If you lose one or more teeth due to gum disease or tooth decay, you can replace these teeth with partial or complete dentures. Dentures are removable false teeth that look like natural teeth.
After a dentist extracts your teeth, it can take several months to fabricate or make your custom permanent dentures. In the meantime, you can choose to wear immediate or temporary dentures.
Here’s what you need to know about temporary dentures, including the pros and cons, and whether you’re a good candidate for this kind of false teeth.
What are immediate (also called temporary) dentures?
The primary difference between an immediate denture and a conventional, or permanent, denture is that the former is temporary. Immediate dentures aren’t custom-fitted to the mouth like permanent dentures, so they don’t always fit properly.
Immediate dentures are dentures placed in your mouth on the same day that your dentist extracts your teeth. You’ll wear these for the first several months after extraction. This way, you’ll have teeth while awaiting the arrival of your permanent dentures.
Immediate dentures also protect your gum tissue as your mouth heals from the extraction.
What are the pros and cons of immediate dentures?
If your dentist suggests immediate dentures, it’s important to understand the pros and cons so that you know what to expect.
Pros of immediate dentures
- They immediately fill gaps in your mouth after a tooth extraction, or after a full-mouth extraction.
- They protect your gums during the healing process, and help to minimize gum bleeding.
- You receive immediate dentures on the same day as your extraction.
Cons of immediate dentures
- They aren’t custom-made to your mouth, so the fit isn’t as ideal as permanent dentures, and they may slip or move a bit.
- You may need to have your immediate dentures periodically adjusted or relined for comfort. “Relined” means adding extra material to the denture to account for changes in your mouth due to healing.
- You might experience soreness or irritation as your mouth adjusts to the dentures.
- You’ll need to wear them for about 4 to 6 months, until your permanent dentures arrive.
- They don’t always feel like natural teeth. Also, they’re not as sharp as permanent dentures. This makes chewing a little harder for some people.
- You may experience jaw bone shrinkage after an extraction, so your dentist will have to periodically adjust or realign your immediate dentures for comfort.
- You can’t try them on before a tooth extraction.
Who’s a good candidate for immediate (temporary) dentures?
To be clear, you don’t “have” to get an immediate denture.
If you’re only losing one tooth or a few teeth (on the sides of your mouth), these missing teeth might be unnoticeable. For this reason, the decision to get an immediate denture is often one of personal choice based on the cost of treatment and the pros and cons.
However, your dentist will likely suggest immediate dentures with a full mouth extraction.
Keep in mind, too, that immediate dentures can trigger gag reflexes in some people. Because these dentures aren’t custom-fitted to your mouth like conventional dentures, they can move around easily and touch the back of your mouth, thus triggering this reflex.
If you have a strong gag reflex, you might skip an immediate denture and wait for your permanent dentures, which will have a better fit.