Dentures: Temporary & Permanent, Costs, Pros & Cons

Dentures: Temporary & Permanent, Costs, Pros & Cons article banner

What are Temporary Partial Dentures?

If you’ve had teeth removed due to decay or gum disease and will be receiving permanent dentures, your dentist may suggest temporary or “immediate” dentures. These are dentures you can wear for the first two to three months immediately after tooth removal. They can be especially helpful for someone with a history of sensitive teeth and gums, since the patient does not have to be without teeth while the area heals, and any remaining sensitive teeth are subject to less pressure from chewing food.

The creation of temporary dentures may require four to five dental visits prior to tooth extraction. Temporary dentures are made using basically the same technique as a permanent denture, but because they are made in advance of any surgery, you can’t tell exactly how your mouth will look after teeth are removed. By contrast, the molds for conventional dentures are made once the gum tissues have healed following any tooth extractions, which takes about six to eight weeks. During this time, the gum tissues will shrink and so the fit of temporary dentures will change.

Temporary Dentures Cost

There is an added cost associated with immediate dentures, but when you’re trying to determine what dentures cost and how to pay for them, remember that you have several options.

Most dentists take major credit cards and some offer financing plans that let patients pay for major procedures, such as tooth removal and dentures, over time with low monthly payments. Ask your dentist about financing. Also, if you know in advance that you want to get dentures, you may be able to set aside money in a flexible spending account or health care savings account to help cover the cost of dentures.Immediate dentures cost more than conventional dentures because more time goes into preparing them.

There are several advantages that may make them worth the cost. The main advantage of immediate dentures is that you don’t have to go out in public without teeth following tooth removal. An immediate denture is placed at the same visit as your tooth removal, so they serve as a bandage to control bleeding and protect gum tissue. Also, if you have immediate dentures you can start adjusting your speech to wearing the denture immediately.

Not everyone is a good candidate for immediate dentures. Cost can be a prohibiting factor, or your dentist may advise against immediate dentures depending on your general health and oral health.

What are Permanent Dentures?

Dentists will work with you to preserve your natural teeth if at all possible, rather than extract them, but sometimes permanent dentures are the only way to provide the appearance of teeth and facilitate eating and speaking.

Permanent Dentures Procedure

Getting permanent, full dentures takes about three to six weeks. The denture-making process involves several dental appointments and follows these steps:

  • Impressions: Your dentist takes several impressions of your jaw and measures the space in your mouth.

  • Models: Your dentist makes a mold of wax or plastic in the exact shape of the denture so you can try it and make any adjustments to the color, shape, and fit before the permanent dentures are made.

  • Cast: The final dentures are cast, and then adjusted as necessary.

When you first receive your permanent dentures, your dentist may recommend that you wear them 24 hours a day, even while sleeping, because this is the easiest and quickest way to determine whether there are any spots that need adjustment. It’s important to ensure a good fit right away, because poorly fitting dentures can be irritating to the gums.

Once you have adjusted to the dentures, you can remove them at night to allow normal stimulation of the gum tissues by the tongue and saliva, which helps keep your gum tissue healthy.

Temporary Dentures vs. Permanent Dentures Pros and Cons

One main disadvantage of temporary dentures is that, because they’re made in advance and placed as soon as the damaged or decayed teeth are removed, the fit will not be exact. So they may require more frequent adjustments to get a good fit. Consequently, they should only be considered a temporary solution until the permanent dentures are ready.

You may find that both temporary and permanent dentures take some getting used to. Don’t worry if the dentures feel loose at first—your cheek and tongue muscles will need to adjust to them. And don’t worry if you notice more saliva in your mouth than usual, or if you notice minor soreness or irritation. These problems usually resolve on their own. But if you experience major discomfort that doesn’t seem to improve, see your dentist to have the dentures adjusted.

You may also opt to have your temporary dentures realigned for a better fit so you can use them as permanent dentures. Or, you can keep them as a spare set so you won’t find yourself without teeth if your permanent dentures should get lost or become damaged. If your dentures need repair or realignment, they will have to be sent to a laboratory and probably kept overnight.

When are Dentures Necessary?

Not everyone needs a full set of permanent dentures. A dental bridge fills a gap created by one or more missing teeth.  Removable partial dentures are another option for replacing missing teeth.  There are several reasons to consider removable partial dentures. Not only can partial dentures improve your appearance, they can improve your oral health by keeping your remaining teeth in place. If you opt for a dental bridge, your dentist will fit customized crowns to the teeth on either side of the gap to be bridged. A false tooth (or teeth) called a pontic is attached to the crowns and replaces your missing tooth (or teeth).

Depending on your oral health care needs, you can choose partial dentures that are removable, but bridges are permanently cemented into place. There are three main types of bridges to suit a variety of dental restoration situations:

  • Traditional: This style involves placing crowns on the teeth that border the missing teeth.

  • Cantilever: This style is used if you only have teeth on one side of the missing tooth or teeth.

  • Maryland bonded: This type of bridge consists of a porcelain tooth (or teeth) in a metal framework, with wings to attach it to existing teeth.

Keeping the surrounding, supporting teeth healthy is essential to get the maximum benefit from a dental bridge, so be sure to follow a regular oral care routine of twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing. If you practice good oral hygiene and see a dentist regularly, partial dentures can last from 5 to 15 years.