Dentures are removable dental appliances that replace missing teeth. Unlike dental implants and dental bridges, which are more or less permanently affixed to the bone, dentures are prosthetic teeth attached to a supporting structure. Dentures can be removed at night, for cleaning, or whenever desired. The most affordable dentures are those made with traditional plastic prosthetic teeth, but even more expensive porcelain cosmetic dentures usually cost less than implants.
Often more affordable than dental implants, dentures are removable dental appliances meant to look and function like natural teeth. Many patients who have experienced tooth loss and are concerned about the loss of both functionality and aesthetics turn to dentures to meet their needs. The cost of dentures varies considerably, according to geographical location, the dentist, and type of dentures.
Dentures Pricing Breakdown
Factors that influence the cost of dentures may include the area in which you live, your dentist, the type of dentures you require, and the quality of dentures you select. Full dentures are designed to replace an entire set of teeth, either the upper jaw, the lower jaw, or the entire mouth. Partial dentures, on the other hand, are for those who have lost only a few teeth and are often an affordable alternative to dental bridges.
The quality of the dentures can determine their price to a great degree. Quality can affect the comfort and appearance as well as the cost. The old adage "You get what you pay for" often aptly applies.
- High-end dentures usually involve a great measure of dental artistry and utilize materials which simulate the natural look and color of teeth and gums to the highest degree possible. The teeth, normally made from composite acrylic resins, are designed to last a long time and often include a warranty against wear and tear, such as chipping and cracking. These life-like dentures can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 for a full set (upper and lower jaw).
- Mid-range dentures employ many of the same features as their high-end counterparts, with perhaps a lower degree of artistry and a more limited warranty. Patients should expect to pay approximately $1,000 for a full set (upper and lower jaw) of mid-range dentures.
- Low-end dentures may cost as little as $300, but the difference between low-end dentures and mid-range dentures may be great in terms of comfort, longevity, and appearance. For those seeking a temporary solution to missing teeth, however, low-end dentures may be a cost effective choice.
If you are considering dentures as a solution to missing teeth, the first step is to consult your dentist to determine the type of dentures you need and how much they will cost. Next, you may wish to ask your dentist what financing options he or she offers. In addition to offering financing plans specific to his or her office, your dentist may be affiliated with CareCredit®. CareCredit® operates much like a credit card. Once your application is approved, you may receive a credit line up to $25,000 to help pay for the cost of your dental treatment. A CareCredit® card offers you the freedom to select the type of dentures that suit your individual needs, and you don't have to feel restricted by what your insurance plan does and does not cover. Visit the CareCredit® website or your dentist's office to learn more about CareCredit® or to fill out an application.
The benefits of dentures include increased function and an improved appearance. Additionally, because dentures are removable, many patients find that they are easier to clean than natural teeth and other dental appliances.
- Cosmetic Benefits: The cosmetic benefits of dentures are obvious. They fill in gaps left by missing teeth so patients feel more confident about their appearance. Dentures can replace missing teeth or teeth that were in poor condition, prevent further shifting of remaining teeth, support facial structure and integrity, and increase patients' self confidence.
- Functional Benefits: Dentures offer a range of functional benefits to patients. Dentures allow patients to eat the foods they want, improve speech (after patients get used to wearing dentures), and typically lasts between five and 10 years (with proper care).
- Price: Dentures tend to be the least costly solution for replacing missing teeth. Alternative treatment options such as dental bridges or implants are generally more expensive and require more extensive treatment. However, dental bridges and implants do offer a better fit, increased comfort, better chewing ability, and a more natural appearance. For these reasons, dentures-wearers may want to ask their dentists about these alternative treatment options. Your dentist can let you know if you are a good candidate for dentures, dental bridges, or implants, and let you know the cost of these options.
Although dentures have helped millions of people around the world in regaining the ability to eat the foods they want, there are several disadvantages associated with the dental appliance. Some of the drawbacks of dentures disappear once the patients get used to wearing the device. Other problems with dentures may become an issue for the patient and lead them to seek alternative treatments for missing teeth.
Comfort and Fit: The most common disadvantage of dentures for many patients is the fit and comfort of the dental appliance. The majority of patients feel that the dentures feel strange in their mouths when they first begin to wear them. As patients get used to their dentures, this discomfort typically fades.
Irritation: In addition to the initial awkwardness experienced by dentures-wearers, some patients may experience periodic irritation and oral sores caused by chewing, clenching, grinding, or a food particle stuck between the dental appliance and your gums.
Difficulty Chewing Certain Foods: Finally, many dentures-wearers are able to eat most of the foods that they want. However, certain crunchy or sticky foods may still present a problem when chewing. Foods that are difficult to chew could cause pain or the dentures to move out of place.
Care: Proper care of dentures is vital to preventing gum irritation and oral sores, maintaining the health of your gums, and keeping the dentures in good shape. Dentures-wearers should take the dental appliance out of their mouths for at least a few hours a day, during which time the dentures should be soaked in water and a cleaning solution.
Speech: When patients first start wearing dentures, many have difficult speaking or saying certain words. This can result in a smacking, clicking, or whistling noise. The difficulty speaking usually goes away once patients get used to wearing the dental appliance.
Patients that want a more stable and comfortable denture alternative may be interested in talking to their dentists about dental implants and dental bridges. Although both of these treatments tend to be more expensive than dentures, they generally offer a more precise fit and better chewing ability than dentures. Patients can also have a tooth-colored ceramic or porcelain bridge or implant restoration placed for a more natural looking appearance.
- Dental Implants: Implants are similar to dentures, in that they are prosthetic restorations used to replace natural teeth. However, dental implants are actually attached to the jaw. Six months before the implant restoration (false tooth) can be placed in the patient's mouth, a metal anchor is permanently implanted into the jawbone. After the jawbone has grown around the anchor (a period known as osseointegration), the implant restoration can be attached to it.
- Dental Bridges: A dental bridge refers to a single false tooth or span of up to three prosthetic teeth that are attached to adjacent natural teeth with metal and plastic connectors or dental crowns. Bridges help to preserve some of the mouth's structural integrity by leaving as many natural teeth in place as possible. However, patients that are missing the majority of their teeth are typically not good candidates for dental bridges. Good candidates for dental bridges must have healthy gums and some healthy natural teeth that can act as anchors.
Types of Dentures
Dentists can fit you with full or partial dentures, depending on whether you are missing all of your teeth or just a few of your teeth. Learn more about the different types of dentures that are currently on the market.
- Full Dentures: Full dentures are for those patients who have lost all of their natural teeth in the upper or lower jaw, or both. Full dentures restore confidence in one's appearance, and help the wearer to speak and eat normally.
- Partial Dentures: For those who have lost some teeth, but don't want to get dental implants or bridges, partial dentures are an affordable option. Removable partial dentures are held in place by natural teeth, gums, and a connective structure made of plastic and metal.
- Conventional Dentures: Conventional dentures are those that are placed once the bones and gums have healed after the removal of natural teeth. While there is a waiting period that can be frustrating, the dentures normally fit properly the first time. Conventional dentures are also the most affordable dentures option.
- Immediate Dentures: Immediate dentures, as the name implies, are placed as soon as the natural teeth are removed. With immediate dentures, the patient need not face the world without teeth, can eat normally much sooner than with conventional dentures, and does not have the speech problems associated with the normal denture process. However, since healing of the gums and jaw will change the fit of immediate dentures, the patient will typically need a new set in about six months.
- Natural Looking Cosmetic Dentures: Instead of traditional plastic prosthetic teeth, natural looking cosmetic dentures are made with modern ceramic porcelain teeth. The dentures are usually individually crafted, and look more like real teeth than the plastic variety. Cosmetic dentures also have a more natural looking support structure, and though they may cost a bit more than conventional dentures, they are truly difficult to distinguish from real teeth.
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