Everything you need to know about Full or Complete Dentures
Complete dentures are for edentulous patients or those without any teeth left. These are also commonly referred to as full dentures or false teeth. The process of fabricating a denture usually begins with an initial upper and lower dental impression. Standard impression materials are used during the process. The initial impression is used to create a simple stone model that represents the maxillary and mandibular arches of the patient's mouth. This is not a detailed impression at this stage.
Once the initial impression is taken, the stone model is used to create a 'Custom Impression Tray' which is used to take a second and much more detailed and accurate impression of the patient's maxillary and mandibular ridges. The next step is for the lab to fabricate a wax rim. A wax rim is fabricated to assist the dentist in establishing the vertical dimension of occlusion. After this, a bite registration is created to match the position of one arch to the other - to ensure there is a proper bite.
Once the relative position of each arch to the other is known, the wax rim can be used as a base to place the selected denture teeth in correct position. The lab will then send back a wax try in with teeth. This arrangement of teeth is tested in the mouth so that adjustments can be made to the occlusion. After the occlusion has been verified by the dentist and the patient, and all aesthetic requirements are met, the denture is processed. The patient will consult with the doctor on which shade of tooth and which shade of acrylic material works best for them.
The entire denture process usually takes 3-4 visits because each step gets sent to the lab for manufacturing.
What to expect during the procedure
The process of fabricating Dentures is often daunting for patients. Naturally they do not wish to be walking around without teeth any longer than they have to. It is important to understand that the process can not be rushed. While the final dentures are being fabricated, we can make the patient immediate dentures so that they have something to hold them over. It must be mentioned however that immediate full dentures are not intended to fit perfectly. They are designed to be aesthetic place holders so that the patient is not walking around without teeth.
Typically, the entire process for Full Dentures takes 1.5 - 2 months for completion. This may vary from time to time depending on the labs schedule. Patients must understand that in order for the dentures to really fit perfectly, we can not skip any steps as each step is important to the final fitting and finish of the dentures.