Transitional dentures are dentures designed to transition a patient from one oral condition into the next. Transitional dentures are temporary appliances that will ultimately be replaced and discarded.
The need for this type of treatment arises when a patient is faced with the extraction of some or all of their remaining dentition, but does not want to be “toothless” while they heal and recover post-surgery.
One of the options patients can consider is an immediate denture. This is a denture that is fabricated prior to extractions and placed immediately after the natural dentition has been removed. In most cases, patients are still under the effect of local or general anesthetic. The denture is designed in a manner to fit over the swollen tissues and provide some degree of aesthetics (teeth) while they recover. Some four to eight weeks later after tissues have fully healed, a reline procedure is performed to restore and reshape the appliance to accommodate the final shape of their ridge.
The down side with immediate dentures is the appearance issues are often compromised as no wax try-in, a sort of preview process, can be performed during the construction as the denture must be completely fabricated prior to extractions. Large or bulky fit are common complaints with immediate dentures, and although relines can help reshape some of the acrylic, the tooth positions are generally unalterable.
Transitional dentures are constructed in a similar fashion and are inserted immediately post extraction. The significant difference is once a patient has healed rather than attempting relining and refitting, the appliance is simply replaced by a conventional denture. When conventional dentures are fabricated, the advantage of accuracy and ability to accommodate any patient desire around appearance can be accomplished. The denture is now being built on what the ridges ultimately present post healing rather than an approximation pre-extraction. No relines will be necessary as the fit will be accurate.
Ask you dental provider about transitional/conventional options. Often the cost is the same or very similar to doing an immediate denture followed by a reline. The benefit of a more precision denture process can make for a happy and easy transition to a new smile.