How long does it take to make dentures?

dental technician making a denture

The highly customised nature of dentures demands a meticulous approach to their crafting, requiring expertise and time. The making of a denture is dependent on multiple factors and is a process that cannot be rushed. In this article we discuss the most common circumstances for getting your denture, where generally, you can expect your new smile anywhere between 3 weeks and 3 months.

Factors affecting how soon you get your denture

There are two intertwined aspects affecting the denture-making timeframe. The crafting of the denture in the laboratory and the human/patient element.

The manufacture

The crafting of your denture is usually straight forward, depending on how busy the denture clinic is. Once underway, allow on average between 3-6 weeks unless you are having implants which is a much longer process due to surgical implanting of posts into your jaw.

Your role

As the patient, your part in the process depends on your availability to attend a suite of appointments arranged ahead of time. If you need tooth extractions, this timing will also depend on your oral surgeon or dentist having available appointments. Oral health professionals collaborate in the timing to ensure a smooth process.

If you are under the direct care of a dental prosthetist, it is likely you will get your denture faster, as most denture clinics include an onsite laboratory. Therefore, less time is taken for transfers between dentist or oral surgeon to laboratory for the denture manufacture.

The immediate denture

If you are having an immediate denture, you will see your prosthetist ahead of the extractions so your denture will be ready to insert as soon as your tooth extractions are completed. You can expect the process to take between 3 to 8 weeks.

The permanent denture

If you have chosen to have a permanent denture, how soon you get your denture will depend on how quickly your mouth heals. In this case, only once healing is completed, normally between 4 to 12 weeks, can the process of making and fitting the denture can take place.

The implant retained denture

The time frame for an implant-retained denture will be longer due to the surgery to implant the posts and the healing time required before the denture can be fitted. The procedure can take from 3 months to 12 months.

The process of making dentures

During the first consultation with your dentist and prosthetist an assessment of your general and oral health will be made to determine the health and soundness of your remaining teeth if you have any, and the number of extractions required. If you are seeing more than one oral health professional, they will confer with each other on your needs. An individual treatment plan will be developed for you, and appointments made to begin the process. The type of denture needed, partial denture or full denture, permanent denture, or immediate denture, will be determined and agreed upon, based on the assessment. The same process will apply for dental implants.

The next steps will depend on whether you have chosen an immediate denture, named as such because it is fitted immediately after extractions, or alternatively, you’ve chosen to wait until your mouth has healed before you have a denture fitted. If an immediate denture is decided upon, the denture will be made ahead of time and ready to be fitted immediately after tooth extraction. In which case, your appointments will precede tooth extractions. Alternatively, if you have chosen to wait until your mouth has healed before having the denture fitted, then the permanent denture will be made after healing is completed. Usually about 4 - 12 weeks. These steps will be clearly outlined in your treatment plan.

What is a treatment plan?

A treatment plan devised by your prosthetist and/or dentist, is essentially a road map outlining for you as the patient, what you can expect on your journey toward getting dentures. The treatment plan is highly individualised to fit your unique clinical needs and budget. It includes a step-by-step guide to the planned procedure including a schedule of appointments, the timeframe in which the plan will be implemented, the end goal, the cost, and any possible limitations. Designed to avoid misunderstandings, the treatment plan requires dialogue between the therapist and the patient, aiming to inform the patient and promote a sense of collaboration with their therapist. Treatment plans serve to avoid misaligned expectations between patient and oral health provider. Serving the interests of both patient and therapist, a treatment plan is transparent, setting out very clearly what will be done, what it will cost and what outcome to expect.

How many appointments does it take to get a denture?

The number of appointments needed to get dentures is determined by individual circumstances and the type of denture chosen. Excluding appointments for extractions, you can expect on average between 4 – 6 appointments.

Initial consultation:

  • assessment of oral and general health
  • decisions made on what type of denture is required

Subsequent appointments:

  • x-rays if necessary
  • possible tooth removal
  • decisions on appearance of denture – teeth colour etc.
  • bite registration determined
  • impressions of mouth taken
  • wax model made for the patient to ‘try in’ for fit and appearance

Final appointment:

  • denture fitted by your prosthetist who will advise on care
  • continuing support and adjustments as required

Continuing support

Your prosthetist will be there to support you as you become accustomed to your denture. While the denture is designed to fit perfectly, it is not unusual to have sore spots as your mouth and gums shrink. Your prosthetist will ease any irritation with adjustments to the denture’s fit. They will also be on hand with helpful advice on denture and oral care to smooth the transition into denture wearing.

The future for denture manufacturing

With dental technology developing at an exponential rate, new and more expedient ways to manufacture dentures are becoming available. One such promising development still in its infancy, is Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacture (CAD-CAM) assisted by intra-oral scanners which seek to bypass the messy process of taking impressions of the patient’s mouth with which to craft a customised denture. While already in use in some clinics, various researchers have highlighted inherent challenges with the accuracy of the manufacturing, difficulties in achieving accurate oral measurements (the occlusal plane), the paucity of software programs, together with more expensive materials and increased laboratory costs. Eventually these challenges will be overcome resulting in cost savings for patients, together with faster, more improved outcomes not only for patients, but also for prosthetists, and dental technicians.i Further, research into the development of fabrication materials that more accurately mimic natural oral tissues, may lead to dentures having better mechanical properties, improved medical properties and biocompatibility.ii

How long does it take to make dentures? A final word

How long it takes to make dentures can vary, depending on your unique circumstances. Namely, your general and oral health, whether tooth extraction is needed, and the type of denture required. To achieve optimal results, the process of making a denture requires careful planning, exacting fabrication and a series of fittings and adjustments to ensure comfort, fit and appearance. These steps are outlined in a customised treatment plan given to the patient. Rushing any aspect of this process may compromise the result. The future of denture making is bright, focusing on better fit, functionality, biocompatibility, and more timely and convenient service for patients.

References

i Grachev DI, Zolotnitsky IV, Stepanov DY, Kozulin AA, Mustafaev MS, Deshev AV, Arutyunov DS, Tlupov IV, Panin SV, Arutyunov SD. Ranking Technologies of Additive Manufacturing of Removable Complete Dentures by the Results of Their Mechanical Testing. Dentistry Journal. 2023; 11(11):265. https://doi.org/10.3390/dj11110265
ii https://jbioleng.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13036-023-00382-4#citeas



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