4 Stages in Making a Denture
Dentures are probably the hardest thing to get completely right in the whole of dentistry. They can be partial (replacing some teeth) or full (replacing all the teeth). Most are made of acrylic (plastic) and have plastic, anatomically correct teeth. There are also skeleton partial dentures made of chrome-cobalt steel. These are made for patients unable to tolerate a full covering to the roof of the mouth, or for people who are allergic to acrylic plastics. They are expensive. Full upper dentures generally cover the roof of the mouth. Lower full dentures should cover as much of the floor of the mouth as possible. Both upper and lower partial dentures can be smaller, especially if the remaining teeth have metal clasps acting as anchors. There are also ‘immediate dentures’. The four main stages in making a denture are: the impressions, the bite, the try-in and the fitting.
These are taken in ‘trays’ with alginate-based impression material, from which plaster casts are made by the technician.
This is most important. It measures both the vertical height at which your teeth should meet when the mouth is comfortable, and the horizontal relationship between the upper and lower jaws. It is done by using carved pink wax slabs known as ‘bite blocks’. Tooth color is selected at this stage.
The technician has made the body of the denture(s) in wax, but with the final teeth. They are tried in the mouth to ensure the ‘bite’ is correct, they look good and that the teeth mesh together (articulate) correctly. The technician is given the correct try-in, and makes it in acrylic.
It is unusual for a denture to be perfect at the fitting stage. It may well need a little easing, both on the pink acrylic where it rests on the gums, palate and the part of the gums that merge with the cheeks or floor of the mouth (sulcuses), and the teeth. If there is any pain, soreness or ulceration in these areas, or a denture supporting or opposing tooth starts to hurt, you should return to the dentist for an ‘easing’. Part of this process is the same as for crowns, inlays and bridges. However, a denture may also need easing on its fitting surface where it is in contact with the gums. It is often possible to see the parts that need easing from excessive redness, or perhaps a small ulcer. The easing is done by smoothing or removing small parts of the denture until it feels comfortable.
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