Do you have teeth that need to be extracted and are unsure of how a denture will replace them? There are three main treatment plans to address this situation, all with their benefits and risks. Here, we break down each treatment plan option.
1. Immediate denture
“Most people don’t want to go without having teeth,” says Saberton Denture & Implant owner and denturist, P.J. Saberton. “The idea of having teeth pulled and not putting any prosthetic in their place leaves most people feeling exposed, or naked in a way.” While the immediate denture option is at first the most anticipated treatment plan when people decide that they want their teeth pulled, it’s not without its risks. “Beyond the obvious advantage of not having to go without teeth, immediate dentures can act as bandage over the extraction sites, protecting the open wounds from infection. However immediate dentures can be a lot tougher for us to make,” says Saberton. “We have to estimate where the bone and gums will end up as we construct the denture because we can’t try the denture in the mouth before it’s finished due to the natural teeth still being there. Immediate dentures also have higher fees because of the added difficulty in their construction.” So, while immediate dentures seem ideal at first, many times the denture has to be remade because of the difficulty in making it without a trial run in the mouth. “It’s kind of like buying clothes without being able to try them on first,” adds Saberton. “It’s best to discuss these risks in detail at your consultation appointment to ensure that you’re not disappointed.”
2. Start the denture process one week after getting teeth pulled
Due to the esthetic risks involved with immediate dentures, many patients opt to get their teeth pulled and then start the denture process as soon as they can comfortably have their impression taken. The advantage to this treatment plan is that you are able to try in the denture in wax before it’s completed so that there are no surprises as far as how the denture looks in the mouth. “The denture making process usually takes about four to six weeks,” says Saberton. Both the immediate denture route and starting one week after extractions involve making the denture before the mouth has fully healed. “When teeth are removed from the bone in the upper or lower jaw, there’s what’s called bone resorption,” describes Saberton. “While this resorption process continues for the rest of one’s life, it’s quite acute in the first year. This means that the mouth changes significantly from when the denture was first placed. Ultimately, because of this dramatic change in the mouth, the denture will need to be refit, or relined once the healing process has stabilized.” Saberton says that relines usually cost about $300 per denture and this additional fee should be considered when choosing either immediate dentures or starting dentures one week after extractions.
3. Waiting six to twelve months after getting teeth pulled
There are many who can’t afford reline costs and want to really minimize the cost of getting their teeth pulled and dentures placed. This is done by waiting until the mouth has fully healed from the extraction process and all bone resorption has completed before starting the denture fabrication process. Saberton says that the length of the healing process depends on the number of teeth being pulled, as well as how much trauma is placed on the bone during the extraction procedures, as well as a patient’s overall health. “There are a number of people who would simply rather save the money and go without teeth for many months,” says Saberton, “but the choice is ultimately up to each individual; our role is simply to describe each treatment plan as well as the risks and benefits involved with each choice.”