Formerly Nancy Tomkins and Associates

The Technical Aspect of Dentures

There are two components involved in the detailed process of designing, constructing and fabricating precision dentures: the clinical procedures performed by Nancy and Cliff directly in the patient’s mouth, and the technical procedures completed in our denture laboratory.

Fabricating precision dentures is far more complex than most people realize and multiple appointments are required to determine the specific measurements unique to each patient to ensure optimum fit, ideal function and a natural looking smile.

In our laboratory we use high quality European dental materials to simulate the gum tissue and teeth. Since we all have varying shades of gum tissue, denture acrylic is available in different shades. The commercially manufactured teeth are also available in a variety of shades, shapes and material quality that reflects directly on the natural appearance, durability and cost of the dentures.

Cheap denture teeth are used far too often in the fabrication of dentures without the patient being aware of it. This compromises the durability, chewing efficiency and appearance of the denture.

The process of creating a denture begins with an impression (mould) of the upper and lower arches (gums). These impressions are used to create dental stone models that are replicas of the arches. A customized form-fitting impression tray is fabricated on these models to take a second, far more detailed impression, using precise impression material to capture muscle movement. After a second set of dental stone models are poured, a wax rim is fabricated to assist Nancy or Cliff with establishing the bite (the relation of the upper and lower arches to each other).

This information is now transferred into an articulator – an instrument that holds the positioning of the arches to each other and simulates the movements of the jaw (opening, closing and side movements that we all do while chewing and speaking). Once the bite is established, the selected denture teeth are set up in wax according to specific measurements.

This arrangement of teeth is tried in the mouth so that adjustments can be made. After Nancy or Cliff have verified the correct bite with the patient, and all esthetic (appearance) and phonetic (speech) requirements are met, the denture is processed (completed).

Finishing a denture is a time-consuming process whereby the form of the wax denture, including the denture teeth, is invested in dental stone to replace the wax with pink dental acrylic. This investment is heated, and the wax is removed. The empty mould is then filled through high-pressure injection.

After a curing period, the stone investment is removed, the acrylic is trimmed and polished, and the denture is complete.

Because each mouth is as unique as your fingerprint, the techniques that are used in our clinic are even more comprehensive than explained above. We use additional measurements and equipment (eg: intra oral pintracer and facebow) to establish the precise bite and the correct position of the stone models in the articulator in order to simulate the accurate movements of the patient’s jaw.

It is important to know that the quality of materials used in denture fabrication and the correct alignment of the denture teeth is critical for optimum fit and function.

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