When having multiple teeth extracted many patients do not wish to go without teeth during the healing period for obvious reasons. However, the best and most conservative way to obtain dentures or partial dentures involves extraction of the teeth followed by a healing period of 6-8 weeks without dentures. This allows the bone to shrink and heal. Once the bone in the jaw has healed and becomes stable, your dentist will take accurate impressions which are used to fabricate your dentures / partials / flippers. Unfortunately, this technique involves going without teeth for a substantial period.
Another, more popular technique is called an Immediate Denture / Partial / Flipper. With immediate dentures and partials, the patient receives the dentures during the same visit they have their teeth removed. Unfortunately, this technique is slightly less accurate as the bone has not been given time to heal / shrink. With immediate dentures, your dentist will take impressions while the teeth are still present. Your dentist and laboratory then artificially remove the teeth on your models and estimate what the shape and size of the jaws will be after surgery. Dentures are then made to fit those estimations and sent to Dr. Harris. The estimations tend to be very good; however, immediate dentures / partials / flippers often require your dentist to make adjustments and relines to improve the fit of the denture as the bone heals. Occasionally, new prosthetics are required after the bone heals.
Because you have chosen immediate dentures or partials, the cost of relines and / or future remakes of the dentures are your responsibility.
During your surgery, Dr. Harris will remove the appropriate teeth and adjust any high spots in the bone. Dr. Harris will then make minor adjustments to the dentures / partials / flippers and insert the prosthesis after your surgery. Occasionally, despite the initial trimming of bone, high spots in the bone can develop during healing under the dentures. This can lead to sore spots under the dentures / partials / flippers.
Dr. Harris may have to perform an additional minor surgery to re-adjust the contour of the bone after the initial healing period (first 3-4 weeks). These adjustments are included in the initial cost of the surgery.
After surgery, patients often find their dentures / partials / flippers uncomfortable. A significant adjustment period is required before enjoying your new prosthesis. It is very similar to learning to walk with an artificial leg.
There are several things a patient should do after insertion of immediate dentures:
Keep denture/ partial/ flipper in mouth for the first 24 hours. After 24 hours you may remove the dentures / partials / flippers to clean them. However, after you clean them, you should then immediately place them back in your mouth keeping them in most of the time during the first week of healing.
Remain on a soft diet for the first week.
Rinse your mouth after every meal and several times each day starting the next day after surgery. Avoid caustic mouth rinses or topical anesthetics such as Scope, Listerine, Ambesol.
Make every attempt to keep your denture / partial / flipper in for the first 24 hours. If you remove the denture(s), the tissues will swell and you may not be able to reinsert the prosthesis for a significant period.
Do not be concerned if the denture / partial / flipper seem loose or if your bite seems different. Typically, adjustments by your dentist will be needed to improve the fit. Be patient, your immediate denture(s) will become more comfortable with time and adjustments.
Do not be concerned if sore spots develop. Adjustments will likely be required to achieve maximum comfort. This is a process that may take multiple visits with your regular dentist over a lengthy period.
Dr. Harris often utilizes dissolvable sutures to aid in healing. These will fall out on there own, but may also be removed at your one week follow up appointment.
Please make an appointment with your dentist within the first few days of receiving your new denture / partial / flipper. This will allow for any needed adjustments.