We enjoy replacing teeth with dentures, but learning to wear dentures can be a challenge. It is important to understand that a denture is an artificial replacement. Just like other artificial replacements some people are successful in learning how to use their new prosthesis and others struggle to adapt. Think about an artificial leg. We have all seen individuals with artificial legs learn to run, and even ski. We have also seen or heard of others that struggle to learn to use their artificial leg and instead choose to use a wheelchair. Just like an artificial leg, there are some patients that learn to successfully use dentures, and some that do not. The literature suggests that as many as 50% of denture wearers do not regularly wear their dentures. How a denture fits and functions is of paramount importance in improving your chances for success with adapting to a new denture. There are a many ways to fabricate dentures. Some involve as little as 2 appointments and other involve as many as 10. We believe that a commitment to making sure that dentures fit well, and look great requires time and effort. So depending on your case, the number of appointments necessary to fabricate your denture will vary.
We look forward to answering your questions about dentures and helping you, if needed.
What follows are some commonly asked questions about dentures.
How do the dentists at Legacy Dental make dentures?
The first step in making dentures is to have a thorough exam to see if you are a candidate for dentures. There are many patients who believe that dentures are their only option. Many times these patients have more choices than they think. But even if you already have dentures, or will need dentures. It is important to evaluate the bone and the gums where the denture will rest. If there are bumps, ridges, swollen or irritated tissue, those areas must be corrected to allow the denture to fit well.
Following an exam, generally impressions or molds are made. A second appointment is sometimes necessary to to take a second impression or mold with a custom-fabricated tray (the thing that holds the impression material). Some patients have trouble with gagging during impression-making. We have training in techniques to make this process more comfortable, including sedation, acupuncture, and use of the gate-control theory (distraction). An accurate impression, is the most important step of making a denture. A denture can only fit as well as the impression.
Following an accurate impression, a 2nd appointment is made to record the bite, choose the color or shade of the teeth, and discuss the tooth shape and position. Looking at photographs together with the dentist can help in restoring your smile to a time when you were proud of your smile. We also have software on an ipad that we use to help you choose the shape of your teeth, if you've never been happy with your smile. We also take photographs at this stage. This helps us communicate with our lab. You've probably seen dentures that look bad. Usually it's because the teeth look too long, or they don't show. This usually happens because the lab doesn't have the benefit of seeing how the denture will appear in the person's face. Photographs help solve this.
A 3rd appointment is then made to try-in the denture. At this stage the denture is made from wax. This allows for changes to position of the teeth, and the bite. This helps to make sure that everything done in the 2nd step was correct. If not, additional appointments for try-in will be made until you are happy with the appearance.
The next step, is to place or deliver the dentures. At this point we will double-check the fit and the bite and make any initial adjustments.
Finally, we generally see our denture patients every week until everything is fitting and feeling correct. This can take 1-6 more visits and is included in the fees for the fabrication of the denture.
How long will it take to have a denture made?
Normally the process to make dentures takes about 2-3 weeks. We can complete the process more quickly if needed, and have even made dentures in 24 hours. This RUSH service carries an additional fee. A temporary partial denture (sometimes called a flipper) that replaces one or a few teeth can usually be made the same day or in a 24 hour period.
Do dentures hurt?
Wearing dentures can hurt. If the denture does not fit correctly, the denture will rub on the sensitive gums and cause a sore spot. Oftentimes, that area can be adjusted on the denture by a dentist. If the bite is incorrect, the denture will move when chewing this can cause rubbing and a sore spot. A dentist may be able to adjust the bite, as long as the dentures were made correctly. It may also mean that the dentures may need to be remade. Finally, if your denture is too loose, it will move rubbing and causing a sore spot. A loose denture might be corrected by relining or refitting the denture, or it might need to be remade.
Will I need to use denture adhesive?
Maybe. Depending on the shape of your bone and gums, tongue, and cheeks you may or may not need to use a denture adhesive. Even a well-fitting denture can sometimes be more comfortable to wear with adhesive, especially, when one is first getting used to their new teeth. If you find, even with adhesive you have a difficult time wearing your dentures, dental implants may solve some of your problems with wearing a denture.
How long will dentures last?
If a person takes good care of their denture, it should last for at least 5 years. Most times dentures will last many years longer than that. Oftentimes, dentures can be relined or refitted and their life extended. To make sure your denture lasts as long as possible, you should:
- Have an exam each year to check your bone and gums, bite, and the denture.
- Don't ever adjust your denture yourself.
- Be careful not to drop your dentures especially in the sink. The hard porcelain of the sink can chip or break your dentures.
- Clean your dentures following our recommendations. Using harsh chemicals or abrasives will shorten the life of your dentures.
- Keep your dentures away from pets. Dogs, especially, love to use dentures as chew toys.
How much do dentures cost?
This can be a little tricky because dentures can be used in so many different ways and sometimes additional procedures are needed to properly place and restore dentures. But generally a denture costs about $1200-1500 per arch or $2400-3000 for both top and bottom.
There are many payment options available to make dental implants fit your budget.
Does dental insurance pay for dentures?
Most do. We will find out exactly what benefit you might have for replacement of your missing teeth with dental implants.
What are alternatives to dentures?
- Dental implants
- Keeping your own teeth