You have been advised that some or all of your natural teeth need to be removed. To avoid the situation of being without teeth, your Denturist will implement the immediate denture technique. This involves taking impressions of your mouth while some or all of your natural teeth are still present. The Denturist will then fabricate a denture in the likeness of your natural teeth, or make any necessary modifications you may wish. When your natural teeth are extracted, your immediate denture is then inserted. In this technique, you have avoided having to go without any teeth while you go through the healing process. Since the Denturist is unable to try-in the denture prior to extracting your teeth, certain esthetic compromises may be necessary. This generally does not present any significant problems, and the results are normally quite good. It is important to follow the postoperative instructions of your Denturist and/or the Oral Surgeon very carefully. As healing occurs, the oral tissues change and several denture adjustments may be required. Follow-up appointments with your Denturist will be a necessity. To maintain the best fit and comfort, temporary liners/tissue conditioners will be placed in the denture. During the next few months, bone and tissue will continue to shrink to some degree; however, the rate of change decreases with time but varies from patient to patient. This is a natural occurrence, which is to be expected. After the healing process is completed, either a new permanent full denture will be made or your existing denture will be relined or rebased to ensure the most comfortable fit possible. The most difficult transition for any patient is from most or all of their natural teeth to immediate full dentures. The reason behind this difficult transition is that regardless of how uncomfortable any patient may have been with their natural teeth, they were physically connected/attached to their body. Their natural teeth may have been loose, they may have been sensitive, but the patient was at the very least, confident that the teeth would remain in place, from one moment to the next during function. Conventional dentures do not play by the same rules, and as a result do not function entirely like natural teeth.
You may remember the following physics experiment in high school: Your teacher gave you two 3” x 3” slabs of glass. You were then instructed to smear a light coat of mineral oil over one surface of one slab. Then sandwich the glass slabs together with the mineral oil in the middle. You were then instructed to pry the glass slab apart. It was impossible. This phenomenon is called Capillary Action. Dentures are meant to work upon the same principle to hold themselves in place, but have one characteristic that have them behaving quite differently in some situations to their detriment.
The glass slab example has two completely flat and rigid surfaces opposing one another; as a result when the oil is between them there is no distortion of the relationship of one surface to the other, and the surfaces remain impossible to pry apart. A denture is made of rigid plastic and it sits on tissue coated in saliva (the saliva acting like the oil). The surface the denture sits against however, the tissue of the mouth, is anything but rigid. Tissue contains water; your body is made of 90% water. Water is fluid, and as a result the underlying tissue is easily displaced and shifts. If the denture in anyone’s mouth is trying to obtain its stability from a surface that shifts, even minimally, its performance will be dictated by that quality. Should any given motion of the mouth shift the tissue away from the base of the denture, the denture can lose support, shift and may dislodge. Other factors that will affect you denture stability are the actual shape of the upper or lower arch, and the volume of bone present.
The transition from natural teeth to dentures can at times be very frustrating for the patient. Not only is the patient trying to heal from recent oral surgery, but they are also trying to acclimatize themselves to a foreign object inside their mouth that does not function entirely as they may wish it to.