Tooth loss is a problem that affects not only the elderly but also those who have suffered particularly serious infections or traumas of the oral cavity. In these cases, the only option is the dentures – medical devices capable of restoring normal function and anatomy of the masticatory apparatus.
Removable dentures replace natural teeth that, for whatever reason, have been compromised or lost. The lack of teeth can cause problems in the jawbones, and the remaining teeth can change position becoming harder to clean.
These mobile devices can be partial or total depending on the number of teeth they replace. In terms of mobility, there are fixed, mobile, and mobilizable dentures.
How Much Do Dentures Cost?
The average price for a basic denture is anywhere between $320 and $500 per plate, while the full set of lower and upper teeth costs somewhere between $620 and $1,100. These models are cheaper, but not so good in terms of quality and have a limited warranty. They usually have a standard size, instead of a customized one and tend to look artificial. If this procedure is medically deemed, the insurance you have may cover 15% to 50% of the costs.
The cost of a mid-range denture is anywhere between $520 and $1,600 per plate, while the price for the whole set is $1,100 to $3,200. The warranty for this type of denture is one to two years and they come in customized sizes.
The most expensive dentures are the premium ones, with a price anywhere between $2,200 and $4,200 per plate and $4,100 to more than $8,000 for the entire set. This type of denture is made of high-quality materials that imitate the natural look of the teeth and is guaranteed to last more than 10 years. Usually, the follow-up visits at the dental clinic are included in this price, to perfectly fix the denture.
The price for the removable partial dentures starts at $320 and goes up to $510 for the basic ones. The average price of mid-range quality partial dentures is anywhere between $720 and $1,900, while the ones made of gold or other precious metals can cost $2,200 to more than $4,000. Partial dentures are used when there are outstanding teeth on the arch, but a fixed dental bridge cannot be made. This type of prosthesis uses metal hooks attached to the remaining teeth or acrylate balls as an element of aggregation.
Usually, it is important to pull out the damaged remaining teeth before having a denture. The cost of a basic tooth extraction is anywhere between $80 and $480 per tooth, while the cost of the one that requires surgery starts at $160 and goes up to more than $680. Depending on how many teeth are extracted, the average cost of dentures would be anywhere between $1,700 and $20,000, or even more for the entire set. Most people paid $2,200 to $18,500 for an entire set of removable dentures, with the preparation work and teeth extraction included.
In case you need dental implants to support the removable plate, be prepared to pay $3,600 to $30,000 or even more for two to six implants. The price depends on the procedure, the type of implants (with the mini ones being cheaper), and the material, the denture is made of. The cost of an entire set (lower and upper teeth) of implants plus the dentures might be $7,200 to $90,000, or even more.
In the process of making and adapting the denture, you will usually go through the following steps:
- Teeth removal: your dentist will explain the necessary steps and what to expect. They can also give you advice on what comes next, so that you feel comfortable and fully informed if any tooth extraction is needed.
- Impression: your mouth print will be taken, in order to make a custom prosthesis tailored to you.
- Bite impression: pieces of wax are used to check if you feel comfortable when biting. At this stage, you may be asked to choose the shape and color of the new teeth.
- Wax templates: your new teeth are modeled in wax, thus helping you get a clearer idea of how the final denture will look and work.
- Fixing: the final denture is fitted, and you will receive instructions on how to take care of it.
Once the denture is fixed, you will have a slight feeling of discomfort at first. However, this is normal, and soon the mouth, tongue, and facial muscles will adapt to the new prosthesis. Everyday tasks such as eating and talking will require a period of adaptation.
In the first days of wearing the denture, until you get used to it, you can consume only soft foods, that are easy to chew. Gradually, as the patient gets used to the new prosthesis, they will switch to stronger foods until they return to their usual diet. Nonetheless, hot drinks should be avoided.
Important things to consider
All dentures aim to restore the aesthetics and masticatory function of patients. Various types of prostheses are recommended for patients with different needs but, whenever possible, prostheses supported on implants are recommended.
How long do I have to wait to receive the denture after the impression? The waiting time differs depending on the type of prosthesis: fixed, mobile, total, or partial. After the impression, the patient can wait three to six weeks to receive the prosthesis.
Your dentist can advise you on the choice of products such as adhesive creams and cleaning solutions for dentures, that will help you have a lot more confidence when you wear the new denture.
The denture needs daily cleaning after every meal. Cleaning them is done with a soft toothbrush and a special, non-abrasive paste. In the case of dentures, hard brushes or abrasive pastes are not used, because they can scratch the material, leading to a faster deterioration, but also to the loss of its nice appearance.
Overnight, the removable denture must be kept in a special solution.
What are the extra costs?
In time dentures may crack or break, and the fit will change. The cost of repairs is $60 to $200 and you would pay $260 to $470 for a professional relining in order to adjust the fit. In case you want to do it by yourself, a reline or repair kit, often available online or at the drug stores, costs around $15 to $60.
How can I save money?
You will be able to find some tips on how to find low-cost dental care on the official website page of The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. They recommend searching by location and checking with your employer or health insurance provider if you have benefits that cover dentures.