When a person is ready to transition to dentures, one of the most common questions is how long will they need to wait before they can get new teeth. Many people cannot be without a smile for any period of time either due to their job or fear of embarrassment, we make immediate dentures also known as healing dentures. Healing dentures are a wonderful prosthesis that help change lives and give patients back their smile immediately. When I discuss healing dentures with my patients, I like to discuss the how these dentures are made, the overall healing process, and what we at NOLA Dentures and General Dentistry do to help our patients.
Healing dentures are known as immediate dentures because they are placed in the mouth immediately after the teeth are removed. To make healing dentures, the dentist takes a mold of your mouth and of your bite, and you and the dentist discuss what color your new teeth with be as well as the color of your gums. The dental laboratory which makes the denture will set the teeth in the proper position relative to your bite and your jaw. The lab studies the models and determines the proper tooth size and shape to give you the best overall result. The dentist then removes all the teeth and then the dentures are placed in the mouth and the healing begins. After six months, either a new set of dentures need to be made or the healing dentures can be relined, but this decision will depend on the fit of the healing dentures.
In my experience the first day of healing dentures is not too bad and patients usually come back a bit swollen; however, the second day through the seventh day are usually the roughest as most the healing starts in this time. I encourage my patients to wear the healing dentures for the first 24 hours and then try to wear them for 8 to 16 hours per day and take them out at night when sleeping. Speaking will be a bit difficult at first as the tongue learns knew positions and techniques. To practice, I recommend singing in the shower and reading out loud to yourself. Thankfully the mouth is adaptable and people learn how to speak well again within a few months. For the first month, the best diet is a cold, high protein diet such as smoothies and Greek yogurt. This keeps the swelling down and ensures that you get enough nutrients. Chewing is the most difficult part of healing dentures and dentures overall. The best advice that I can give to patients is not to give up and do not start eating without your dentures in your mouth. The patients that have the most difficult time learning how to chew with dentures are the ones who don’t keep practicing.
Finally, I think that the most important part of healing dentures it the support that you receive after the dentures are made. At our office, we appoint our healing denture patients one day after surgery, one week after surgery, and one month after surgery. I find these to be the crucial mile stones in adapting to dentures as the one day usually tells me if there are issues with the fit, the one week tells me if there are issues with speaking, and the one month tells me issues with the bite. While thankfully most of our patients fit into this nice three appointment process to adapt to dentures, occasionally we have a patient who just needs more help. We offer all our healing denture patients the opportunity to come back for up to six months for adjustments at no additional charge. We do this as many of our patients have hated their smiles for years, and we want them to love their new smiles. If you are considering getting healing dentures done, make sure to ask your dentist what the policy for adjustments is.
Healing dentures are a wonderful option for many patients as it gives them back the confidence to smile and speak again. While new dentures do take some adjustment, most people adapt very well within a few weeks to the dentures. At NOLA Dentures and General Dentistry, we take pride in helping our patients rediscover their smile and love showing off their pearly whites. If you have any questions about the process for healing dentures, please reach out to us and we will do our best to help you out.