How much are dentures?
They say the best things in life are free. While it is true that you need zero dollars to talk to people you love, say “hi” to your crush, smile, laugh, or sing your favorite song in public (or at least to your friends ), doing these things confidently may require a good set of teeth. Or if that’s no longer possible, at least a good set of dentures (or dental implants if you can afford them), and that requires money. How much are dentures, exactly?
Denture costs vary from a lot of factors. If you are looking to get your smile fixed, then you have come to the right place. Here’s a comprehensive guide on different types of dentures and denture costs.
A quick note on dentures
Dentures are basically removable “prosthetics” that replace missing teeth. Modern materials and techniques are making dentures more attractive, functional, and comfortable than ever. But it is not an entirely new idea.
Artificial teeth have been around for thousands of years; dating back history all the way to the 7th century by the Etruscans in ancient Italy. Dentistry has come a long way since then, and dentures today don’t only look more natural than ever, there are now more than enough options for anyone looking to fix their teeth and their smile.
Today, there is a variety of types, designs, and styles of dentures used for a wide variety of purposes and patients’ preferences and needs. Each variation, of course, can affect how much dentures cost.
Different types of dentures
One of the biggest determining factors of denture cost is the type. There are basically six types of modern dentures out there today.
As its name suggests, full dentures (also referred to as “plates”) are dentures that rest on top of the gums to replace a full set of teeth, in either (or both) upper or lower jaw. They are removable but secured into their place through suction or to your lip, tongue, or cheek muscles. Some may need to reinforce their full dentures with adhesive or paste to keep them secured in their place.
Partial dentures are used for anyone who has lost a few teeth; they can fill the gaps of missing teeth to help keep surrounding teeth from shifting and avoid teeth spacing problems. There are two types of partial dentures: fixed and removable.
Fixed partial dentures
There is really no such thing as a “fixed” denture per se; rather, the word “fixed” in fixed denture refers to a multi-tooth bridge anchored to get stable support from natural teeth or dental implants. Thus, this type of denture replaces several teeth and is not removable (unless removed by the dentist).
Removable partial dentures
Removable partial dentures are pretty common – it replaces missing teeth by snapping into place, around and between any natural teeth the patient is able to retain. The word “partial” is used since it only restores the arch of the teeth.
Partial dentures are usually made with a metal or chrome base, while the smaller versions for a single or few missing teeth can be made using more flexible materials such as acrylic.
Implant retained dentures (snap-in dentures)
Specially made to clip or snap onto a supporting dental implant, this type of denture is a removable prosthetic that remains stable even when you are eating or talking. Some patients opt to have their existing dentures retrofitted to snap onto a dental implant or at a later point in time. Making the transition is actually pretty easy; you might need a few mini implants or a couple of two standard dental implants.
Implant-Supported Dentures / Hybrid Dentures /All-On-4
This type of denture is permanently anchored onto as few as four implants. It is fixed and definitely more secured, but can be quite expensive. That being said, it is arguably the most cost-effective type of denture since you will not need a one-to-one ratio of implants for each tooth that will be replaced.
Also called “same-day dentures” or “Teeth in a day”, this type of denture provides a quick and immediate prosthetics solution for missing teeth. This is because the dentures are usually placed after tooth extraction.
Note that this denture is often adjusted, relined, or even replaced once the mouth has healed from the extraction. Basically, you will have to replace them with a permanent version after a few months or so.
Who gets to wear dentures?
While cosmetic dentistry has gone a long way since the time dentures were first introduced, you should know that the goal of any dentist or dental professional is to save your teeth. Thus, they will help you find solutions to preserve your natural teeth for as long as possible. Although modern dentures are looking more and more realistic now, the best type of denture and the best material out there cannot be compared to a natural and healthy set of teeth.
With that said, dentures have their own place and time. A good candidate for dentures will is someone who fits in the following scenarios:
- Severe tooth decay due to years of neglect, illness, drug use, cancer therapy, etc.
- Aggressive gum disease that leads to tooth loss
- Abuse or severe orofacial trauma that require full mouth reconstructions
- Someone who already has dentures
How much do dentures cost?
The average price of dentures can vary greatly, depending on the process used to make them, materials, etc. On average, you can expect a traditional full set of dentures to cost around $1,800, while the price range could cost $1,000 to $15,000 per arch.
As said earlier, there are lots of factors that affect the price, hence the wide price range. Moreover, the cost depends on the type, number of artificial teeth, materials used, etc. Below are the basic guidelines for denture prices.
A basic full set of dentures can cost somewhere around $600 – $1,500. This denture is usually cold-cured and made with lower quality materials, which results in an artificial look.
Mid-range quality dentures can be more expensive, ranging from $1,500 – $3,000. A single denture plate could go from $500 to $1,500. This type is heat-cured, looks more natural, and can last longer compared to the low-cost, cold-cured dentures.
A more premium full set of dentures could cost $3500 – $15,000 and averages around $6,500 for a complete set. This type is also heat-cured and completely customized to mimic the natural color of the existing teeth, giving the most authentic look.
Here is a quick guide on prices of different types of dentures with and without insurance coverage.
- Low cost dentures costs around $150 to $300 for people with insurance, and $300 to $500 for those without insurance coverage.
- A full set of low-cost dentures can cost $300 to $500 with insurance, while the price can go up to $600 to $1,000 if you don’t have insurance.
- Mid-quality partial dentures average around $300 to $800 with insurance, and $500 to $1,500 without insurance.
- Full set of mid-quality dentures cost $500 to $1,500 with insurance, and without $1,000 to $3,000.
- For the highest quality partial dentures, the price can go somewhere $1,000 to $2,000 with insurance, and $2,000 to $4,000 without insurance.
- Full set of high quality dentures can be as expensive as $2,000 to $4,000 with insurance, and a whopping $4,000 to $8,000 without insurance.
The placement of the dentures and the materials used can also dictate the price:
- $1,600 – $2200 – conventional dentures for upper and lower
- $750 – $1,050 – acrylic partial dentures
- $1,250 – $1,600 – flexible acrylic partial dentures
- $1,500 – $1,800 – cast metal partial dentures
Additional denture cost factors
As mentioned earlier, there are lots of factors that affect the cost of dentures. Material, type, and level of customization are the three main factors that go into determining the price of dentures. Obviously, cheaper materials like acrylic make affordable dentures compared to their porcelain counterparts. Moreover, complete or full dentures are more expensive than partial dentures. Pre-made removable dentures are also cheaper to properly fit set for upper-and-lower dentures.
Here are some factors dental professionals consider when putting price tags on their dentures.
Type of prosthesis
One of the most common factors that affect the price of dentures is the type of prosthesis used. This usually depends on the materials or labs that create the artificial teeth, where you live, or if it requires preparatory processes such as bone grafting or dental implants, along with the prosthesis. This is also where the “tiers” or denture design and quality get into the picture.
Dentures are usually deemed medically necessary. Thus, if you have dental insurance, there is a good chance your insurer will at least cover part of your dentures. Dental saving plans can help cover as much as 60% off dentures cost.
Before making decisions, however, make sure you examine your coverage thoroughly. Missing tooth clauses, waiting periods, deductibles, and other factors will be considered. A good dental office will break down and itemize the cost for you, so make sure to ask for it upfront.
As with most things in life, the cost of living in a certain place directly impacts the prices of everything including dental procedures. Everything that concerns your oral health, from the dentist’s professional fee, the dentures themselves, etc., can affect the overall cost of the dentures. Moreover, the dental clinic’s overhead expenses, staff salaries, lab equipment, monthly bills, etc., are considered in the pricing of the dental services as well.
Tooth extraction (if necessary)
Replacing already missing tooth/teeth is one thing, but extracting an existing tooth to accommodate the dentures is another. Tooth extraction is an entirely separate procedure, which is also an added financial cost. Moreover, there are additional fees associated with tooth extraction, such as sedation (anesthesia), or bone grafting (bone augmentation).
For dental implant preparation
If you are planning to get a dental implant-supported denture in the future, then expect added cost. The good thing is, that most modern implant dentures out there can be anchored to as few as 2 to 4 implants, depending on whether you choose a fixed or removable prosthesis.
Does dental insurance cover dentures?
Usually, yes, but this of course depends on the type of dental plan you have. Some dental plans specifically indicate coverage for dentures, while others don’t. However, it is also worth noting that most dental insurance plans have an annual spending cap of $1,000 to $1,500. This is a substantial amount that can help, but certainly not enough if you opt for premium and high-quality dentures.
The best way to go about this is to check your insurance provider if they offer coverage for dentures and for how much.
Another good way to save big on your dentures is getting a dental discount plan. Many dental clinics offer this plan, you can consult your local dentist on which plan they can recommend best for you.
Cost of dentures without insurance
Budget designs can go as low as $300 if you don’t have insurance. Mid-range quality tends to cost somewhere around $1,300 to $3,000.
For cosmetic and premium quality designs, expect to pay as much as $2,000-4,000 per denture. For a full upper or lower set, expect to pay double of that, an entire set can go as much as $6,000 to $8,000.
Cost of dentures with insurance
Having dental insurance can significantly help you lower your out-of-pocket payment. Obviously, each plan and benefits package is different. Thus, make sure you verify your insurance with your dentist to maximize the coverage you are entitled to. A typical plan covers about 50% of certain types of major dental procedures, this includes dentures. You can expect to pay around $250 to $2,000 per denture or $500 to $4,000 for a complete set. However, keep in mind that most policies for dental insurance have an annual cap of $1,500 after the deductible.
Say you picked a premium denture worth $5,000, and you have 50% coverage, you will have to pay for the difference of that of-of-pocket.
Note that most in-network dentists are usually expensive, so shop around and get a few different quotes from different dental clinics before you decide to move forward with anyone.
Dentures offer the cheapest and fastest way to fix your smile, but the gold standard in orthodontics today is the modern dental implant. Although implants are significantly more expensive upfront than dentures, the former provides a life-long solution that is closest to the natural teeth in terms of aesthetics and function. When you compare the two, you could end up saving more with implants in the long run, than in dentures where you have to re-fit and replace them after a few years.
What can you expect from dentures?
As said earlier, conventional dentures offer the fastest and most affordable solution to replace missing tooth/teeth. However, dentures, especially full and removable dentures take time to get used to. Everything from chewing food, to speaking or laughing while wearing dentures requires extra effort before you can feel confident and comfortable with them.
How much are dentures with Medicaid or Medicare?
Medicaid and Medicare assistance differ from one state to another. While federally-administered Medicaid applies to most states, each state has its own version and specifications in its coverage and guidelines.
The most affordable way to get dentures
Check out dental schools
The cheapest way to get dentures is to go to dental schools in your area. Dental or dental-related schools provide quality routine dental services, treatments, or even dentures for almost less than half the price compared to regular dental clinics. The trade-off of course is that they are performed by dental students.
Many dental schools use this as a way to train and expose their students to the real-life application of their knowledge. Of course, these students are closely monitored by their instructors who are also dental professionals.
Get a discount dental plan
Also known as a dental savings plan, a discount dental plan can help you save as much as 60% of the total dentures cost. Moreover, dental plans are affordable and way more flexible in terms of payment terms as compared to traditional dental insurance.
This plan will give you access to a network of dentists who can regularly provide good deals and discounts to plan members. Discount dental plans for full upper dentures usually only range about $625.
Dental plans are available nationwide, with over 100,000 partner dentists in the program. You can ask your dentist about this.
Dentures and most dental procedures and treatments are expensive. Dentists know this, so to convince and entice more people to invest in their smiles and fix their teeth, many offer financing options, especially for dentures. In-house payment plans will let you pay off your bills in increments for a specified period of time.
Many dental offices allow credit card payments and financing through medical credit cards such as CareCredit.
The U.S. government has many programs that offer assistance and grants for a variety of dental services, including dentures for low-income households, seniors, disabled, and other disadvantaged individuals. A couple of good examples of government-funded programs and dental grants are the Dental Lifeline Network and the Give Back a Smile program.
The latter is dedicated to providing dental care assistance to victims of domestic abuse, while the former is dedicated to low-income individuals, seniors (age 65 years old and up), and those with permanent disabilities and underlying medical conditions.
Caring for your dentures
Regardless of what type of dentures you choose, the material, or the process, it is extremely important to take good care of your artificial teeth.
Make sure you clean your dentures regularly, and by regularly, that means daily. If possible, take off and rinse your dentures thoroughly after meals. Remove food debris and loose particles from your dentures by running water over them.
Also, remove your dentures at night before going to bed and soak them in water or in a mild denture cleaning solution overnight. Removing your dentures will help your gum tissues breathe and get exposed to natural air. Again, rinse your dentures thoroughly when putting them back in, especially if you are using denture-cleaning solution.
Brush your mouth and rinse with mouthwash whenever you remove your dentures. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush so as not to irritate your exposed gums. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush for your dentures too. Also, remove any remaining adhesive on your gums when you take off your dentures.
Dentures are delicate and can be broken when you drop them. Handle your dentures with care. Never try to bend or damage the plastic or clasps when cleaning.
Lastly, make sure you visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist will ensure your dentures feel comfortable to wear, properly fits on your gums, and keep them from slipping or falling.
You can also have your dentures professionally cleaned by your dentist not just to keep them clean, but also to ensure their integrity and durability. See your dentist if you feel your dentures is loose.
Are dentures worth their cost?
Short answer: Absolutely yes!
Long answer: A good set of dentures can change anyone’s life.
It will help you speak with confidence, regain the beautiful smile you have been missing, laugh with your friends, sing your hearts out, etc. Having that confidence to carry yourself and face the world can open a whole lot of doors in your life. More importantly, having a good set of dentures will let you enjoy all your favorite foods and drinks again.
While it is understandable that you take your finances very seriously, think of dentures as your investment in yourself. They may be expensive upfront, but the benefits you can reap can fold the initial expenses ten times. You become happier and healthier.
Subsequently, dentures are available for every budget. While it is always better to opt for the best one you can afford, there is nothing wrong with choosing the one that fits your budget. Besides, you can always save up and treat yourself to the premium ones in the future.