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Treatment Information

Dentures

Types of DenturesStandard

Standard dentures are made for people who are already missing all their teeth. A full denture is the artificial replacement of all teeth. You could have a full top denture (on the roof your mouth) and/or a full bottom denture.

The top denture relies on suction to retain it and the hardness of the underlying tissues for its stability. The back of a standard denture ends just behind the hard bone in the roof of the mouth. They are made this way because they require as much surface area as possible to maximize retention and stability.

For people with a strong gag reflex, the back of the denture can be cut forward making the denture base look more and more like an arch. However, the more it is cut back, the less stable and retentive it will be.

Typically, it takes at least four appointments to make and fit your set of standard dentures. Below, we have outlined the steps that usually take place at each appointment.

Appointment 1
At the first appointment you will have an oral exam, which might also include x-rays. Your dentist will make an impression of your upper and lower gums, which are called edentulous ridges. The impressions will be used to make accurate plaster models of the shape and size of the edentulous ridges. At this time your dentist will also determine other considerations, such as shade, size and shape of the teeth that will be placed on the new dentures. 


Sometimes, the dentist will recommend surgical alteration of the ridges to remove flabby tissue that could interfere with the stability of the denture. Surgery might also be recommended to alter the shape of the underlying bone allowing for a better fit for your dentures. In most cases surgery is not essential, but can create the conditions for a much more satisfactory final denture. Alterations like this are generally money well spent! 


Appointment 2
At your second appointment, the dentist will determine several factors that will affect the ultimate fit of your dentures. This includes how long to make the teeth, the plane of the tooth setup (when you smile, the teeth should be parallel to a line between the pupils of your eyes), and the correct relationship of the upper and lower teeth so that when you bite together, the upper and lower teeth line up correctly. This is done using a loose-fitting denture base and a rim of wax to approximate the position of the teeth.

Your dentist will make several adjustments and take a variety of measurements to make sure everything works together properly. For example, your dentist will adjust both the upper and lower wax rims in your mouth so that you can speak properly without the wax rims "clicking" together and so that the upper and lower rims fit together evenly. Ideally, the wax rim should be visible slightly below your lip when the lip is at rest. When you smile, the position of the lip is marked in the wax to help the lab decide which set of teeth is appropriate for you. Once all of these relationships are correct, the rims are sent to the lab where they are used to fabricate the wax try-in.

Appointment 3
This is an exciting part of the process! You will be able to see how the denture looks and works before committing to the setup. This is done using the wax try-in. This is the same loose-fitting tray that was used to make all the adjustments and markings, but now it has the actual plastic teeth in it, lined up along the outer edge of the wax rim. The wax try-in looks just like a real denture, except that the base fits loosely on the gums and the teeth are embedded in wax instead of plastic.

Using the wax try-in, you will be able to see what your final dentures will be like. At this point, if something is wrong, it can still be changed. If the teeth look too long, if there's clicking when you talk, or if the midline is wrong, all of these problems (and more) can be corrected. The denture simply needs to go back to the lab. There, the technician can melt the wax and reset the teeth to specification.

When you finally have a wax try-in that looks right and feels right, it will be sent back to the lab to be finalized.

Appointment 4
At this appointment you will be able to leave with your new dentures! The plastic material used to make the dentures will shrink somewhat while being processed, so some adjustment is usually necessary. However, at the end of your appointment, you will have comfortable and attractive new teeth – get ready to smile!