Making dentures at home

Believe it or not, it can be done.

Most of us old fogey’s can’t afford dentures, at $1,000 a pop (or mom!) for each denture!

And, if we’re lucky enough to be on some ‘free dental’ scheme, we have to wait about 4 years because the queue is soooooo long for dentures.

So here we sit, either totally embarassed at our unsightly toothless smile or unable to eat hard foods, or both.

Well, this is all about to change.

You can make your own dentures, and it costs ‘peanuts’, and you can most probably make a better fitting denture than generally available through ‘channels’

I wonder why these people charge such ridiculous amounts of money for something that relatively easy and very cheap to make.

The answer… ‘Because they can’

The old story of the rich feeding off of the poor.

It’s the story of current medical science.

Anyway, enough of that… I’ll get carried away with the ridiculous deceptions and offerings of the medical and pharmaceutical fraternaties for cancer ‘cures’ that kill you (oh he/she died of cancer… NOT! They died of lethal chemicals and radiation that these rich and greedy fellows fed them), and of course that old ridiculous chestnut deception HIV/AIDS manufactured out of nothing like the money of the Federal Reserve, to fill the coffers of the medical and pharmaceutical fraternaties. There’s a million dollar prize out on the internet for anybody who can prove the existence of the HIV virus. It’s NEVER BEEN SEEN! Why? because it doesn’t exist. Anyway… moving right along…

Materials you will need for your new dentures can be ordered from our online shop at
makeyourowndentures.com

Algenate

Plaster of Paris

Self Cure Dental Acrylic powder

Self Cure Dental Acrylic monomer

Acrylic teeth sets

Small piece of stainless steel wire for braces

Dental trays (upper and lower)

and a $2 pack of good old ‘Blu Tack’

You’ll also need:

A small ceramic or stainless steel mixing bowl (most probably from your kitchen)

a mixing fork and spoon from your kitchen

small brushes from the $2 shop

Power angle grinder from you local hardware tool shop or the garden shed

Your power drill with a set of stone grinders set in spindles

Some tight fitting rubber gloves

and last but not least, a small amount of butter… Yes, butter! You also can use Vaseline.

OK, now you’ve got the ‘stuff’, how do we make our dentures.

Let’s start with upper dentures, because this is the one I first had to make for myself. :)

An upper denture generally includes a thin plate that covers the upper palate. Why? So the denture will ‘stick’ in place through suction against your upper palate when you put it in your mouth.

Lower dentures generally are just formed around the gum line with required teeth and include little stainless steel wire clips to hold the denture in place against any existing teeth.

Process:

Upper dentures:

Take algenate negative impression

OK, what’s this algenate stuff? Well, it’s made from seaweed and comes in a powder which you mix with a small amount of water to make a stiff gooey mix which you place in your upper dental tray. Use about 1/3 of a cup of algenate powder and a bit more than 1/3 of a cup of water. If you use a scoop of algenate powder you’ll need a little more than a scoop of water. Be sure to fill the tray up. Some of the algenate products change color when they’re ready to place in your mouth. Some algenates set in about 3 minutes from the time you mixed the algenate with water, so you have to be quick but not rush. There’s plenty of time to mix, place the mix in the dental tray, and place the dental tray in your mouth.

Open wide, you may have to use your fingers to pull your lips aside and firmly push the dental tray loaded with algenate up over your top teeth so your teeth are centred in the tray. Control your involuntary gag reflex, and breath calmly and slowly through your open mouth. Allow any excess saliva just to drip out of your mouth (don’t try to swallow). Don’t bite down too hard so your teeth touch the tray. However, push the tray up over your teeth to ensure a good full impression. Make sure you’ve filled the tray up so you also get an impression of your gums where your back molars used to be! Hold the dental tray in position for a minimum of 30 seconds and most probably longer. If you’ve got some spare mixed algenate still in the bowl, you can touch it with your finger to check when it hardens.

When the algenate has hardened, carefully and slowly apply outward pressure and wiggle the dental tray very gently and you will find the algenate will separate from your teeth and the tray with you new teeth mold will pop off your teeth. Carefully extract the tray with it’s new mold from you mouth.

You now have a negative mold of your existing teeth and gums. Congratulations!

Now the next step is to turn this negative mold into a positive mold to enable shaping the first part of your new dentures.

Carefully brush a small amount of butter (or Vaseline) into your algenate negative mold like you would for baking a cake. And it’s for the same reason… so that the positive mold material will not stick to the negative mold! I usually just brush the butter or Vaseline into the teeth cavities of the mold.

Place the dental tray on your table so you can see your teeth mold. Construct a little ‘dam’ around the dental tray so when you pour the plaster of paris mix into the mold, it can fill up the whole mold. I built my ‘dam’ with a 2cm cylindrical section cut out of a tin can of beans!

Position the dental tray inside your ‘dam’.

Mix up some plaster of paris with water into a nice thinnish smooth paste. About 2 parts by volume plaster to 1 part by volume of water. You’ve got about 15 minutes till the plaster of paris sets, so there’s plenty of time.

Initially, place small amounts of plaster where the teeth impressions are in the algenate mold, and get a little stick, eg a tooth pick, and carefully ‘mix’ the plaster into the teeth impressions, without damaging the algenate mold, so as to get rid of air bubbles. Place small amounts of plaster over the palate area as well. You’ll be surprised how insidious those drat air bubbles can be. If you don’t you will find air bubbles in your mold when it sets, and half made teeth. Grrrrr! OK, now fill the ‘dam’ up with plaster. Once you’ve filled up the teeth with plaster of paris, and gotten rid of the air bubbles, you can liberally pour the rest of the plaster of paris in to cover the whole mold up to the top edge of your ‘dam’.

Wait at least 1 hour and preferably longer for the plaster of paris to set.

Remove the dam, and carefully try to remove the negative mold with the dental tray. You may have to chip or cut away bits of plaster to free the dental tray. Once it’s free, it should separate easily from the positive mold because of the thin layer of butter or Vaseline between the two.

Voila, you have a positive mold of your upper palate and gums, and remaining teeth.

You will use this mold to make what’s called the ‘base plate’ of the denture, a very thin mold of pink acrylic plastic, over the upper palate and your gums where you need the new false teeth. This plastic mold should only be about one to two millimeters thick, the thinner the better, since it’s going to be in your mouth and the thinner it is, the better you will be able to talk and the easier it will be for you to put the denture in your mouth.

Here’s an example of a bad mold with demon bubbles :(

And here’s an example of a real good mold:

A big mistake which I made initially was to use too much plastic. Even if you mix too much plastic, only use a very small amount to make this acrylic base plate. And make it thin!

Here’s the mess I ended up with on my first try.  As they say, experience is the best teacher…

The pink acrylic plastic for the denture comes in a two part mix, a pink powder, and a clear ‘monomer’ liquid which you mix together with the powder to make the denture plastic.

You’ve got about 5 minutes from start of mix to setting of this plastic mix so you need to move reasonably quickly. The mixing should take less than 1 minute. Follow the instructions for mix quantities.

Put your tight rubber gloves on before working with the plastic powder and monomer. The gloves have to be tight or else you will not be able to mold with your fingers. Make sure your work space has plenty of air conditioning, open doors etc. etc. because the chemicals really smell, and must be somewhat poisonous if inhaled too much.

Now, your artistic skills come into play.

When you’ve mixed the acrylic powder and monomer you need to apply a very thin veneer of this mix across the palate and gums of your positive mold. I did this using my fingers as the tools to spread and press the plastic against the mold. You may think of a better way to achieve this. Make sure the base plate is continuous with no holes and wraps around the gum area.

After a few minutes the plastic will begin to set. By this time you need to be finished spreading and pressing. The plastic stays soft for a little while and you are able to perfect your mold until it hardens.

You now have to heat the mold and acrylic base plate to the temperature of boiling water for at least 10 minutes to ‘set’ or ‘cure’ the plastic. I did this by putting the mold is a small metal container and ‘floating’ this container in boiling water within a kitchen pot!

After the plastic has hardened, you can pry the base plate gently away from the mold.

Clean up the rough edges with the angle grinder, and voila, the base plate should fit snuggly inside your mouth over your gums and upper palate.

Here is a picture of the teeth side of the palet plate, ready for blu tack and teeth.

And here’s the other side which fits snuggly up against my upper palet

If you’re familiar with using a domestic angle grinder, it’s a very useful tool for shaping your denture. If you hold the denture in one hand and the angle grinder in the other, you can very carefully touch the denture against the spinning wheel to shape it. Another option is to use a bench grinder.

I bought a little hand grinder for working with jewelery to work on the denture, however it turned out far too weak. Maybe I just bought a bad one?

Also putting the grinding stones in your power drill is very effective. Again, I bought a set for $7, and used the spherical grinding stone which was about 2cm diameter to grind away excess plastic in the palate.

You’ll be quite chuffed by this time as you’ve already very simply demonstrated how easy it is to make the base plate.

Clean and dry your plastic base plate.

Take a very thin strip of blu tack (about 1mm thick), about as wide as your gums (ie. less than 10mm) and stick and press it down on the base plate where you are going to build up gums and teeth. Push this strip of blu tack firmly onto the plastic base plate so it sticks. This makes it easy to put more blu tack on top to build up the gums.

Now, get hold of some upper jaw acrylic teeth and get familiar with the different sorts of teeth and where they normally go in the human jaw. Recognise which teeth you still have in your mouth (which of course are on your positive mold), and get ready to fit the remaining teeth around the base plate to build up your new denture. You can go on the web and Google ‘human teeth’ to get familiar with them.

Now put your base plate back on the positive plaster mold and roll a cylinder of blu tack about 5mm in diameter and press it down on the inside edge of the gum line (your teeth are going to be facing outwards on the outside edge of the gum line). What you’ll find is that you’re going to expose the outside face of the teeth as they normally appear, while the inside face of the teeth is going to be merged into the blu tack gum.

Less is better always, since the more stuff you put in your denture, the more stuff you’re going to have in your mouth when you wear it. The teeth need to be seated quite firmly in the blu tack with the gum on the inside running right up to the top of the teeth, and the outside face of the teeth being free of blu tack (except of course between the teeth like a normal gum line).

You’ll be very pleased with your new work of art. Make sure that you smooth the blu tack into a continuous ‘gum’ surface and also that on the outside edge you fill in the little gaps between the teeth just like a normal human gum does.

Now, the big advantage.

You can place your new denture in your mouth and check it out of bite and positioning of teeth. You can do this as many times as you like! You’re not paying some expert for his or her time. So, I believe you can a really really good fit for your new denture.

By the way, blu tack is harmless. It is not poisonous. It’s made of a secret rubber formula.

You can add, remove, mold the blu tack to your hearts content, until you feel you’ve got the shape and bite of your dentures correct. (assuming you’ve got some teeth in your lower jaw!)

No pressure!

Once all is right you’re ready to make your final negative mold from plaster of paris.

The idea here is that we’re going to replace the blu tack with acrylic plastic. Luckily, it turns out that the new plastic gums that replace the blu tack will merge and ‘glue’ into the existing denture plastic palate plate (I believe at a molecular level), and form one continuous strong piece of plastic… your new denture!

Now, it’s important that any new acrylic plastic does not stick to the palate side of your plate as this already fits your palate.  So, get some blu tack and carefully press onto the palate side of your denture so that the whole surface including the gum area is covered with a thin amount of blu tack.  This is the upper side of the denture that fits your gums and palate.

Also, you’re going to cover the inside edge of the gums and the palate of your base plate that face down into your mouth, with butter or vaseline so it will not stick to the plaster of paris, however it’s very important to leave the outside face of the teeth clean so that the teeth DO stick in the mold. You’ll find out why soon.

Get hold of one of the dams you made earlier.  I made them by cutting horizontally across a bean can (see pictures above).

Cut the dam so that it opens and tie it closed with a bit of string.  This is because you’re going to remove the dam from you new mold after the plaster of paris has set.

OK. Take your dam and place it on some newspaper or other disposable surface and place sufficient plaster of paris mix in it so it will comfortably allow your denture to sink into it without touching the bottom of the dam.

Carefully push your denture teeth downwards into the plaster of paris until the plaster of paris is just about to start covering the upper palate surface of your denture.

Leave your denture there till the plaster of paris hardens.

Now carefully break away any plaster of paris that has leaked over the top of the denture and wiggle your denture carefully and gently out of the plaster of paris.  What you should find, it that your new teeth plus your blu tack gums remain in the mold.  The teeth will be stuck firmly to the outside edge of the mold, while the blu tack can be carefully extracted until it is all taken out.  You are now left with just your new teeth stuck in the mold.

Undo the string holding the dam closed and discard the dam.

Now follows a vital part of your denture manufacture.  To complete your dentures, we’re going to do is mix up some more acrylic plastic, place it around the teeth and push the palate plate onto this plastic, so that the base plate and the new plastic ‘gums’ merge into one piece of plastic.

What we DON’T want is excess plastic to squish inside your denture.  We’ve got to arrange for any excess plastic to be be able to squish out from the denture mold (not in).  This is arranged by cutting little gutters on the outside of the mold that allow any excess plastic to be squeezed outwards when we press the base plate into the mold.

OK, so now you cut these little gutters,and place you palate base plate back on the mold to checkout how much plastic your going to have to put in the mold to make your gums.

Mix your acrylic plastic and place just sufficient in the mold where the gums are and press the base plate onto the new plastic.

Be very careful not to place too much plastic in the mold.

Make sure the base plate is firmly pressed onto the mold and there is no new plastic inside the base plate.  It should have all squished out of the gutters you cut.

Hold the plastic base plate firmly down on the mold. Let the plastic dry for a few minutes.

Peel off the blu tack that was protecting the the upper side of the denture.

Then cure your denture as before in boiling water.

Voila, your denture is complete.  Break away the plaster of paris mold carefully, clean and shape any burrs or excess plastic off of your new denture (do not modify the surface that snuggly fits your palate and gums unless necessary).

Put your new dentures in your mouth and start munching.

You may find you have a ‘gag’ reflex when you place the denture in your mouth.  You just have to teach your body and your mind to accept your denture.  You can also use your artistic skills to modify your denture to make it as thin as possible and as comfortable as possible and so you can talk properly.

That’s it folks for now. Still working on this text. Come back in a day or two and there’ll be more. :)