- 1 What Are Immediate Dentures
- 2 Immediate Denture Steps
- 3 Who Can Use Immediate Dentures
- 4 Immediate Dentures Post-Procedure
- 5 Comparisons, Advantages and Disadvantages of Immediate Dentures
- 6 Cost of Immediate Dentures
- 7 Conclusion
It can take a long time to get a denture made. Weeks, even months, can go by before you’ll have your finished, functioning mouth restoration in place. This leaves you with a gummy mouth many people are uncomfortable being seen with in public. It affects self-esteem and self-confidence greatly.
Or at least, for a long time, that was simply the way of it if you wanted dentures.
Today, not so much.
What do we mean?
Today many patients have the option of “immediate dentures”, so they don’t have to worry about being seen around without teeth, and don’t have to wait months for an effective denture to be made.
So what are immediate dentures, and how does the process work?
Let’s take a closer look.
What Are Immediate Dentures
Immediate dentures are simply dentures that are placed into the mouth directly after the teeth have been extracted. They go right over the freshly operated-on gum the moment they can, so you walk out with teeth the same day.
Immediate dentures are made out of acrylic, like most conventional dentures. They can either be used as a permanent denture solution or a temporary one. The latter is more common, as it allows the wearer to have a full set of teeth while their final set is manufactured.
Immediate Denture Steps
Preparation for immediate dentures begins while you still have your remaining teeth.
- Firstly, an impression will be made of your mouth. You’ll also get a bite registration taken, to accurately measure how your teeth come together when you close your mouth.
These impressions and registrations are cast in stone and sent to the lab. Here, the stone casts are positioned together in the closest way possible to your natural bite using the bite registration information and a machine called an articulator.
- Once the cast is in place, the technician shaves off the stone teeth that are due to be removed. This gives them as accurate a view of what your gum line will look like as possible.
- From here, the acrylic denture will be created ready for when your teeth are extracted.
- On the day of the extraction, the denture will be ready for insertion as your teeth are being removed.
Who Can Use Immediate Dentures
Not everyone can get immediate dentures.
Most obviously, people who’ve already had all their teeth extracted can’t get “immediate” dentures, as their teeth are already gone.
For the immediate denture procedure to work, the patient must have enough teeth left in their mouth to make:
- A suitable impression of the teeth.
- A suitable registration of their bite.
If they don’t have enough teeth, or their teeth are in the wrong place to create a proper bite, or if their jaws have already changed shape due to loss of teeth, they won’t be suitable for the procedure.
So long as you meet those criteria, you’re a suitable candidate for immediate dentures.
Since they can be used as temporary fixtures, immediate dentures are ideally suited for those looking for implant-supported dentures. They can sit over the gum after the implants have been placed and are healing over.
With temporary, immediate dentures, you don’t need to worry about a gummy smile while you’re waiting the weeks for the implants to heal and the attachments to be made.
Immediate Dentures Post-Procedure
You should be aware that there will be some discomfort with wearing your immediate dentures at first. The gum has only just been operated on and is understandably tender. The area will be sore when you apply pressure through the dentures.
On the plus side, it should help your gums heal better as it covers the operating sites and gives some level of protection against infection.
It will be necessary to reline the denture a few months after the procedure.
Gums and bone change shape and density as we age. When we leave gaps in our jaw bones from extracting teeth, the bone shrinks to fill the holes. This reshapes the gum on top as well.
Most of this reshaping will take place within the first 3-4 months post-procedure. At that time you’ll need to go back to the dentist to have a new, permanent lining placed in your denture.
Alternatively, you might be using immediate dentures as a temporary option. In this case your new, permanent dentures will be placed at the end of the gum reshaping period instead.
Comparisons, Advantages and Disadvantages of Immediate Dentures
Immediate dentures are just one of many types of dentures available on the market. We’ll quickly look over some of the alternatives, and then at the pros and cons of immediate dentures themselves.
Alternatives to Immediate Dentures
Firstly it should be noted that there is no comparison to immediate dentures in terms of speed and effectiveness.
- Economy dentures are the closest in terms of speed, but these are off-the-shelf models that are intended as one-size-fits-all. They’re not shaped to your gum as much as proper immediate dentures, and they’re of lower quality.
- Custom dentures allow great precision and individualization of the dentures to suit your personal tastes. They take longer to manufacture due to their custom nature, but are of the highest quality amongst dentures.
- Metal alloy dentures use chrome cobalt as their base instead of acrylic. This provides generally better support, particularly on the upper arch. The metal alloy is sturdier and doesn’t come as loose so easily. A downside is that the metal also doesn’t fit as snugly to the roof of the mouth, which can irritate many people.
- Implant-stabilized and implant-supported dentures are fantastic options for those whose mouths can support dental implants. Rather than resting on gums — or even remaining teeth — implant-based dentures use dental implants to stay in place. For stability and durability there’s no better alternative than an implant supported denture.
Most of the above, except the economy dentures, require some manufacturing and designing time to go into them. Immediate dentures allow wearers to have a temporary set of teeth they can use while they wait for their permanent solutions to undergo their many stage production processes.
Advantages of Immediate Dentures
- The advantage of immediate dentures is to remove the downtime between teeth being extracted, and you having a functional mouth again.
This is a great boost to wearer’s self-esteem and self-confidence. They don’t need to feel self-conscious about the state of their mouths when they can have immediate dentures in place to fill the gap.
- The materials used in immediate dentures are basically the same as those used in conventional dentures. They’re no more or less stable or durable, they’re just faster into the mouth.
- Immediate dentures are also great as temporary options while other denture types get manufactured.
This is particularly the case for those after very realistic, or custom, dentures which need to be based on your gums after they’ve shrunk to their resting size.
Disadvantages of Immediate Dentures
While the speed of getting the denture into the mouth is its own advantage, it does come with some drawbacks.
- Cosmetically, you don’t have much choice about what the denture will look like. Custom dentures and more time-consuming denture systems give you the opportunity to fine-tune the appearance of your denture to suit your needs.
- With immediate dentures, you still get to choose the size, shape, and color of the teeth, but you have little time to consider it and you’ll be stuck with the decision without much opportunity to amend it.
- Wearing dentures immediately after extraction will result in discomfort. The gum is still raw and tender for the operation and you’re immediately putting something in your mouth to rub against it.
How painful this is will depend on a few things — how many teeth were removed, how sensitive you are — but all things being equal will be much less pleasant than waiting for the gum to heal.
- Another drawback is that the gum will continue to reshape itself for several months after extraction. Bone moves, grows, and shrinks over time. When you leave spaces in the bone where tooth roots used to be, the bone will shrink and take the gum down with it.
Because of this, immediate dentures must be relined within 3-4 months of the procedure. There’s simply no way to avoid it without the denture becoming unstable, and potentially jeopardizing the healing of your jaw.
Cost of Immediate Dentures
Immediate dentures are slightly more expensive than traditional dentures. This cost can range from $100-$300 more than their conventional counterparts — so about $1500-$3000 per upper or lower denture.
Immediate dentures are a wonderful option for those who need to get denture work. Whether you want to use them as a fast, immediate solution, or as a temporary measure for future work, they provide a wealth of opportunities and benefits for many denture patients.