For most denture wearers, their first set of dentures are actually temporary and not meant to be their final appliance. These temporary types of dentures are also called "immediate" dentures because they are placed immediately following the teeth extractions. They are meant to be used for the first six months or eight months, and then are often replaced by a new set of complete dentures.

However, not everyone replaces them so quickly. This article will explain the process of getting immediate dentures, their pros and cons, how they differ from conventional dentures, and how much they cost.

Immediate denture procedure

Full upper and lower dentures profile

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

The process to get an immediate denture starts when they are still natural teeth in place. Prior to having them extracted, your dental professional will take an impression of the arch (or both arches if you're having a maxillary and mandibular denture made) as well as bite impressions to show how your teeth come together.

A few weeks later, you'll return to the office for oral surgery to extract the remaining natural teeth. You can have this done at a general dentist's office or by an oral surgeon.

Immediately following the extractions, your dentist will put the temporary denture in place. You'll be instructed to wear the denture as long as you can tolerate it and will typically return the very next day for your first adjustment and a 24-hour check of the extraction sites.

You will have multiple visits during the healing time and your dentist might place a temporary reline material to help with sore spots on the gum tissues.

Pros and cons of immediate dentures

There are pros and cons of immediate dentures and it's important to understand these so that you can make a good decision when you're ready to begin the transition.

The biggest advantage to having an immediate denture is that you get to have teeth right after the extractions. You do not have to walk around without teeth for several months until the final dentures are made. This is of course more aesthetically pleasing, but immediate dentures also give you something to eat with. Plus, you get to use your immediate dentures to practice with, which will make your transition into traditional dentures much easier.

The downside to having an immediate dentures after tooth extractions is that you'll need to have a second pair made in the future. This of course adds to the cost and even if you have insurance, they insurance company will typically not pay for a new set of dentures within the first five years.

  • Never go without teeth

  • Get to practice eating and speaking

  • Will need to be replaced

  • Must pay twice

Temporary denture vs conventional ones

Full dentures for lower arch

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

So, how are temporary dentures different than traditional ones? We've talked about the process to make a temporary denture, so let's review how that is different with a standard denture.

A conventional denture is made months after the extractions and healing period. The jawbone goes through a lot of remodeling within the first few months, which is why immediate dentures are meant to be temporary. Once the remodeling is finished (or has at least slowed down), impressions are taken and a final denture can be made. Your denture professional will also take measurements and pictures of your face so that the denture teeth will match your face shape.

A complete denture may also need to be adjusted, but not nearly as much as the temporary ones. A final appliance will last many years if you take proper care of it.

  • Temporary dentures

  • Immediate placement

  • Many adjustments needed during healing process

  • Temporary solution, replace after 6-8 months

  • Should last many years with proper care

  • Traditional Dentures

  • Wait until 6-8 months after tooth extractions

  • Few adjustments needed

How much for temporary dentures?

The cost for temporary dentures depends largely on where you live and if you have insurance or not. Immediate dentures range in price from $1,500 to over $4,000. Many people are surprised to find out that they are typically more expensive than conventional dentures. The reason is that they are more complicated to make and often require multiple adjustment appointments.

If you are fortunate to have dental insurance, there are many benefit plans that cover dentures at about 50%. As we mentioned earlier, there are also replacement periods and most will not pay to replace the dentures sooner than five years.

Keep in mind that there are additional costs for dentures, which will include X-rays, extractions, and anesthesia. You may also need prescription medications to help with pain after the extractions. If you are getting an implant-retained denture, there will be an additional cost for the dental implants and other required procedures.

FAQ

Who is a good candidate for immediate dentures?

Patients who still have most of their teeth remaining are the best candidates for immediate removable dentures. If any of the natural teeth can be saved, a partial denture might be a better option.

Are traditional dentures thinner than temporary dentures?

Conventional dentures are often thinner than temporary dentures since they won't need to be adjusted as much due to initial bone remodeling.

How long do immediate dentures last?

Immediate dentures will only last six to eight months before a new permanent set must be made.

References

  1. Manufacturing of an immediate removable partial denture with an intraoral scanner and CAD-CAM technology: a case report - NCBI
  2. Immediate Dentures - IOWA
  3. Immediate complete dentures - PubMed