In our clinic we see up to 15 patients a day who are either wearing dentures or getting ready to wear them for the first time. Many of the first time denture wearers are apprehensive because they really don’t know what to expect. I thought I’d spend some time in this article talking about how dentures are made and what to look forward to during the process.
Dentures are one of the options available to people who have lost some or all of their teeth. If only some of the teeth are missing a partial denture is indicated. When all of the teeth in one arch are gone a full denture is required. The process starts with impressions. We use a material called alginate, a powder that when mixed with water, turns into a gel. This gel has the consistency of a very soft and slippery putty which flows and forms itself around the teeth and gums. When it sets (hardens) in the mouth, we are able to take it out. This impression appointment is very important. We take great care to ensure that it is accurate, capturing every detail and containing no voids or defects. If the impression is inaccurate, the denture won’t fit.
The impressions form a negative mold of your gums and teeth. We sterilize these impressions and then bring them back to the dental laboratory. Our clinic is basically divided into two areas; the clinical area includes reception, the business office, treatment rooms, sterilization station and patient washrooms. The laboratory has a large room with specialized benches where the technicians sit while making the dentures. The lab also has a room where all of the processing machinery is located. We call it the ‘wet’ lab or plaster room because that’s where the negative molds are filled with special dental plaster called stone. We pour the liquid dental stone into the molds and wait for it to harden. When the impressions are separated from the hard stone model we have an exact replica of your mouth, teeth and gums on which we can begin fabricating the denture.
You can visit our web-site, harrisondentures.ca , and take a virtual video tour of all of the areas described above. You can also call us any time at 705-445-1121 for a tour of our facility. I’ll continue on with the rest of the steps in denture fabrication in future articles.
Jim Harrison DD has practiced in the Collingwood area for over 23 years.