How Long Does It Take to Get Fitted For Dentures?
The length of time that a patient should anticipate waiting to get properly fitted for dentures depends largely on whether that patient is having his or her dentures replaced or getting them for the very first time, explains Dr. William M. Smith DDS, PL of DentalCares in Cordova. Dentures can be a difficult subject for a dentist to discuss with patients because there are so many variables that can affect how long they can take to be properly fitted.
Smith, however, breaks it down by first discussing how long a person should expect to spend waiting for his very first set of dentures, assuming that he has never worn dentures before. It could take longer to create dentures for someone who has lost all of his teeth—possibly because his mouth has been ravaged by gum disease—than for someone whose teeth are still in place, albeit slightly loose. “Are we talking about somebody who has a denture, needs a new denture, and wants that denture that they have replaced?” asks Smith. “Because the timeframe is a little different.”
In the first scenario where a patient who still has many of his teeth is getting fitted for his first denture, the patient can expect that he will need to have those teeth removed before he can move forward with the denture fitting process. Smith goes on to tell us that he will consult with each patient about dentures and explain what the fitting process will entail. During this consultation, he will break down the ins and outs of the extraction procedure and explain how it will be done. Once the teeth have been removed, the patient will be fitted with a device known as an “immediate denture.” An immediate denture is a temporary denture that is worn for four to six months while the permanent denture is being created.
For patients who are in a rush, Smith can do the entire tooth extraction and immediate denture fitting in as little as one day’s time. If a patient shows up early enough in the morning—usually around 8 a.m.—then that is enough time to make the impressions, plan out the surgery, make the immediate dentures, and go ahead with the patient’s tooth extraction surgery in the late afternoon. “Then we will have the denture ready to go, all in one visit,” Smith says.
Of course, this one-day treatment plan cannot be achieved if the dentist isn’t notified in advance. In Cordova, many denture patients that Smith works with appreciate being able to get everything done in one day’s time, rather than coming in and out of the office over a period of days. “The only thing that we can’t do in one visit as far as dentures and partials go would be our elite partial,” Smith says, “which is a partial where the process just takes too long to get it done in one visit or one day.”
When the patient’s mouth has completely healed from the tooth extraction, then Smith will call him back into the office and begin making new impressions. A dentist should always wait until the patient’s mouth has finished healing from the tooth extractions before fitting the new dentures, explains Smith, because it is impossible to tell how the denture will fit until the mouth has completely healed. “There is so much change that occurs in mouths as they heal from those extractions,” Smith says. Rather than create a set of ill-fitting dentures, Smith prefers to wait until he is sure that the patient’s mouth is truly ready.
To keep costs down, Smith’s practice offers a denture package that includes two sets of dentures. “It usually takes about a week to 10 days to get everything from beginning to end done and ready,” he explains. “But we don’t take the teeth out until the [immediate] denture is ready.”
With all this being said, Smith makes sure to emphasize that he does not think anyone should be getting dentures unless it is absolutely necessary. He would always prefer to save a person’s teeth rather than extracting them. However, when someone has irreversible gum disease, dentures can become his only option. “Patients in our office who have dentures are really patients who just didn’t have any other choice,” he says. For anyone in this position, Smith has all the experience necessary to make the process of getting fitted for dentures as pain-free and easy as possible.
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.