What Are Dentures?

When patients lose some or all of their teeth, they may receive prosthetic teeth, commonly known as dentures. When tooth removal is indidcated, immediate dentures or a temporary partial denture may be placed the day of surgery in order for the patient to never have to go without teeth.  These dentures are designed for healing with the intent of a permanent replacement 3-6 months after.

Dentures may be complete or partial, removable or fixed to implants. Complete dentures replace all of the teeth in either the mandibular arch (lower jaw) or maxillary arch (upper jaw), or both.  Surrounding tissues help anchor them during the day, and you take them out when you go to bed.  Fixed dentures, dental implants, or “all on four” procedure actually replace the tooth root to help stabilize the denture and preserve the jaw bone.  In some situations patients are unable to wear dentures in particular lower dentures due to bone loss or gag relex.  For these situations, dental implants may be recommended.

What Are the Advantages of Dentures?

Dentures are made to improve appearance and function including eating and speaking. 

People lose their teeth for a variety of reasons, including tooth decay, periodontal disease, age, trauma, and genetic defects. Tooth loss causes a variety of issues that dentures help treat.

For many, appearance is the number one reason to get dentures. Missing teeth often cause an unnatural appearance, such as sunken cheeks and collapsed lips. Patients often avoid smiling, or try to cover their mouths when they speak. Dentures correct these issues, and usually improve the patient’s self-esteem.

Patients also feel more confident speaking, as dentures help improve pronunciation, especially if the patient lost his or her anterior teeth.  Although dentures have limitations, eating and chewing can be easier with dentures.

How Are Removable Complete Immediate and Permanent Dentures Made?

Immediate dentures are made prior to teeth removal with impressions 1-2 weeks prior.  Immediate dentures are on hand before tooth removal, placed immediately following extraction, with adjustments occurring during the healing process.

After 3-6 months a new permanent denture or lab reline will be strongly recommended for the patient due to changes after healing.

To create permanent dentures, two dental impressions are taken. The first creates a simple model with little detail. Then the model is used to take the second impression, which provides the detail necessary to create your dentures.  Next, a bite or jaw relation is recorded then the dentures are “previewed” in wax.  Once the denturist or dentist and the patient are satisfied with the apperance the final denture is processed and delivered.  Typically 3-5 visits and 2-3 weeks are needed to create the permanent dentures.  Once the dentures are delivered, minor adjustments are expected and covered for the first year in general.  Typically, the lifespan of a permanent denture can last up to 5-8 years with proper maintenance.  Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned daily.

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