Full Dentures

What is a complete denture?

Candidates for complete dentures have lost all of their teeth. A denture improves chewing ability, speech, and provides support for facial muscles. It will greatly enhance the facial appearance and smile. You can have a full denture on your upper or lower jaw, or both. 

Complete dentures are called “conventional” or “immediate” according to when they are made and when they are inserted into the mouth. Immediate dentures are inserted immediately after the removal of the remaining teeth. To make this possible, the dentist takes measurements and makes the models of the patient`s jaws during a preliminary visit. 

An advantage of immediate dentures is that the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums can shrink over time, especially during the period of healing in the first six months after the removal of teeth. When gums shrink, immediate dentures may require rebasing or relining to fit properly. A conventional denture can then be made once the tissues have healed. Healing may take at least 6-8 weeks.

How is a complete denture made?

The process of making a complete denture takes about 1 month is 5 visits with Dr. Levine.  Diagnostic molds need to be taken, which are used to make a custom fit impression tray for a second set of impressions.  After an accurate model has been made, wax rims are used to test the patient’s speech, lip support, outline the esthetic zone, and optain the verticle dimensions of the mouth.  The lab technition uses the information from the wax rims to set the teeth.  The patient returns for an estehtic try-in to evaluate the color and positioning of the teeth.  Once the patient approves of the esthetics,  the denture is completed at the dental laboratory using the “lost wax” technique. A mold of the wax-up complete denture is made, the wax is removed and the remaining space is filled with pink plastic in dough form. The mold is then heated to harden the plastic. The denture is then polished and ready for wear.

How long will a denture last?

Over time denture teeth wear, the bone supporting the dentures recedes, the smile disappears and the face is no longer supported properly. In addition, the lower jaw moves forward and the height between the chin and the nose decreases.

The average life span for a denture is five to seven years. After that there is usually enough change in the supporting structures to warrant either a new denture or a relining of the denture to make it fit the tissues properly. If greater retention is needed, extra retention can be added with the addition of traditional dental implants  or mini implants and conversion of the case to an implant overdenture.