For people who are already missing some or all of their teeth, or for people who need to have their teeth extracted, dentures can quite literally improve the quality of their lives in so many ways. These prosthetic devices have come a long way since the days of George Washington’s wooden teeth. Fortunately, today’s dental patients have a variety of dentures from which to choose. The type you select, along with several other factors, can play a major role in what dentures cost. This article explores the types of dentures available and other variables that impact their cost.
Types of Dentures
Every dental patient is different, so it only makes sense that there are several different types of dentures available. No matter what your situation may be – whether you’re just missing a few teeth, missing all your teeth, or will need to have your teeth extracted in the near future, with the help of your dentist you’ll be able to choose the right dentures that enable you to live your life to the fullest. What follows are the most common types of dentures available:
- Full dentures – Also referred to as conventional dentures, full sets of prosthetics include both a top and bottom plate that sit directly on the patient’s gums. They are intended for people who have already lost all of their teeth.
- Partial dentures – People who are missing just a few teeth still need to find a way to replace them. Many of these patients choose partial dentures. These devices consist of artificial teeth mounted onto a frame which attaches to the patient’s existing natural teeth. Partial dentures come in two varieties: removable and fixed (non-removable).
- Snap-on dentures – These prosthetic devices are intended for people who have lost all of their teeth, and combine dentures with dental implant technology. The dentist or dental surgeon first inserts dental implants at strategic locations throughout the patient’s mouth. Once those implants are secure, the dentures literally snap onto the implants which provide secure anchors for the device.
- Immediate dentures – Intended as a stop-gap measure for people who need to have all of their teeth extracted, immediate dentures are fitted onto the patient’s gum tissue immediately after the teeth are removed and before the gums are healed. Although immediate dentures are usually intended to be temporary devices to be worn until permanent dentures are available, some patients are happy to live with these prosthetics for quite some time. The obvious advantage is that they allow the patient to have a fully functioning set of teeth right away after the extraction procedure, but they do have the disadvantage of needing to be relined frequently as the gum tissue changes shape as it heals.
Factors that Affect the Cost of Dentures
In trying to estimate how much your dentures will cost, there are a variety of factors that will play a role. Here are some of the variables that you’ll need to take into consideration when trying to determine the cost of your prosthetic device:
- Extraction costs – If you need to have some or all of your teeth extracted, you’ll need to factor in the cost of the extraction procedure.
- Full or partial dentures – As you’ve no doubt already guessed, there is a difference in cost between partial dentures and full dentures, with full sets being the more expensive of the two.
- The type of dentures – Conventional dentures (those that consist of an upper and bottom plate that fit over already-healed gum tissue) typically cost less than snap-on dentures, for example. If you choose a prosthetic device that will be attached to dental implants, you’ll need to factor in the price of the implants when estimating the cost of your dentures.
- What the dentures are made of – Dentures come in a variety of materials, including porcelain, acrylic resin, and partial metal, for example. Each material is priced differently, with porcelain typically being the most expensive.
- Follow-up dental visits – Remember that you’ll still need to visit your dentist for regular follow-up visits after you’re fitted with your prosthetic device. Although immediate dentures require more after-procedure visits, you’ll still need to return to the dentist periodically no matter what type of device you choose.
- The location of your dentist – The cost of dentures varies depending on the area of the country in which you live. Generally speaking, dentists in large urban areas tend to be more expensive than those in rural areas.
The Cost of Dentures
Taking into consideration the fact that the cost of your dentures will depend on all of the factors listed above, you can expect to pay between $600 and $1,000 for low-cost conventional dentures. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for, so if you choose lower-quality dentures, chances are they won’t last as long, be as comfortable, or look as attractive as higher-quality prosthetics.
Mid-priced dentures typically cost between $1,000 and $3,000 for a complete set of conventional dentures. And the highest quality prosthetic devices will probably range from $4,000 to $8,000 for a complete set of conventional dentures.
When it comes to the cost of dentures, it literally pays to have dental insurance. Most policies will cover 50% of the cost. If you don’t have insurance, your dentist or dental surgeon may offer some sort of payment plan to help you space out your payments. And patients with Medicaid or Medicare may also be able to get a portion of the cost covered.
Of course, the best way to answer the question “what do dentures cost?” is to schedule a consultation appointment with your dentist. He or she can provide you with a complete, customized estimate that will include not only the prosthetic device, but also any associated costs for additional services and follow-up visits. There’s no doubt that dentures aren’t cheap. But most dental patients would agree that you really can’t put a price on how much today’s modern dental prosthetics can improve your quality of life. From being able to enjoy foods you love to feeling confident in speaking and looking your best, the vast majority of denture wearers no doubt believe that they’re worth every penny!