Immediate Dentures

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What are Immediate Dentures?

Dentures are prosthetic teeth that replace missing natural teeth. You may need them if you’ve lost teeth due to decay, an oral injury, or periodontal disease (advanced gum disease). All of these oral conditions can cause weakened, broken, or missing teeth. 

Partial removable immediate-denture

Dentures are considered a long-term solution, and there are several different types to choose from. Some dentures are removable, while others are permanent (fixed into place).

Your general dentist or prosthodontist can talk to you about the best dentures for your oral health needs. The five different types of dentures include the following:

  1. Full dentures — Full dentures, or complete dentures, work best if you are missing all of your natural teeth or if you have had to get some or all of your natural teeth surgically removed.
  2. Partial dentures — Partial dentures replace any of your broken or missing teeth. They have false teeth and an acrylic, gum-colored base or metal framework to look natural. Partial dentures are a removable alternative to dental bridges.
  3. Overdentures —  Overdentures, also known as implant-supported dentures, sit at the top of your gums. Dental implants hold them in place. Your dentist or oral surgeon will screw the implants into your jawbone to stabilize them. 
  4. Immediate dentures — Dental professionals may choose immediate dentures as a temporary solution until your gums heal after having a tooth or several teeth removed. They can be full or partial dentures. When you are ready for a permanent set of dentures, you’ll switch from the immediate dentures.
  5. Economy dentures — Economy dentures are the most affordable dentures available, but they may be uncomfortable. Dentists do not generally recommend economy dentures because they are not customized to fit in your mouth. Therefore, they can irritate your gums and cause poor oral hygiene.

Let’s focus on immediate dentures, which are also called provisional prostheses.

Immediate dentures can give you a more complete smile while you’re waiting for your gums to heal. This way, you never have to go out into public without teeth. And you’ll have an easier time adjusting to your new dentures once you are ready for them. You already have the experience of learning speech patterns with your immediate dentures.

Here’s what you should know about immediate dentures:

When are Temporary Dentures Necessary?

Immediate dentures, also known as temporary dentures, are necessary for some patients. If you have had any teeth removed, your gums will need to heal before the dentist can give you a new set of dentures. The purpose of them is to provide a set of teeth for eating, speaking, and smiling until a permanent pair can be fabricated.  In the meantime, they will use full or partial immediate dentures. 

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These go in on the first day, immediately following your surgery. They’ll stay in throughout your healing period. This generally takes about six months, but it may take shorter or longer for some people.

Immediate dentures are not for everyone. Your dentist may advise you against immediate dentures if you have certain health conditions or oral health problems. Talk to your dentist about whether or not immediate dentures are right for you. There may be other options available to you.

Immediate Dentures: Procedure Steps

It typically takes about four to five visits to the dentist’s office for the fabrication phase of immediate dentures. This includes any preliminary surgeries you may need. 

If you need a complete immediate denture set, your back teeth will likely be extracted six to eight weeks before this phase. This way you can heal in time for a better-fitting immediate denture set.

The process for putting immediate dentures is not complicated, but it does take time:

  1. The fabrication phase of immediate dentures includes impressions, bite records, and tooth selection. You’ll also have a try-in of the back teeth.
  2. Once your immediate dentures have been made, you’ll undergo oral surgery. This is when you’ll have the appropriate teeth extracted.
  3. Following your surgery, your dentist will insert the immediate dentures.
  4. Do not remove them until your dentist advises. They may not fit again as your gums are constantly changing and healing. 
  5. You will probably have to visit your dentist for check-ups to make sure you are healing properly. If you are having any difficulties with your immediate dentures, beyond typical discomfort, let your dentist know.
  6. Your dentures may become loose throughout your healing process. The dentist will use a soft temporary reline material to refit your dentures. 
  7. It takes about six months for your gum tissues to heal and your underlying bone to shrink. When they do, you’ll switch to new conventional dentures.

Temporary Dentures vs. Permanent Dentures

Temporary dentures are just that: temporary. They are only used while your mouth heals from getting teeth removed. Once you heal, you’ll be given permanent dentures. Permanent dentures should last you many years.

Pros and Cons of Immediate Dentures

Immediate dentures are a great interim solution following a tooth extraction. Until you can have your conventional dentures put in, immediate dentures will complete your smile. They’ll help you chew better and minimize any potential facial distortion during your healing process, too. Plus, immediate dentures act as Band-Aids that protect your gum tissues and reduce bleeding.

Most people who have immediate dentures put in are satisfied with them. Approximately 85 percent of patients get used to them and can eat well.

Immediate dentures are not a permanent solution. You will still need to transition to your new teeth after you heal.

Another disadvantage to immediate dentures is that you cannot try them on first. You won’t be able to see how they look until your teeth are extracted. Because you can’t try them on, they may not fit as comfortably as the new set of conventional dentures. However, conventional dentures fit to the patient’s mouth. Your dentist will take impressions of your mouth to customize them.

Of course, the use of immediate dentures adds to the cost as well.

What to Expect After Placement

Immediate dentures may not be immediately comfortable. With all dentures, it can take time to adjust. You may experience some difficulty chewing and speaking for the first few days. You may also experience some soreness and sore spots.

How Much Do Immediate Dentures Cost?

Without dental insurance, dentures can cost well over $4,000. With immediate dentures, that price tag can go up. Additional time is needed to construct them, and you’ll probably need follow-up visits for adjustments and re-fittings.

Are They Covered By Insurance?

Fortunately, many dental plans do indeed cover immediate dentures. Dental insurance can cover all of or some of both partial and full immediate dentures. Insurance can make your immediate dentures and conventional dentures both more affordable.

For example, through Guardian Direct, both Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) plans and Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans provide denture coverage for dentures. While the network of providers available and the cap on annual maximums and other benefits vary, you’ll have some cost savings.

Reach out to your dental insurance provider to make sure that immediate dentures are covered for you.

Resources

Caputi, Sergio, et al. “Immediate Denture Fabrication: a Clinical Report.” Annali Di Stomatologia, CIC Edizioni Internationali, 4 Feb. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3935354/

“Does Dental Insurance Cover Dentures?” Guardian Direct, www.guardiandirect.com/resources/articles/does-dental-insurance-cover-dentures

“Immediate Denture.” Immediate Denture - an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics, www.sciencedirect.com/topics/nursing-and-health-professions/immediate-denture

K, Johnson. “A clinical evaluation of upper immediate denture procedures.” Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, www.thejpd.org/article/0022-3913(66)90002-3/fulltext 

“Patient-Care-Immediate-Dentures: College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics.” Patient-Care-Immediate-Dentures | College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics, www.dentistry.uiowa.edu/patient-care-immediate-dentures

W;, Jonkman RE;Van Waas MA;Kalk. “Satisfaction with Complete Immediate Dentures and Complete Immediate Overdentures. A 1 Year Survey.” Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8558350/.

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