges and crowns can then be created, with a series of fixed (non-removable) bridges that look and act like regular teeth.