A complete denture, or denture as it is often called, is a removable prosthetic appliance that replaces all teeth in a given dental arch. In addition to replacing all of the teeth, a complete denture provides support for the lips and cheeks.
Complete Dentures are usually made of a pink acrylic with teeth embedded in the acrylic. The two most common ways in which a denture is fabricated are:
With a conventional denture, all remaining teeth are removed and approximately four weeks is allowed for the gum tissue to heal before beginning fabrication of the complete denture. This means that no teeth will be present from the date the teeth are removed to the date the dentures are inserted. This time frame includes the healing phase of approximately four weeks and the time it takes the lab to fabricate the denture(s). Sometimes a reline of the internal surface of the denture is necessary around the six month mark as dictated by the fit of the denture(s).
Here, all back teeth are removed and any remaining front teeth are left to be removed on the day the dentures are ready to be inserted. Fabrication of begins roughly between 1-4 weeks after the back teeth are removed depending on how quickly the gum tissue heals.
Once the completed dentures are received from the dental lab, any remaining front teeth are removed and the dentures are inserted on the same day while the tissues are allowed to heal under the denture. A reline of the internal surface of the dentures is usually required six months after the delivery date. This approach to denture fabrication alleviates the need to go an extended period without having any teeth.
Denture teeth can be made of plastic, porcelain or a combination thereof. Dentures can be fabricated to attached to dental implants to allow for a more secure fit and even though it is less common, they may also be fabricated to seat over root canal treated teeth. We would be happy to discuss which options are best for a given situation at an evaluation appointment.
It is normal for dentures to wear over time and typically need to be replaced or relined in order for proper fit, optimal esthetics and to keep the jaw alignment normal. The fit of the denture may slowly change as bone and gum tissues recede or shrink due after having teeth removed. Regular dental examinations are still important for the denture wearer so that the oral tissues can be checked for disease or change.