When gum disease or tooth decay leads to the loss of one or more teeth, partial or complete dentures can serve as a replacement. Dentures are removable false teeth that resemble natural teeth. This article explores the concept of immediate dentures, their advantages and disadvantages, and identifies the ideal candidates for this type of dental solution.
Pros & Cons of Immediate Dentures
Immediate dentures, also known as temporary dentures, differ from permanent dentures in that they are temporary and not custom-fitted to the mouth. Consequently, their fit may not be as precise. It is crucial to understand the pros and cons of immediate dentures to manage your expectations effectively.
Pros of Immediate Dentures
- Immediate dentures fill the gaps in your mouth right after tooth extraction, be it a single tooth or a full-mouth extraction.
- They protect your gums during the healing process and minimize gum bleeding.
- Immediate dentures are provided on the same day as your extraction, ensuring you have teeth while waiting for permanent dentures.
Cons of Immediate Dentures
- Due to the lack of customization, immediate dentures may not fit as well as permanent dentures, possibly resulting in slipping or slight movement.
- Periodic adjustments or relining may be necessary for increased comfort. Relining involves adding extra material to the denture to accommodate changes in the mouth during the healing process.
- Initially, you may experience soreness or irritation as your mouth adjusts to the dentures.
- Temporary dentures need to be worn for approximately 4 to 6 months until permanent dentures are ready.
- Immediate dentures may not feel as natural as permanent dentures and may not provide the same biting capability.
- Jaw bone shrinkage following an extraction may require periodic adjustments or realignments of immediate dentures for optimal comfort.
- Unlike permanent dentures, immediate dentures cannot be tried on before tooth extraction.
Ideal Candidates for Immediate Dentures
Immediate dentures are not a mandatory solution and are often a personal choice based on cost considerations and the pros and cons associated with the treatment. If you are only losing a few teeth on the sides of your mouth and they are not easily noticeable, you may not require immediate dentures. However, a full-mouth extraction will typically prompt your dentist to suggest immediate dentures. If you have a strong gag reflex, it may be advisable to wait for permanent dentures, as immediate dentures may trigger this reflex due to their less precise fit.
Procedure for Getting Immediate Dentures
Obtaining immediate dentures involves multiple visits to the dentist. During the initial appointment, your dentist will measure your upper and lower jaw, as well as observe the shape and color of your natural teeth.
Time Frame and Process for Partial Dentures
If you are only losing a few teeth, a partial denture will be suitable. At your first appointment, your dentist will record your bite by taking an impression of your teeth. This impression is used to order your immediate partial denture. Once your immediate partial denture is ready, you will return to the dentist’s office to have your teeth extracted and your denture fitted.
Time Frame and Process for Complete Dentures
For a full extraction, complete dentures are necessary. Typically, your dentist will begin by extracting your posterior teeth. The extraction area will then require a healing period of approximately 4 to 8 weeks. Once the area has healed, your dentist will take an impression of your mouth and order immediate dentures based on that impression. After the remaining anterior teeth are extracted, your immediate dentures will be placed in your mouth and adjusted to fit. You will need to wear the immediate dentures for about 24 hours after the surgery before removing them. Regular follow-up visits will be necessary to ensure proper fit as your mouth heals.
Time Frame and Process for Permanent Dentures
Before your dentist can fabricate your permanent dentures, your mouth needs time to heal, which can take between 3 to 6 months. Once your mouth has fully healed, your dentist will take multiple bite impressions to create a custom-molded denture for an accurate fit.
Life-Span of Immediate Dentures
Immediate dentures are designed as temporary solutions and are typically worn for 6 to 8 months until permanent dentures are ready. As they are not custom-fitted, they may slip or move, prompting many individuals to discontinue their use after a short period. Periodic adjustments and relining are necessary as the mouth heals and swelling subsides. However, some people choose to wear immediate dentures long-term to save money or as backup dentures in case of loss or damage to permanent dentures. In such cases, frequent alignments and adjustments are required for a proper fit.
Cost of Immediate Dentures
The cost of immediate dentures is comparable to permanent dentures. However, the actual price depends on geographical location and the materials used. Premium dentures incorporating metal or mesh liners can range from $2,000 to $4,000 per plate, resulting in a total cost between $4,000 and $8,000 for a complete upper and lower set. Basic non-premium dentures may range from $600 to $1,000 for a single plate or $1,200 to $2,000 for a full set. Costs can also vary based on dental insurance coverage, so discussing your options with your dentist and exploring potential discounts or financing plans is advisable.
Although dental insurance may help cover some costs, out-of-pocket expenses are common with immediate dentures. Negotiating a cash discount with your dentist or inquiring about low-interest or 0 percent financing options can help alleviate the financial burden. Additionally, you can reach out to dental schools and organizations such as PACE, The Dental Life Network, or The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFCC) to explore affordable, high-quality denture options.
In conclusion, immediate dentures provide a viable solution for individuals facing tooth loss due to gum disease or severe decay. By wearing immediate dentures, you can ensure that you maintain teeth throughout the healing process, safeguard your gums, and regain confidence in your smile.