Categories of Dentures
Before we talk about the process, we should briefly discuss the different types of dentures available. Generally speaking, there are two categories of dentures to choose from: traditional removable dentures, and implant-supported non-removable dentures.
- Traditional removable dentures are made of two plates (and upper and a bottom plate) that are equipped with a full set of replacement teeth. The plates sit directly on the patient’s gums and typically require some type of adhesive in order to fit snugly and securely throughout the day. At night, the patient removes the dentures and soaks them in either water or a denture solution overnight until they’re ready to be worn again the next day. Within this category of traditional dentures, there are two types available:
- Conventional dentures – These are fitted onto the patient’s gums after the gums have completely healed from tooth extraction.
- Immediate dentures – These are fitted directly onto the patient’s gums immediately after the teeth are extracted. Although these are usually intended to be worn temporarily and only until the permanent dentures are ready, some people can live with immediate dentures for extended periods of time.
- Implant-supported non-removable dentures are held in place with dental implants. An implant consists of a tiny metal post that is inserted into the patient’s jawbone. Over time, the implant fuses to the patient’s bone tissue, forming a permanent artificial tooth root. After that, the dentist affixes an artificial tooth to the top of the post. The result is a fully functioning tooth that looks, feels and works just like a natural tooth. Just as the name implies, implant-supported dentures are attached to dental implants that are strategically placed inside the patient’s mouth. This type of denture is intended to be permanent and non-removable by the patient. Another type of implant-supported denture is a “snap-on” denture, named for the fact that it literally snaps onto implants, and snaps off. The main difference in these two types is that the snap-on denture is removable, while the other type of implant-supported denture is not.
Since the steps involved in getting a complete set of dentures varies greatly depending on which category you choose, this article will focus on traditional removable dentures. This more conventional appliance is not only the most common, but also the least costly of the two categories.
The Process Involved in Getting a Complete Set of Dentures
No matter what type of denture you decide on, the first step will be to schedule an examination and consultation with your dentist. He or she will help you decide which kind of denture is best for you. This will be determined based on factors like the current state of your oral health, your personal lifestyle and daily habits, as well as your budget. What follows are details of each step in the process of getting a new set of traditional removable dentures.
- An oral exam – As we mentioned above, the first step is an oral exam performed in your dentist’s office. During this exam, your dentist will look for signs of infection or any other issues that need to be resolved before moving forward. If you need to have teeth extracted, your dentist will likely schedule those visits as well. After these initial steps are complete, you’re ready to move onto the next step in the process.
- Creating a mold – Your dentist will make a mold of your mouth that will be used to create your new set of dentures. This involves making very precise measurements to ensure that your dentures fit as securely and comfortably as possible.
- Immediate dentures (optional) – Patients who need to have their teeth extracted may choose “immediate dentures” which are dentures that are fitted directly onto the gums after the teeth are extracted and before the gum tissue heals. Traditional removable dentures are typically fitted onto already-healed gum tissue. The advantage in immediate dentures is that the patient doesn’t need to live without teeth while their gums heal. Immediate dentures are usually considered to be a temporary measure until your permanent dentures are ready. To find out more about immediate dentures, talk to your dentist.
- Fitting the dentures – After the dental lab has finished with your permanent dentures, you’ll return to the dentist’s office for the fitting appointment. Your dentist will check to make sure that your dentures fit as securely as possible, and will make whatever adjustments are necessary during this visit.
Adjusting to Life with Dentures
Although you might experience some amount of discomfort and irritation during the initial adjustment period, before long you’ll be completely comfortable with your new set of dentures and ready to return to your normal daily routine. For more information about the process involved in getting a complete set of dentures, contact your Austin, Texas dentist today.