A temporary set of dentures must be put in place immediately following the extraction of remaining teeth, so it's necessary to have the dentures ready in advance. For this reason, the process of being fitted for a set of temporary dentures begins with preliminary visits for the purpose of measurement and imprinting of the teeth. First, an imprint of the current teeth is made, to allow the dentist to make a set of dentures that closely matches the original teeth as much as possible. The jaw is also modeled to ensure that the dentures are the correct size and shape for the patient's jaw.
The dental staff uses the information gathered in previous appointments, measurements and models to craft a set of individually-fitted dentures for each patient. Once the dentures have been completed, the patient is given an appointment to have her remaining teeth extracted. If there are multiple extractions necessary, the procedure is typically done under general anesthesia. Once the teeth have all been removed, a set of temporary dentures is put into place immediately. The temporary dentures, also called immediate dentures, help to protect the gums, as well as numbing the pain. Immediate dentures allow the patient to have immediate use of a set of dentures, but these may need to be adjusted over time due to the potential of shrinking in the gums and changes in the bone structure of the jaw due to healing.
Once the gum tissues and bones of the jaw have completely healed--which may take at least six to eight weeks, according to the American Dental Association--the patient can be fitted for a set of permanent dentures. This process requires additional measurements of both bone and gums in the mouth of the patient. It's important to ensure that the permanent denture fits the patient perfectly, to prevent sores or other problems that result from chafing.