What is a Wax Try-in?
After impressions are taken of your mouth, a “mock-up” denture will be made for you to try on so you can get an idea as to what the end result will look like. Because the teeth are set in wax, changes to the denture can be easily made.
How to Prepare for the Wax Try-in Appointment
This can be an exciting step in the process if you are well-prepared. I believe the most important part of this is that you are familiar with your clinic’s refund policy. I can’t stress this enough. When I had my wax try-in at a popular practice, I ended up not being happy with the results after multiple try-ins. I was able to get a full refund for the money that I paid up front. In the event that you are not satisfied with the work produced, you want to be sure that you are able to receive a refund for any money paid up front. And, more importantly, you need to understand that once the dentures are made, there is no going back. Changes can only be made while the teeth are set in wax. Once it is processed in acrylic, you’re stuck with them. There have been rare occasions that I’ve received messages from those who were able to have dentures remade at no cost but that is not the norm. I’ve received tons of messages from people whom, for multiple reasons, ended up with dentures that they are not satisfied with and are now stuck with. Do not sign off on a wax try-in that you are not happy with.
You want to make sure to have as few distractions as possible so you can focus your attention on the teeth. I recommend wearing something comfortable and to wear your hair in a style which keeps it out of your face. Turn your phone on silent mode so you aren’t distracted by incoming calls and texts. Dry lips could easily distract from the overall appearance of your smile, so keep your lips moisturized with chapstick and make sure to drink plenty of water, beforehand. Bringing a friend who can give an honest opinion is helpful but not necessary. Remember, these are your teeth and you are the one who must be completely satisfied with them.
During the Appointment
Typically, the dentist or technician will bring the teeth in and have you try them on in the chair. They will visually assess the appearance of the teeth and have you count aloud to check for any speech difficulties. The wax mock-up is not supposed to fit snuggly but it also should not be flying out of your mouth. The purpose of the try-in is to get an idea as to how the teeth will look once they are processed.
Ask for time alone with the teeth.
More often than not, you are given a mirror and are told to inspect the teeth right there in the chair, typically with the dentist or assistant present. I recommend asking to have a moment to yourself with the mock-up. This way, you’re less likely to feel uncomfortable about really inspecting the dentures and you’ll get a better gauge as to how you feel about them.
Step away from the mirror!
When you are admiring a person’s smile, you aren’t doing so from three inches away from their face. To get a good idea of what your smile will look like, you first want to stand a good distance from the mirror and take in the overall appearance of your face. Does your smile complement your features or does it stand out like a sore thumb? A smile can look great but still be all wrong for you. It reminds me of those “doggy dentures” commercials. Sure, the dogs had great smiles, just not for a dog.
One thing that really helped me was going into the restroom and calling my sister. I talked to her on the phone while looking in the mirror, which helped me get an idea as to what they look like in a natural setting. If you’re just sitting in a chair under a bright light, staring into a small mirror, you’re most likely making unnatural facial expressions which don’t really give you an accurate idea as to what your smile will look like.
If you don’t have anyone to call, try speaking the lyrics to your favorite song in the mirror. Pay attention to how you look when you speak, smile, and laugh. Pay close attention to how your face looks in its natural, relaxed state. This helps you determine if the teeth are long enough. When smiling, the teeth may look great but, in a relaxed state, you want to be sure the teeth don’t disappear behind your lips.
Your smile may appear “off”, at first.
Initially, anything that looks different from what you are used to may feel wrong. Even with my current teeth, which I am absolutely in love with, it was jarring to see such a difference. You get used to seeing yourself a certain way so when any changes are made, it can sometimes feel off. You may ask yourself, “Do I like these? Does this look okay? What’s different about these?”. This is why it’s a good idea to have some time alone to process the change.
Now, come closer to the mirror.
Once you have a good idea as to what your smile looks like in contrast to your face, step closer to the mirror. Pay attention to the midline, which is where your two central incisors (your two front teeth) meet. Thanks to the internet, most of us know that Brad Pitt’s midline is way off. The last thing you want is a tooth positioned directly under your cupid’s bow, which is the dip in your upper lip. I have a slightly crooked nose, so, lining it up with my nose wouldn’t be a great idea. A good way to determine if the midline is in the correct position would be to run some dental floss from your forehead to your chin. If the tooth is too far to the left or right of the floss, it’s most likely not in an ideal position.
You also want to make sure that your dentures are not sloping. With your face relaxed, lips slightly parted, and teeth clenched, run some dental floss from one corner of your mouth to the other. Are your teeth slanting at all? If so, that needs to be fixed.
Smile your biggest smile. Really, don’t hold back. This is where you can check to see if the smile is too gummy.
Relax your face with your lips slightly parting. Do your teeth disappear? With men, the upper teeth don’t show as much in a relaxed state, if they show at all. With women, you should be able to see some of the teeth in a relaxed state; slightly more for a youthful appearance and slightly less for a mature look. In other words, you don’t want the entire tooth to show when your face is relaxed but you also don’t want your teeth to completely disappear, either.
Check for proper lip support. Your lip should not be stretched, nor should it disappear. Don’t forget to check your profile.
Check your canines (your pointy, upper teeth). As a rule of thumb, the canines should align with the outer edge of your nose, though this may vary depending on the width of your nose.
Try not to be too critical.
You will have to live with these teeth for a while so it is important that you are happy with them and proud to show them off. However, I must warn about being overly critical about minor imperfections. Most of us want what we consider to be a perfect smile but, if you really think about it, a perfect smile isn’t always so perfect, is it? Teeth that are way too white or laid out perfectly like piano keys tend to look very unnatural. Slight imperfections give your smile character that is unique to you. A very slight overbite, teeth of varying lengths, shapes and sizes, a slight turn to a canine or incisor, all of these characteristics give your smile a more natural appearance. You do want to be sure to spot any major issues, like slanting dentures or teeth that disappear when your face is relaxed, but if you’re not careful, you could pick apart every little flaw which makes your teeth beautiful and end up with a set of dentures that look like they were mass produced on an assembly line.
Remember, the dentist wants you to be happy with your smile. The last thing they want is for you to tell your friends, family, and online forums what a terrible job they did on your teeth. Now is the time to be vocal about the things that you may want changed. Believe me, it’s very unlikely that you will hurt their feelings. I know how uncomfortable it can be to sound like you’re criticizing the work that was done but this is your money that you will be spending and these are your teeth that you must live with. One way to alleviate the stress in trying to convey how you feel about the teeth is to make notes of your observations and relay this to the dentist.
To make things easier for you, I’ve made a downloadable checklist with a section to jot down what you don’t like about the teeth and what changes you would like to see. Bring this list and a pen, of course, to your appointment. As you go down the checklist, make notes of things that you feel need to be addressed. This should make things much easier for you and the person you are working with.
Share your tips!
If you have any tips or advice that helped you during your wax try-in, please share them in the comments section, below!