Old Teeth to New Dentures: The experience and process

Written By Dr. Kyle Griffith

One of the most difficult transitions for dental patients is the transition from having teeth to having a denture.  Even though the old teeth might be worn out, broken down, and plagued with problems the transition to a denture can very easily be challenging to adapt to.

One area that I find patients have a lot of questions about is time.  “Doc, how long till I can get my teeth back?”  The answer is straightforward.  A transitional denture will be delivered at the time of tooth removal. My question to the patient is this though, “How well do you want the final denture to fit?”

You see the problem isn’t getting teeth back into the mouth.  The real question is do you, as the patient, want to get the best possible long-term denture?  If you answer yes to this great!  Let’s talk a little about the process. 

When teeth are removed there is significant healing that has to take place in the mouth.  The first few months are when the majority of these changes to the soft and hard tissue take place.  In short, the jaws remodel themselves.  This is where a lot of dental patients get stuck.  They have a “final” denture made before their jaws have become “stable” after surgery.  This means that inevitably the fit of the denture will become quickly ill-fitting due to the major changes in the shape of the supporting jaws.  

  • Fact: The jaws support the dentures.  Changes to the jaws decrease the support and stability of the dentures. 

So how can we fix this? The solution is relatively simple but takes time.  First, a transitional denture is made to act as a Band-Aid and provide the patient with a nice smile and teeth to chew with.   Remember this is a transitional denture only!  The patient will wear this denture from 6-12 months while the jawbones remodel.  

Once enough time has passed and the jawbones have remodeled to a significant extent the final denture is made.   The tissue and bone are stable.  Any major discrepancies were identified in the transitional denture.   Finally, the foundation is set to create a great looking, long lasting, functional final denture.  Yes, this process takes more time, but it is the only way to create a predictable long-term outcome for our patients.

If you have questions about dentures please don’t hesitate to speak with one of the team members at 58 Dental in Denver, Colorado.  We would be pleased to hear from you.  

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Tony F
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