Hi, I’m Dr. Brett Langston. I’m a prosthodontist and owner of Dental Implant and Aesthetic Specialist located here in Brookhaven, Georgia, and I’m here to help you watch your mouth. The next question we want to talk about is, “Am I a candidate for dentures? What is involved in that process? How do I go from my current situation to a nice, beautiful set of dentures?”
Step 1: Making an Appointment
So the first step is making an appointment, coming in and seeing us, and that’s really the hardest part. The hardest part is getting that momentum, getting over your fear, getting over any kind of anxiety you have, and making that appointment. You’ll come in; you’ll meet our wonderful team. We’re going to take great care of you at that first evaluation appointment.
Step 2: Full Oral Exam
We’ll do a full oral exam, dental screening, charting, looking at every single tooth in your mouth, looking at your gum tissue, looking at your bone structure, looking at everything to make sure we’re not overlooking anything.
Step 3: Cone Beam Scan
We’ll also do a cone beam scan, which is a three-dimensional scan that goes all the way around the head. And that’s twofold. Number one that allows us to see the bone. It allows us to see the tissues but also allows us to see if implants are an option. And if they’re not an option, it’s not a big deal. We do a lot of conventional dentures without implants, but this still allows us to plan and get a game plan for you and let you know exactly what the process is going to be. So, once we decide that you are a great candidate for dentures, the next step is to make an impression.
Step 4: Making An Impression
This generally involves one of two ways. The conventional way that we do it is we take impression trays, and we’ve got lots of different sizes. So don’t be concerned if you’ve got a big mouth, little mouth, somewhere in between. We can make custom trays that will fit exactly to your mouth, and we take our impression material, and there are lots of different kinds. This is alginate. It’s a powder water mix. So we take the alginate, and we take a scoop, and we put it in a nice bowl measured out. So we mixed it up with the alginate, and then we filled the trays just enough to capture everything we needed. And we insert the trays in your mouth. This material sets in about 30 to 45 seconds. And the common question that we get is, number one, does it hurt? And the answer is no. Number two, is it going to pull my teeth out? The answer is also, hopefully, no. And by that, I mean if you have teeth that are really loose and we’re concerned that that might be an issue, we’ve got ways to work around that, whether that’s putting wax in the little nooks and crannies, or we’ve also got the ability now thanks to technology to do an intraoral scan, which is basically a really cool way to digitally capture your teeth and tissue and gums without having to do a mouthful of impression material.
So regardless, either way we decide it’s best for your current state, we’ll have a really accurate impression of your upper and lower teeth and how your jaws come together. So what that’s going to do, it’s going to enable us to make models so that my lab technician and I can sit down, put everything together, and then design and create your immediate dentures so that the day of surgery, when we take those teeth out, you’ve got a set of teeth that go right in, fit comfortably, look great, and we’ll help you heal until we’re ready to start your permanent set. So, on the day of surgery, you get your immediate set of dentures, and they’re designed to go in, be snug, and fit really well. Now inevitably, what will happen over time as you heal that bone tissue is going to remodel; the tissue’s going to change.
Step 5: Your Immediate Denture
And so the immediate denture that we made to fit perfectly on day one is all of a sudden not going to fit anymore. It’s going to have a little wobble to it. It’s going to be a little bit not as snug and comfortable as you want, and that’s okay because that means your body is healing and is recontouring. So what we do is we have you come in usually about a week to 10 days after the extractions, and we put a soft liner on the inside of the immediate denture. And what that does it adapts to the new landscape of your jaws and makes it a lot more stable and comfortable. I tell patients that the immediate denture sometimes might feel like a pair of dress shoes, hard, bulky, and hard to get used to. And then when we get you back in about a week, that soft lining is like putting a nice pair of warm wool socks in.
It’s going to be snug; it’s going to be a lot more comfortable. And then, depending on how much you heal throughout the process, you might need multiple re-lines. And so that’s why it’s important to come to somebody that knows what they’re doing. Very rarely does the immediate denture fit comfortably for the whole three to four months of healing. And unfortunately, we have patients that come to us from other places that they didn’t take the time to reline and remodel and make it comfortable. And that’s just a rough transition. So when it comes to the final denture, that’s something that we can eliminate a lot of that uncomfortableness and a lot of that not fitting because now the healing is done, and the multiple stages and processes and customization that we do allow us to make sure that the day of insertion, your new denture goes in.
It’s snug, it’s tight, it’s going to feel like a lot, but that’s a good thing. We want it to feel snug. We want it to feel like it’s almost stuck in there because it’s designed to stay in suction in your mouth so that you can chew and function from day one. So, if you are nervous and concerned about needing dentures for the first appointment, don’t be scared of it. The first appointment is what I call a data collection appointment. And sometimes, we have anxious patients; they just want to talk, which is great. You come in; we sit down. I can show you examples of what dentures are. I can show you the impression material. We can talk through everything and walk through the steps and stages so that you’re comfortable because some people are mentally ready to make that transition, and other people need some time.
And so don’t delay that first appointment, I promise. We don’t just immediately start pulling teeth; we don’t start. It can be an appointment where we take a look and discuss and ensure you’re comfortable with the process. Everybody has kind of a different timeline, and we’re okay with that. We do a lot of dentures. We see a lot of patients. We know that everybody’s different. And so I’m ready no matter where you are on that scale. Let’s get this thing scheduled. I’m concerned about my teeth. Do I even need dentures? We’re here for you. So if you find yourself in that category of, do I need dentures? Am I hurting? Is there something I could do to make my teeth and mouth healthier? Please give us a call. We’d love to have you see us. I’m Dr. Brett Langston, and I’m here to help you watch your mouth. We mix it up. That’s awkward.