Making Dentures Series: Part 1
You think you need a new denture made. Maybe it’s your first denture, or perhaps you have been wearing a denture for some time and think it’s time for a replacement. What’s your first step? Schedule a consultation.
For all patients considering a new denture, we begin with a patient consultation appointment. This no-charge appointment provides you with an opportunity to meet with your Denturist, talk about your current dental or denture situation, and discuss treatment options.
During a consultation, you and your Denturist will discuss a number of things to determine if it is time for a new denture.
If you are currently wearing a denture, your Denturist will start by asking about your experiences with your existing denture.
HOW DOES YOUR DENTURE FIT?
How would you describe the fit of your current denture? It should be comfortable, conform accurately to the contours of your mouth, and feel snug in your mouth.
We know that the bony tissue in the jaw will change over the lifetime of our edentulous patients. Thanks to a process called bone resorption, your bony tissue will break down over time after your teeth have been lost. If you feel that your denture used to fit you well but no longer does, you may be experiencing the detrimental effect that resorption has on denture fit.
Do you experience frequent jaw soreness? Do you feel pressure unevenly from one side of your denture to the other? Have you developed a recurring sore spot that just never seems to go away? Are you using denture adhesive to keep your denture in place? If you find that your denture used to be comfortable but no longer is, it may be a sign that your denture is fitting poorly.
HOW DOES YOUR DENTURE FUNCTION?
How well does your current denture work? For example, are there any foods that you find difficult to bite or chew? Are you restricting your diet to softer and easier to chew foods? If your denture fits you properly, you should have few if any limitations for what you can successfully eat.
Other questions to ask yourself: Do you chew on one side of your mouth only? Can you bite foods using your front teeth? Does your denture rock, tip, or otherwise dislodge when you eat or bite together? A properly fitting denture should remain in place when you bite, allow chewing on both sides of your mouth, facilitate biting, and display little movement as you chew. If you find that your denture simply does not stay in place when you eat, this provides a red flag for your Denturist that the function of your denture may be compromised.
Aside from eating, are you experiencing any difficulty speaking comfortably or clearly? Do you notice a lisping or whistling sound when you talk? Are you avoiding social situations because you are embarrassed about eating, speaking, or laughing in front of others?
Sometimes, a person becomes so familiar with the fit of their denture, they have a hard time determining that it is not fitting or functioning properly. Fortunately, your Denturist has several ways to objectively assess the chewing performance, fit, comfort, and aesthetics of your existing denture.
Your Denturist will inspect and assess the condition of your existing denture. He or she will consider the overall aesthetic appearance of your denture. For example, how does your denture look? Is there staining on your teeth or your denture’s pink acrylic? Are any of your teeth chipped or cracked?
Your Denturist will also inspect your denture for any signs of wear and tear. Are the biting surfaces of your teeth worn? Has your denture previously been repaired? Is your denture missing any teeth? Does your denture have any pitting, chips, or cracks?
Your Denturist will also assess how well your denture supports your facial shape and jaw positioning. Do your cheeks appear to be sunken or hollow? Do your lips appear to lack support? Are you currently in an overbite or underbite position?
Your Denturist will also assess audible cues that point to how well your denture fits and functions. For example, how clearly do you speak? Is there any audible lisping or slurring? Do you have difficulty pronouncing certain words? Is there a noticeable whistle when you speak? Are you regularly trying to reestablish denture suction while you are speaking?
Once your Denturist has completed your examination, they will then present you with the options they feel are best suited to your case. If they feel it is time for a new denture, they will often provide you with three treatment options: a standard denture, a precision-equilibrated denture, and an implant-supported denture. In some cases, other options may also be considered.
Your Denturist will describe each of these options for you and answer any questions you might have about, including the time it takes to complete each treatment, the outcomes you can expect, and the cost.
Now what happens?
At the end of your consultation, if you feel you are ready to proceed with treatment, your Denturist will simply schedule you for all appointments needed to complete the desired treatment plan. Your next appointment will be for dental impressions.
However, you may need more time to decide if you would like to proceed with treatment or even which treatment you would like to proceed with. Please note that this is completely understandable. You should feel no pressure during a consultation to proceed with treatment of any kind.
Before you leave, ask your Denturist any final questions you have. If after a few days you are still unsure of how to proceed with denture treatment, or if you think of any new questions, contact your Denturist to schedule a follow-up consultation.