Most patients who are facing extraction as the final step to full dentures want to make the move to dentures as quickly and conveniently as possible. Yet, the procedure commonly involves an initial surgical appointment followed by at least three – six months to allow healing of the ridges before beginning to construct the final dentures. After that, impressions must be taken; dentures crafted, tried in and adjusted; and the definitive denture completed, all of which takes time and delays completion of treatment. An all-acrylic “Immediate Denture” can ease the transition from natural dentition to dentures (either for single or double arch treatment) during this period by allowing the patient to “keep their teeth” while their gums are healing. Fabricated prior to removal of the patient’s remaining teeth and delivered immediately after, they usually require only one short impression appointment before extraction and one appointment for placement of the dentures. Immediate dentures can even be created as partial dentures that will only replace certain teeth. Even more important, Immediate Dentures may assist in resolving many clinical problems:
- The splinting action of the denture may help reduce the pain and swelling that can occur after oral surgery.
- Gums tend to heal to the shape of the dentures.
- Cheek and lip support are maintained (instant effect on appearance).
- Patient able to chew food and maintain proper nutrition during healing process.
- Adaptation easier (especially in upper front teeth) as able to mimic natural tooth position in jaws.
Since each patient’s healing period and ability to accommodate an immediate denture varies, the feeling of being “comfortable” will be different. For the first week, the denture remains stable and reasonably retained. After this, as resorption occurs, the immediate denture is often relined on one or more occasions with a soft liner to help cushion the hard denture base against the healing extraction sites. If both upper and lower immediate dentures are being prepared, it is recommended that both be fabricated at the same time. This ensures that cosmetic or bite irregularities that existed in the natural teeth will not interfere with tooth positioning in the new immediate denture. During the healing process, the patient may become comfortable with the appearance of the teeth and may not want a change. However, depending on the amount of resorption that occurs, the anteriors may need to be lengthened or the vertical slightly increased in the final denture.