Dentures are replacements for missing teeth that can be taken out of the mouth. Dentures are a replacement for having no teeth, and cannot be compared to having a full set of natural teeth to eat and speak with. Dentures have A LOT of limitations and can only restore function to 10-20%.
New dentures take a lot of practice and work to get used to. A bulky and loose feeling is not uncommon while your muscles and tongue learn to hold the denture in place. An upper denture will cover the roof of your mouth while the lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to accommodate your tongue.
There are two types of dentures that the doctor may recommend to you. An “immediate” or healing denture is inserted immediately after the remaining teeth are extracted. The immediate denture will allow you to go out and have teeth, and offer the benefit of never having to be without your teeth however esthetics and fit will not be ideal. The bone and gums supporting the denture will be heavily remodeling while wearing the immediate denture, causing it to become loose and uncomfortable quickly in the days and weeks following surgery. The immediate dentures will be worn for a few months until healing is complete and the conventional denture is ready to be fabricated.
The immediate denture takes 2 visits to fabricate. At the first visit, the doctor will take an “impression” (mold) of your teeth and gums. During the second visit, usually during the time of teeth extractions, the doctor will deliver the denture and adjust the fit as best as possible.
A conventional denture is fabricated once healing is complete. These dentures are generally more comfortable and esthetic than the immediate dentures, however it will still take time to get used to and will NEVER feel like having a full mouth of natural teeth.
The conventional denture takes 5 visits to fabricate. At the first visit, the doctor will take an impression of the gums to create a “custom tray.” At the second visit, the doctor will take a detailed impression using those custom trays to capture as much detail as possible from the gums. At the third visit, the doctor will capture your ideal bite and ask what color you wish for your new teeth to be. At the fourth visit, the doctor will confirm esthetics and the bite. At this visit, the teeth are held in by wax and may feel very bulky and loose. At the fifth and last visit, the doctor will deliver the denture(s) to you. After the denture(s) is/are delivered to you, you will need some adjustments.
Sore areas, known as “sore spots,” are very normal in the denture process and will require adjustment of the denture(s). Any removable appliance will collect food underneath, this is why we recommend removing them after every meal and to sleep so they can be cleaned.
Sometimes denture adhesive is needed to give them more stability if desired. Since they still and rub on the gums, adjustments are necessary after taking them home and trying them out. Remember, there is no dental appliance that will ever feel and work just like our natural teeth.