An “immediate denture” is a form of dental prosthetic worn in the period between when a person has all of their teeth extracted, and the fitting of a permanent denture. Both upper and lower immediate dentures can be worn, and this dental service code description applies to the type worn in the upper (or, maxillary) jaw.
Because of the number of multiple extractions done in preparation for a permanent denture, and because sutures are often not used to close the extraction sites, the mouth can take several months to properly heal. Consequently, an immediate denture is used to protect vulnerable gum tissue by covering the extraction sites, and preventing bacteria from finding its way to the area. A temporary denture also helps to prevent excessive swelling, and provides an obvious cosmetic benefit that would not otherwise be possible during the healing months.
The procedure for making an immediate denture is similar to that of a complete set, but fabrication only takes 2-3 days as opposed to 8-12 weeks with a permanent set. The process begins with your dentist making a mold of your mouth prior to the full extraction of all teeth. This mold is then sent to a dental laboratory where the immediate denture is fabricated to match the size of the teeth in your mouth as well as the color and contour of your gums. Once the mold is complete, you would be scheduled for your extractions.
After your procedure, the immediate denture would be placed in your mouth and required to remain in place for (generally) around 72 hours. As mentioned above, this helps to facilitate what is known as “controlled healing” – a process that allows your gums to heal in a protected manner without excessive swelling, and infection. In the months following the installation of your immediate denture, your dentist will adjust the fit as is necessary. The frequency of your visits will vary depending on the recession rate of alveolar bone tissue, which can recede anywhere from 40-60% in height during this timeframe, and your overall healing. Once the team of professionals managing your care feel your mouth has completely healed and you are ready to begin a fitting for your permanent upper denture, that process would commence.