DIY Dentures : a Post-Surgical Plan

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About: I am an automotive technician going on 18 years. I started when I was 14. graduating with several college credits and a full scholarship for the CAPS program. These days I still work automotive to get by, b...

FYI for my DIY. This is my first instructable on this site. I am making it with the intentions of entering the casting contest. I have been wanting to create an instructable for some time now, and this is the first thing I have created in awhile that has not been posted 200 times over.

I will be making my own Dentures. Here is the twist though. I still have teeth in my mouth but are due to be taken out within the next 2-6 weeks. No I didn’t drink too much soda, no, I did not get into a scuffle with the tooth fairy, I just had little to no enamel from a child, and 5 yrs of braces did a number. Ever since it has been rebuild, after rebuild, after rebuild. Now its at the point where my last surgery really messed a few things up, and with them falling out of alignment so quickly, it causes pain and migrane headaches, cannot eat, (that last one upsets me), anyways, long story short, I’m broke and in need of teeth that are usable directly after the surgery. I will quickly explain the procedure I used , go over the materials, then go more in depth on the casting during the creation of my dentures. My course of action to get dentures fitted to my mouth WITHOUT having to have my teeth removed is some what tricky when it comes to ding things at home. I had to make a casting of my existing teeth. With that, I was able to take fine enough photos with my Samsung Phone to create a 3d model of my teeth using free photogrammetry and modeling software. I then was able to remove or cut out the teeth from the gum line in free 3d editing software. After 3d printing my toothless model, I could then mount it to an articulater to begin building the “wax-up” model of my new dentures. When the look appropriate, I take ANOTHER casting but in a dental flask this time. From there I am able to remove the wax from mold by boiling. Once mold is cleaned and inspected, I can press in the acrylic material for the final casting. All that is left to do after breaking the dentures out of the mold, is a little cleaning, polishing, and shaping with a rotary tool.

****DISCLAIMER*****

First thing is first, I am not responsible for anyone that wants to try this. I am NOT a dentist. I have just had an abundance of dental work done in the past to generally know what to do. Also, the point of this is to give a general bone structure and layout of my mouth so I have something to use when I am home from surgery. Therefor I only need a general shape because I will heal over the next few weeks, things will change a bit, then I can take another cast of my mouth to take the final shape to line the dentures for a more comfortable fit. So, for my circumstances, this worked more than well, and would do it 100 more times if needed. But I got my first set on my first try, so patience!!!!!!

Step 1: Materials, Tools, Links, and Sources

Materials

Dental kit – Includes :

Impression Trays

Alginate Material for dental impressions

Dental Stone Material for casting impressions

Base plates wax for creating wax up of dentures

Stick wax for smoothing, and filling

1x28 teeth full set acrylic teeth

Denture
base acrylic heat or cold cure pink powder for actual dentures

Denture base liquid heat or cold cure

Separating foil

Latex gloves

REQUIRED but not in kit:

Dental articulater for denture setup

Dental flask for casting the dentures from wax-up

Sculpting/shaping tools (fire resistant)

Alcohol burner, torch, heat source

Rotary tool for removing excess acrylic and polishing

Pressure cooker if using HEAT CURED ACRYLIC

Modeling clay / Putty / (Epoxy as last resort)

Hammer

Thermal gloves

Tools / vice for tightening and pressing the flask hardware.

NOT required unless teeth have not been removed yet::

REQUIRED FOR TELEGRAMETRY, and design of “digital baseplates”

-digital camera (samsung phone worked fine) or xrays from dental office.

-Computer with linux (windows possible too) for rendering models.

-3d printer

-pla filament or similar.

Links for Sources:

www.miamidentalsupplies.com/denture-kit.html – Dental Kit

www.amazon.com – Dental Flask

www.blender.com – Software

www.meshlab.com – Software

www.ccwu.me/vsfm/

www.repetier.com __3d Printer Software

Step 2: Begin

To start, we will need to take a mold of existing teeth for the stone casting. Gather the first round of materials needed.

**I ordered a “denture kit” from www.miamidentalsupplies.com I found it in my search for information on the subject of denture production. It is in the area of 90 dollars for everything needed (material wise) to construct the dentures, and the dentures alone. They are a dental supply, meaning that they are selling this kit in the assumption that you are a dentist and have all other required materials.

Take the alginate from the dental kit (probably a purple or blue color) and measure out a little more than half of it if you are taking a mold of the top set first. Since the kit came without instructions, and there is little to no information on how to mix the stuff. I will have to explain the best way possible on how to do this without ruining the alginate mold. Have mixing tools and cleanup materials handy due to this stuff seems to set pretty fast, no matter how you mix it. (60-90 seconds) and yes, have a stopwatch handy. IT MATTERS. Totally possible to get lost in complications and cut yourself short. What happens if that occurs? You may glue a dental tray to your teeth and play the game of trying not to rip your teeth out of your head. (assuming if you are like me and have weak, eroded, and broken teeth)

Step 3: Mixing Alginate

This was tricky. The alginate is a super fine powder, so a little bit of water goes quite a way. I mixed in 2 to 3 table spoons of distilled water to start and began mixing, if seamed as if the alginate was well saturated stop, if parts are still dry, add another table spoon or two of water and keep mixing. Repeat if not saturated, (but I doubt it is needed).

Also, swift movement is required, as I said, it sets fairly quick.

Take the alginate putty/goo and press into the dental tray evenly.

Then center the dental tray where the row of teeth sets in the middle of the tray cavity, and you will need to press it down(or up depending which set you are doing) about ¾ of the depth. Try not to bottom out by pressing too far. Its way more important to have it centered and down far enough to cover the gumline plus an extra cm or so.

After the 90seconds are up (maximum) rock the dental tray downwards and upwards alternating from front to back and the alginate will release with a bit of applied force

****I gave myself 20 seconds to mix, 10 seconds to get the tray loaded, 10 seconds to center the tray where I can make a proper impression, 10 seconds to slowly sink upper teeth into the alginate about ¾ of the way as to not bottom out on the tray, and used the last 30- 40 seconds to let set. Towards the end of the last process, begin to rock the dental tray downwards and upwards alternating from front to back and the alginate will release with a bit of applied force. (Not too much force!!)

Repeat entire process for the opposing set of teeth.

Step 4: Casting From Mold

**The next part will needed to be done right away to ensure that the alginate does not shift, shrink, or dry out. Also, just as the alginate, the dental stone will be mixed as needed, do not try to mix all in one go and fill both molds. The best bet is one at a time.

Prepare the dental stone by measuring out a little more than half of the dental stone that is provided by the above mentioned dental kit.

The dental stone will be prepared in almost the same way. Only this stuff is mixed from a 65%/35% to 50%/50% (dental stone%/water%). I pretty much started small on the water and mixed in little by little until I reached about a loose mustard texture. It should be just runny enough to flow easily into the alginate mold.

Once again, try to work quickly as this will set pretty fast as well. Next evenly pour stone slurry into the alginate mold, while tapping the sides of dental tray to help work out all the air bubbles. Try to keep most of it in the mold, and stack any run-off on the top to serve as a base for our casting. As it sets, it will begin to get thicker, and that becomes an easy process.

**OPTIONAL**

Instead of tapping the sides, I have a large back massage device from bed bath and beyond that I touched it to, so the vibration could work out the air bubbles. Easy and far more effective than tapping.

It takes about 2 or 3 minutes to set depending on temperature and mix of dental stone. Once this happens. Move to an area where it can be undisturbed for 24 hours.

Step 5: Getting the Shape

This part can be done one of two ways. I will give a rundown of what I did for this part. As not a lot of this pertains to molding or casting, I will not go into detail.

I took photos of the casts with my phone (36 from different angles for each piece). That enabled me to reconstruct my casts in 3d software (Visualsfm and Meshlab) using the photogrammetry process. After I had a model of my castings, I opened my files in BLENDER (3d software) to adjust the size from measurements I got from using my micrometer (10 bucks harbor freight). Now my model should be the exact size and shape of my originals, which I then printed out on my 3d printer with a resolution of .1mm.

Since my print turned out perfect in size, I could then go back to BLENDER and remove the teeth from my gum line smoothing down after all teeth have been extracted from my model.

I then printed my new models with the confidence of knowing that the gum lines are matching.

*****IF NO 3D PRINTER********

The teeth can be carefully removed with a pair of pliers and a flat file. Just be sure to get things smooth and to take off the appropriate amount of material. I would figure it would be about the same amount for this process, I cannot say, because I went the 3d printer route. Since things heal, change and move, no matter what, the important thing to me was to get the general shape and sized so I could be in the ball park for when my teeth are actually removed. Then the dentures can be relined for a perfect fit once the gums are healed from the surgery.

*** if this method is used be sure to get extra molding and casting material to make a master copy of your main model. The first castings are needed to line up the gum line models.

Step 6: Articulator Setup

The Articulator. This tool is a must have. This tool is just an artificial jaw. Some are fancier than others, but I found mine on amazon for around 20 dollars. This is also where the bottom and top bases that where formed earlier in the casting process pays off. The articulator that I had bought have magnets on the top and bottom of the mounting points and came with metal plates to fix to the bases on the castings. Shaping the metal plates in with the molding clay while lining up the top and bottom casting to your bite, Also attempting to get the existing rows of teeth to line up in the middle of the articulator. There is an alignment plate that came with the articulator as well, to show the true midway point on the device.

Once I felt this was as centered as possible and the bite looks correct, (feel free to stand in front of the mirror and look dumb mimicking the articulator for 10 minutes) the same thing is done to the base area of the 3d printed gum line models (or the stone copy that was made if no 3d printer).

Step 7: Wax Up

There are several sheets of pink wax included in the kit. This is to be heated carefully and slowly with the hobby torch to be able to be molded into a “horseshoe” shape following the gum line that will extend to the midway point. The wax “horseshoe” should be around 10mm thick. Once your wax horseshoe is formed, 1 sheet is heated until malleable, and pressed onto the roof and floor of the gum line models that are mounted on the articulator. This is so the wax “horseshoe” pieces have something to be mounted to. This is a little bit of a process, but you will want to use a heated metal tool to melt and flow the wax into one another. That insures a good bond to the gum line model.

There will be four cards with acrylic teeth mounted to them in wax in the kit. Two are for the top and two are for the bottom. These are needed next, and are not to be mixed up, because they are in order and placed from side to side with the actual middle teeth in middle, and the actual sides on the sides. The cards look as if a set of dentures where placed teeth up and then squashed flat.

With any luck after a short while you end up with a all wax mock up that will be used to mount the false teeth into. The best way is to heat your tool, and trace out where each tooth is going to go. Then take another heated tool that is flat, and scoop out a tooth sized chunk of wax from the wax “horseshoe”. Place a pea sized piece of wax to the base of the acrylic tooth to be placed in the cavity that was just created in the wax “horseshoe”.

If you have not done it before it is quite a long process, and there is the urge of perfection that has to be forced to the back of the mind. Just because I have heard so many people on the youtube videos state that slightly off is more natural, easier, and ultimately just less of a headache. If you are used to DIY’ing a lot of things like myself, they will come out looking close to perfect no matter what.

I just took my time and had fun with it.

Once I had the top close to how I wanted it, (checking that the teeth meet to the mid point, all in alignment and fit properly) I did the same to the bottom but checking the bite with the top after each tooth is set in the bottom. I had pretty good success with setting them in alignment so not too much adjusting was needed before my final adjustments.

The final adjustments are just small things, like the way the gums overlap the base of the teeth, or the ridges in the gum lines, and the ever slight flossing gaps in between each tooth. I got the feel of it rather quick at this point as the final view is in sight.

Step 8: Casting the Wax-Up

Once again, this part is done once section at a time. Especially if you only have one dental flask. ALSO, This portion I used plaster instead of dental stone. I DON’T SUGGEST THIS. The plaster will get soggy during the boiling procedure, it can be done, YES I DID do the dumb dumb method but I did pay for it with time and having to be overly cautious, and I feel they would have turned out better had I used dental stone for this step. Mainly it would have saved time and headaches.

Prepare the dental stone as previously mentioned, and have an empty disassembled dental flask handy(half way). Fill the flask half ¾ of the way with the stone slurry, while tapping or vibrating the sides to remove air bubbles. Place the upper or lowers in the flask and fill the half the remainder of the way, again tapping to remove air. Place on and even surface, and scrape the dental stone smooth before it sets all the way.

Make sure to leave in place until set, to insure nothing inside the flask moves once in place. Once the half flask has set, petroleum jelly is placed as a thin layer on top of the set dental stone. Then the top of the dental flask is put into place and filled the rest of the way up with more dental stone, and topped with the lid. Be sure to tighten the bolts for a secure fit. If using the plaster method, its probably a good idea to let dry over night again. Another reason to use dental stone. Much faster.

The reason I let dry before doing the second half of the flask, is to place a separating layer in between the top and the bottom so that the flask comes apart easier once dry. Also, if you are like me and could not find available dental stone locally available, this is really the only method that will work with plaster.

Step 9: Boiling

When I say boiling, I really mean pressure cook. I have a cheap 25 dollar pressure cooker from harbor freight (yes, I am a huge penny pintcher). To set up the cooker for the dental flask, simply place a few mason jar lids (the ring type with a hole in the middle for jarring) on the bottom of the cooker along with and inch or 2 of water. Make sure the water isn’t touching the dental flask if using the plaster method. Put on the top of the cooker lid and lock into place. Place the burner temp on med to high. It does not really matter on the temp. Just as long as it has enough pressure to seal itself for roughly 15-20 minutes. The goal here is to melt the wax out of the second casting. Once the time is up, get a pair of gloves to remove the dental flask.

IT WILL BE HOT!!!HOT!!!HOT!!!

Carefully loosen the bolts on the dental flask, and give the sides a few good whacks with a hammer or similar blunt object. It should come apart very easy if you followed the part about the petroleum jelly separating layer in between the flask halves. Very carefully rinse the cast/mold out with more boiling water if any remaining wax is left. Make sure none of the acrylic teeth get lost in the rinsing process, These should stay in the cast for the next step.

Easy job if you have gone the dental stone route. If you are like me and used plaster, it is a bit more lengthy because care must be taken to get the remainder of the wax out without damaging the damp, fragile plaster. This part would have been a piece of cake had I used dental stone instead. A super soft toothbrush works pretty will if absolutely necessary. If everything is done properly, there really should not be any need for excessive rinsing and handling. Once this part is complete, set the cleaned flask halves aside for a moment and prepare the cold cure acrylic.

Step 10: Pressing and Curing the Acrylic

The cold cure and the hot cure are pretty much the same. The cold cure is slightly more porous than the heat cure, so it probably should not be used for a permanent set up. The be better kept clean, the longer it will last, but ultimately, the hot cure should be used for permanents if possible.

Mixing both is the same procedure. Just one is heated after pressing into the mold. I used a small clear dixie cup, but what ever you want to mix it in should be disposable. Also, using in a well ventilated area is a must. The liquid developer is crazy potent and will not hesitate to hand out headaches.

From the dental kit, take out the powdered acrylic powder. They provide a ton of it, so, half is not really required. The more important material to keep note on is the developer. They only provide a tiny bottle, so use about half of the liquid. Take the acrylic powder and spoon in slowly until you have enough acrylic powder as to soak up all of the developer. In other words. The acrylic powder that is mixed in should be completely saturated, so no dry powder is left, and no liquid is left. Once the mixture is correct, kneed the putty a little bit and let set for 30-45 seconds. It will heat up as a chemical reaction occurs.

Quickly and evenly squish your acrylic into the mold and place the top half on, pressing down firmly. Still working quickly as possible, put the hardware back on the dental flask and tighten the nuts down. I have a vice so I was able to go super tight. Try to make sure all is pressed until you see excess come from the sides. In the dental office, they use a press. There is no need for one if the proper dental flask and tightening hardware is used. This particular dental flask I purchased as mentioned above from amazon for around 12 or 13 dollars.

Work either uppers first or lowers first if only one dental flask is used. I used plaster, and one dental flask. So, It took me a course of 4 days for this process. (I just worked as far as the plaster would allow everyday after work) The extra time was fine by me, it gave me time to work out a game plan before each step, and it forced me to take my time.

If using the hot cure acrylic, after the dental flask is tightened down. Place the dental flask into the pressure cooking and cook for 20-30 minutes under pressure and then remove, and let somewhere to set until completely cool. (With stone / plaster, 12-18hrs as it holds in the heat).

Step 11: Free the Dentures From the Stone

Remove the hardware to the flask and take a flat head screwdriver, vary carefully and firmly pry the halves apart by walking the tip of the flat head around the outside, gradually prying the halves apart. This part can be challenging, just take time and care to not stab yourself or the new dentures with the screwdriver when prying apart.

Then slowly chip away at the stone to release the completed dentures. A wire wheel makes quick work of this, but better to go by hand as to not accidentally go too deep and damage the new dentures. Warm water helps with this process and also gets a lot of the residue that is left behind.

Step 12: Shape, Smooth, and Polish

All that is left to do, is to shape and smooth with a rotary tool, being careful not to nick or scuff the teeth. Once all the heavy material remove with the rotarty is completed, A soft polishing bit and some baking soda toothpaste gives the dentures a completed professional look. Once finished polishing, make sure to floss out the gaps and give another good rinse.

With any luck, you will be left with a set of great looking dentures that will have a close fit for immediate post surgery use.

I will write another instructable on the installation of the soft lining used in the final fitting procedure as soon as the healing is completed and I get the okay to do so.

Also, not a bad idea to have your dentist give them a once over, just as a way to double check your work. They can also tell if the shape of your new dentures will work out or not. (although, some may not like the idea or may want to be paid for such a consultation.) But I can tell you that mine worked out for my needs and purposes.

I would love to hear from anyone else that is in the DIY denture club. It is a process that needs to be completed every so often and helpful tips and procedures or advice are always welcomed.

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    7 Discussions

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    rrm

    6 weeks ago

    A couple of suggestions from an old retired dental tech. Locate a US Navy buddy or his son and have them make your dentures. Baring that, buy a copy of the Navy training manual. It is extremely good. Trim your lower margins as there is too much material between the jaw and cheek that will cause pain and irritate your mouth.

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    Steinzel

    3 months ago

    Awesome Instructable! I have exactly the same thing wrong with my teeth, the difference is that I had mine pulled about 15 years ago. After a lifetime of problems and pain I just loved not having to deal with them at all. LOL. I think I'm ready now to make my own set of teeth. Your Instructable came at the perfect time for me!

    Could you explain a little about how I would change this without having teeth in the way? I could start this as early as next month.

    Thank You!

    Gary

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    MelroyS

    4 months ago

    This is absolutely amazing work!

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    5h0ck3r

    4 months ago

    Thank you so much for the positive comments! I appreciate them greatly. That is a fantastic idea to use the red fibers for the vein work. I will defiantly be keeping that in mind for the next set. I used the cold set acrylic this time around.

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    dchall8

    4 months ago

    A-MAZING! I haven't voted in one of these in 10 years. You're getting my first vote.

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    iclazion

    4 months ago on Step 12

    Voted for this casting project because it is downright odd and weird.
    Tips from my experience making fang caps. Could have added a few red flakes from dental supply store or red wool / yarn fibers for veins, between the teeth gums. Color of the teeth, would have used a combo of B2 and B4 acrylic.

    However realism caught my attention and you got my vote. You did a-lot of molding and casting to slap the whole realism with teeth , gum and roots. It's awesome sick ;) 5 out of 5

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    DIY Hacks and How Tos

    4 months ago

    This is really impressive. I would not have thought that this was something that you could DIY.