Fake teeth, or dentures, are generally made to order over a period of between three and six weeks, depending on the size of the denture and the length of the patient’s healing time if any teeth were removed beforehand. The fake teeth are created by a dentist or prosthodontist who specializes in the replacement of teeth.
The first step in the process is an arranged meeting or meetings – sometimes up to four are necessary – to determine which type of denture is most suitable. In some cases, an “immediate” set of dentures may be wise; these dentures are made in advance and can be put in place immediately after real teeth are removed. The disadvantage of these dentures is that they require occasional adjustments as the gums shrink after tooth removal. Because of this, they are generally considered to be only a temporary fix until permanent dentures can be fitted.
“Conventional” dentures are long-term fake teeth that can be put in place roughly ten weeks after teeth have been removed. In this case the dentist will take several impressions of the patient’s teeth and jaws, taking note of how they interact and the spacing between them in order to make accurate and comfortable dentures. Following this meeting, the dentist or prsothodontist will create a model of the dentures out of plastic or wax, which the patient can then try on to assess the fit before the actual dentures are made.
The final denture will then be cast out of either acrylic or porcelain. Most modern dentures are acrylic, a form of strong and durable plastic. It is an especially popular option when an entire tooth or multiple teeth must be removed. Porcelain is usually reserved for crowns, caps, and bridges, as it can chip more easily than acrylic and also causes more wear on any nearby natural teeth, though they also last longer than acrylic. A porcelain false tooth may be entirely porcelain, or it may have a metal framework that the porcelain is baked onto. Regardless of which material the denture is made of, the false gums are cast in acrylic. The dentist will attempt to match the color of the gums to the patient’s actual gums so that the dentures are not obvious.
After the dentures have been cast, the dentist consults with the patient to make sure that the teeth fit well and do not cause discomfort. If the all-clear is given, the patient is able to leave and begin enjoying the full functionality of their new teeth. In some cases, the patient’s gums or even underlying bone may shift after teeth have been removed, in which case dentures may be adjusted by the dentist.