What are dentures and how are they made?
There are two general approaches to the fabrication of new dentures. If the patient is already missing all of their teeth or is wearing a denture, then the conventional approach is generally six visits.
If teeth are present and the patient does not wish to be without teeth, then the denture can be made in advance and delivered to the patient when the remaining teeth are extracted. That is termed an immediate denture.
The Visits Include:
Visit 1 — Initial Evaluation and Preliminary Impressions
- Before making new dentures we will review your medical and previous dental history, exam your mouth for any soft tissue problems and generally take a panoramic radiograph (x-ray) that shows us all of the bone under the gums so that we know the foundation on which we will make your denture.
- The second part of the oral examination will evaluate your mouth for all of the needed landmarks that we use to determine the extension and the borders that your denture will cover. The shape of the residual ridges of bone and their height and width will play a factor in designing your new dentures.
- Any existing dentures will be evaluated. The height of the bite of the dentures will be recorded. The extension of the denture borders will be reviewed. The shade and shape and position of the existing denture teeth will be evaluated and help us to decide together which teeth to select for your new dentures.
- Preliminary impressions will be made of your gums and of your existing dentures, if that would be helpful to our lab technicians.
Visit 2 — Final Impressions
- Final impression trays will be made from the casts made from the preliminary impressions.
- These trays will be tried in and adjusted as necessary.
- Border molding will be done, generally with a warm molding compound to capture the denture peripheral borders.
- A final impression will then be made inside the trays.
Visit 3 — Determining how the jaws relate to one another.
- From the final impressions, a master cast of each jaw will be made. This is a precise duplicate of the area of your gums and jaws that will support the dentures.
- A record base will be made in the lab so that we can determine how your jaws relate to each other at rest and when you will have your new teeth.
- The wax rims will be adjusted until you are comfortable.
- A precise record will be made of how you bite.
- We will also make a decision at this visit on the shade, shape and position of the teeth that the lab will set on the trial denture bases.
Visit 4 — Try In the Trial Dentures and Verify the Shade, Shape and Position of the Teeth
This is a critical visit, as it allows us to verify all of the steps we have worked hard to accomplish with precision.
- The shade and shape of the teeth will be examined.
- The individualization of the position of the teeth will be done. At this stage the teeth are set on the record base in a pink wax. No two people have the same smile. We will work together to decide if the teeth produce a great smile. Some people have distinctive characteristics of their teeth. A tooth is rotated or slighted out of alignment. These types of variation can be incorporated in the new dentures. For some people, they have always hated that one tooth was longer, or darker, or tipped and we can make your teeth make you look subtly more youthful by the way we set up and position the teeth.
- We may also alter the casts to improve the posterior palatal seal on the denture.
Sometimes, there are enough things that have to be modified at this stage that we take two visits for this step.
Visit 5 — Receiving your New Teeth
- At this visit, you will receive your new teeth on a trial basis. The teeth will have been processed to the casts with a special, high impact acrylic that simulated the gum tissue in appearance. Often, we have asked the lab to make precise carving of the gum tissues.
- We will check on the fit of the dentures to the gums for comfort and stability and retention.
- The bite will be evaluated and refined to precision and comfort.
- We will review the exact instructions on the care of your new teeth.