A “denture” is a form of dental prosthetic that allows for the placement of a series of artificial teeth in an area where healthy teeth used to exist. They can be made from a variety of materials, and can contain as many teeth as are missing in either jaw. However, once all teeth are lost in either the mandibular (lower) or maxillary (upper) jaws, a complete (or, full) denture would be necessary. This code refers to a complete “lower” denture that is worn in the mandibular arch (or, lower jaw).
When a person experiences the loss of all the teeth in either jaw a complete denture may be a viable solution. This appliance allows the wearer to properly pronounce words that would be otherwise difficult, and most importantly provides a familiar and effective mechanism for chewing food. A complete denture also helps relieve cosmetic concerns that arise when teeth are missing. It isn't commonly known that the shape of our faces is largely determined by the shape and dimension of the teeth and bone within our mouths. When teeth are lost and bone mass decreases, so too does the natural appearance they support, and instead a face tends to “collapse” inward. So, in addition to the practical application of a denture as described above, a denture also provides an affordable fix to this less-than-ideal social stressor.
The procedure for making a full denture is akin to that of making a partial denture, albeit with a few more steps and different materials. The process begins about 8-12 weeks after the extraction of any remaining “non-vital” (dead) or decayed teeth. Once the gums are healed, a mold is made as a base for additional molds so as to accurately define and capture a person's bite. Finely tuned measurements of the mandibular (lower) arch will be matched with the complete upper, and tissue-shaded powders will be used to match the color of the artificial teeth and gums in the lower arch with the natural color of any remaining teeth and visible gum tissue in the upper arch. The complete process can take anywhere from three to six weeks and will require several appointments to ensure the best fit possible.