Dentures are one way of replacing a missing tooth or missing teeth. They are usually made of acrylic or cobalt-chromium and in most cases are removable. There are some circumstances where dentures can be fixed to implants, but the majority of patients do not currently have this.
Dentures can take 5 or more appointments to make, to get them just right and there are several different types, some of which I have summarised below.
Immediate dentures – made to be fitted immediately after an extraction, usually do not fit as well as conventional dentures however they require fewer appointments to make. Most people who have an immediate denture require a new one in around 6 months, or at least to have it relined to improve the fit
Copy dentures – copy dentures are an almost exact copy of existing dentures, however some features can be changed. For example if you are happy with the fit of the denture but would prefer slightly differently shaped or coloured teeth, a copy denture might be the best option for you
Partial denture – a denture replacing some, but not all the teeth
Complete denture – a denture replacing all the teeth
Implant supported denture – a denture resting over dental implants to improve the security/fit
Implant retained denture – a denture held in place by dental implants, sometimes screwed on other times clipped
Appointments include impressions of your teeth using a soft material that is inserted into a tray and placed in your mouth. This sets hard and provides a mould of your teeth or gums for the dentist to send to the laboratory. It is likely custom impression trays will be made so that your dentist can take another set of impressions, to get even more accurate models to build your new denture on. Once the laboratory has the models, they will probably make wax blocks to try in your mouth. The dentist uses this to decide where the teeth should be positioned and to check the denture isn’t going to dig in to the gums. These things can be adjusted at a later stage but it is ideal to get this as accurate as possible early on. Once the wax is sorted, the next step is to add teeth to the wax, as a try in stage. Other equipment may be used and other stages can be added depending on the specific case.