If all your teeth are missing, or if the teeth you have are so severely damaged that they need to be removed, you may need dentures as the best way to improve your appearance and your oral health. Don’t be deterred by the cost. There are many options for affordable dentures, and you can learn about them by asking your dentist or your health benefits administrator.
Dentists will work with you to preserve your natural teeth if at all possible, rather than extract them, but sometimes complete dentures are the only way to provide the appearance of teeth and facilitate eating and speaking.
Getting permanent, full dentures takes about three to six weeks. The denture-making process involves several dental appointments and follows these steps:
- Impressions Your dentist takes several impressions of your jaw and measures the space in your mouth.
- Models Your dentist makes a mold of wax or plastic in the exact shape of the denture so you can try it and make any adjustments to the color, shape, and fit before the permanent dentures are made.
- Cast The final dentures are cast, and then adjusted as necessary.
When you first receive your permanent dentures, your dentist may recommend that you wear them 24 hours a day, even while sleeping, because this is the easiest and quickest way to determine whether there are any spots that need adjustment. It’s important to ensure a good fit right away, because poorly fitting dentures can be irritating to the gums.
Once you have adjusted to the dentures, you can remove them at night to allow normal stimulation of the gum tissues by the tongue and saliva, which helps keep your gum tissue healthy.