A denture is a full prosthetic replacement of an entire jaw's teeth.
It replaces all teeth in either an upper or lower jaw. Many times, patients have full upper and lower dentures, replacing all teeth in the mouth. These full dentures are removable, and are to be removed and cleaned after each meal and before bedtime. Full dentures are not to be worn while sleeping, as this habit will most probably lead to a fungal infection of the mouth.
Properly fitting dentures require multiple visits. The first visit it to gather accurate "impressions" and a bite registration of your mouth. These impressions are used to create an acrylic or metal base that is custom made to your current oral anatomy. Those will come back to the dental lab with wax on them. That "wax-rim try-in" will be the second visit. Here Dr. Hoffman will address your basic speech and verify a proper Vertical Dimension of Occlusion (VDO), together with proper bite relationship. The patient and dental assistant will also choose the proper shade, and shape of the denture teeth that will be used to make your final denture. On the third visit, the teeth you selected will have been placed into the wax-rim, creating an exact wax model of your proposed denture(s). This is called the "wax-tooth try-in". This will be tried in to your mouth for proper fit and speech requirements, as well as patient visual satisfaction. How do they feel, work and look? If Dr. Hoffman and you are both happy with all aspects at this stage, they will sent back to the lab to be finalized. Your fourth, and final visit, will be the "delivery" of your new denture(s). Again, if there are any minor adjustments, they are made at this time.
Dentures are usually not a patient's first choice for a final treatment option.
Many times there are financial reasons this option is chosen. There are other options, and if you already have a full upper and/or lower denture, there are ways to make that existing denture fit more reliably and remain more stable when talking and chewing. Please discuss this issue with Dr. Hoffman and his staff, if you are interested in options to help in this regard.
Most of the time, dentures should fit properly without the need of pastes and wafers. In some cases, the bone has been lost to a large degree, and the patient chooses not to do bone grafting to address these issues. In those cases, pastes and wafers may be necessary to add retention to the upper and/or lower denture. If you have an existing denture, and you remember the denture fitting much better in the past, but now it moves around a lot and you rely on the pastes and wafer to hold it in, you may be a candidate for a relinement of your existing denture(s). This procedure is usually fairly fast, and most times you will leave with your newly fitting denture the same day. In some cases, the denture is worn beyond repair and a new denture would then be recommended.