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The Denture Process from Start to Finish: A Complete Overview

Getting dentures can be a daunting prospect, it’s true. Your teeth are an incredibly important part of your body, so the choice to transition over to dentures is not an easy one.

In this guide, we’ll be covering all aspects of the denture process from start to finish, including considerations before going in, each individual step, and any common queries you may have during it. By the end, you should be more than familiar with the process and ready to make an informed decision regarding your denture needs.

Things to consider before starting the denture process

Before beginning the denture process, it is best to first consider a number of key aspects. This will ensure you get the best possible picture of how the process will play out, alleviating you of any potential surprise or stress throughout. These considerations include the following:

Dental health

It is no surprise that dentures and dental health go hand-in-hand. If you have any pre-existing dental issues, such as decay or gum disease, it would be better to address these beforehand. (Patients with natural dentition remaining will need a prescription from a dentist sent/given to the CDT completing any dentures for them, so a dentist will need to have seen the patient a maximum of 6 months prior to coming to a CDT for dentures). This will give you a stable foundation for the dentures and minimises the risk of any future complications. Good dental health also contributes to overall well-being and reduces the likelihood of systemic health issues.

Expectations

When it comes to dentures, it is only normal for your expectations to be high. However, getting familiar with the benefits and limitations of the process beforehand will remove any misunderstandings of how it works and what it offers. Whilst dentures can significantly improve chewing, speaking, and appearance, they may not feel exactly like natural teeth. Importantly, you need to understand that there may be an adjustment period and that your dentures will require maintenance, so it won’t be an instant switch from day one.

Price

Dentures are a significant financial investment and one that should be assessed wisely. These will become a daily part of your life, so proper investment is key. Dentures can vary in price depending on factors such as materials used and complexity of the treatment. This is why many clinical dental technicians (dental technicians cannot make dentures direct to a patient, only CDTs can do this) cannot give you a set price from the get go, as they will need to assess your situation and plan accordingly.

Time 

The denture process is not a case of meeting once and getting your new dentures there and then. It will involve several appointments spread over a number of weeks. This means you will need to allocate time for consultations, impressions, fittings, and adjustments. Understanding the time commitment allows you to plan accordingly, ensuring that you can attend all necessary appointments without rushing the process. 

Comfort

The most important factor when it comes to dentures is comfort. They should be comfortable and have minimal impact on your day-to-day life. Ill-fitting or uncomfortable dentures can cause irritation, soreness, and difficulty chewing or speaking. Ultimately, comfort should be valued above all else.

The denture process

Now that you’re familiar with what to expect, let’s now dive into the actual denture process from start to finish.

1. Consultation and examination

The first stage of the denture process is meeting with a clinical dental technician to start planning ahead. This initial appointment involves a thorough examination of your mouth, gums, and any remaining teeth.

This appointment involves a full consultation – discussing all available options relevant to the patient and advising the patient on how to achieve the best outcome. We also make sure the patient is aware of the limitations of dentures and understands that dentures do not work the same way as natural teeth.

Here, you’ll have the opportunity to share your dental history, including any past procedures or concerns you may have. If you have any remaining natural dentition, you will need to see a dentist for an oral health examination and denture prescription prior to having dentures made. The dentist will assess your oral health and discuss the possibility of dentures as a treatment option.

2. Treatment plan

At this point, your CDT will start to develop a treatment plan for your dentures. Based on the findings from your initial consultation and examination, your dentist will collaborate with the CDT to outline  the necessary steps to address any dental issues and achieve your desired outcomes. This plan may include details such as:

  • the type of dentures you (i.e. what type of materials to use and denture design)
  • preparatory dental work required (such as extractions or gum treatments)
  • an estimated timeline for the process

The CDT will take into account factors such as your overall oral health and jaw structure when creating the treatment plan and design of the dentures.

3. Impressions

The CDT will take alginate impressions of the patient’s upper and lower jaw using average stock impression trays. The CDT will choose the correct size tray for the patient at this appointment. These impressions are then cast using plaster to create models of the patient’s mouth. These models are then used to make the prosthetics for the next few stages of the denture process

4. Bite registration and custom tray impressions

This appointment involves placing a wax block in the patient’s mouth to find the correct height for that patient’s upper and lower jaw relationship. This bite registration allows the CDT to find the optimal height and fit before adding teeth to the wax block for the next appointment. The second impressions are taken using a custom made impression tray, made to the exact dimensions of the patient’s mouth using the model cast from the previous impressions. This allows us to have the best possible, accurate impression on which to make the dentures.

5. Wax try-in 

This appointment involves the patient trying a wax replica of their dentures. This is to make sure the teeth are all set up in the correct bite position and for the patient to make any changes to the look of the dentures (tooth colour, staining or other characteristics). This appointment is crucial as once the patient has made the decision to finish the dentures, no further changes can be made. At this stage, we tell all patients to make sure they are 100% happy with how the dentures look and feel before confirming for us to move forward. Once the patient is happy with the dentures at this stage the CDT can then process the dentures into the final materials.

6. Final fitting 

After adjustments have been made, the CDT will now fit your dentures. The technician may make final adjustments as needed to ensure the dentures fit perfectly and provide optimal comfort and function. Once both you and the technician are satisfied with the fit and appearance of the dentures, you’ll receive instructions on how to care for and maintain them.

This appointment involves fitting and adjusting the completed dentures. This process involves a lot of back and forth, trimming and polishing, so the key is to be patient and calm. The dentures will have been made from the wax replica that was tried in on the previous appointment so will look and feel very similar to these. There is however, always a slight change to the feel of the dentures when they are processed into acrylic. Once happy with the fit of the dentures, the clinician will clean and polish the dentures ready for the patient to take home

7. Follow ups 

Follow-up visits are essential for ensuring that your dentures continue to fit comfortably and securely over time. Your dentist will assess any changes in your oral health and make any necessary adjustments to your dentures to maintain optimal comfort and function.

Additionally, these appointments provide an opportunity for you to address any concerns or issues you may have with your dentures. By attending regular follow-up visits, you can prolong the lifespan of your dentures and ensure continued satisfaction with your dental treatment.

This is the final visit in the process and is for the clinician to check on the patient’s mouth and to ease any irritation or soreness. For this appointment to be as useful as possible, we ask that patients wear their dentures for at least 3 days before the appointment (even if they are sore) to allow us to find exactly where the dentures need adjusting or trimming. If the dentures have not been worn before the check-up appointment, there is very little we can do to alter them without guessing where they are sore.

How long is the denture process?

The length of the denture process depends entirely on the situation at hand. Adjustments and overall complexity of the procedure will require more appointments, thus delaying by weeks.

On average, we expect dentures to take roughly 4-6 weeks from initial consultation to the final fitting. This includes the initial meeting, impressions, creating the dentures, making amendments, and the final fitting.

How long is the denture process?

Creating and installing dentures is an intricate process that requires the skills of a professional. Standard dentists simply do not have the knowledge or expertise to do this, so that is what you should always go with an experienced dental technician.

As a family-run practice with plenty of years experience, The Denture Shop is your number one choice for undergoing the denture process. We offer tailored prices pertaining to your denture needs and will only ever provide you with the highest quality product that lasts.

Contact us today to arrange your initial consultation at our Horsham or Worthing branch.

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