Dentures Fabrication of complete dentures
Modern dentures are most often fabricated in a commercial dental laboratory or by a denturist using a combination of tissue shaded powders polymethylmethacrylate acrylic (PMMA). These acrylics are available as heat cured or cold cured types. Commercially produced acrylic teeth are widely available in hundreds of shapes and tooth colors.
The process of fabricating a denture usually begins with an initial dental impression of the maxillary and mandibular ridges. Standard impression materials are used during the process. The initial impression is used to create a simple stone model that represents the maxillary and mandibular arches of the patient's mouth. This is not a detailed impression at this stage. Once the initial impression is taken, the stone model is used to create a 'Custom Impression Tray' which is used to take a second and much more detailed and accurate impression of the patient's maxillary and mandibular ridges. Polyvinylsiloxane impression material is one of several very accurate impression materials used when the final impression is taken of the maxillary and mandibular ridges. A wax rim is fabricated to assist the dentist or denturist in establishing the vertical dimension of occlusion. After this, a bite registration is created to marry the position of one arch to the other.
Once the relative position of each arch to the other is known, the wax rim can be used as a base to place the selected denture teeth in correct position. This arrangement of teeth is tested in the mouth so that adjustments can be made to the occlusion. After the occlusion has been verified by the dentist or denturist and the patient, and all phonetic requirements are met, the denture is processed.
Processing a denture is usually performed using a lost-wax technique whereby the form of the final denture, including the acrylic denture teeth, is invested in stone. This investment is then heated, and when it melts the wax is removed through a spruing channel. The remaining cavity is then either filled by forced injection or pouring in the uncured denture acrylic, which is either a heat cured or cold-cured type. During the processing period, heat cured acrylics—also called permanent denture acrylics—go through a process called polymerization, causing the acrylic materials to bond very tightly and taking several hours to complete. After a curing period, the stone investment is removed, the acrylic is polished, and the denture is complete. The end result is a denture that looks much more natural, is much stronger and more durable than a cold cured temporary denture, resists stains and odors, and will last for many years.
Cold cured or cold pour dentures, also known as temporary dentures, do not look very natural, are not very durable, tend to be highly porous and are only used as a temporary expedient until a more permanent solution is found. These types of dentures are inferior and tend to cost much less due to their quick production time (usually minutes) and low cost materials. It is not suggested that a patient wear a cold cured denture for a long period of time, for they are prone to cracks and can break rather easily.