What are dentures?
Dentures are used to replace missing teeth, which can be caused by a number of issues that lead to tooth loss, such as periodontal disease (gum disease), tooth decay and traumatic injury. If missing teeth are not replaced, the remaining ones can shift, causing issues with biting and chewing. This can lead to issues with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and a saggy facial appearance that may make you look older than you really are.
Cost of dentures
The average cost of dentures can range from $1,000 to $15,000 or more according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Below is a breakdown of the average costs for different types of dentures:
- Conventional Full Dentures: These dentures replace an entire arch of missing teeth and are typically made from acrylic materials, custom-fitted to your mouth. The cost ranges from $1,000 to $3,000 per arch. If additional procedures like tooth extractions or bone grafting are needed, the cost may increase.
- Partial Dentures: Usually, recommended when only a few teeth are missing. They are designed to blend in with your existing teeth and restore your smile. Costs range from $500 to $2,500.
- Implant-Supported Dentures: These dentures offer better stability by attaching them to dental implants surgically placed in the jawbone. They improve chewing efficiency and prevent bone loss. Implant-supported dentures are generally more expensive due to the surgical component. Costs can range from $2,000 to $20,000 or more, depending on the number of implants needed and the complexity of the case.
- All-on-4 or All-on-6 Dentures: These fixed denture options are supported by four or six dental implants per arch, respectively. They provide more stability and natural feel than removable dentures. The cost varies from $15,000 to $40,000 per arch.
Dentures offer a functional and aesthetically pleasing solution for those with missing teeth. To get an accurate cost estimate, schedule a consultation with a dentist near you.
Factors that may affect cost
The cost of dentures isn’t set in stone and can vary based on a range of factors. Here’s a breakdown of what can influence the price:
- Type of Denture: The kind of denture you need plays a big role in the cost. Conventional full dentures, partial dentures, implant-supported dentures, or All-on-4/All-on-6 dentures all come with different price tags. The ones that involve surgery and dental implants tend to be pricier.
- Materials Used: The materials used in making dentures matter. While acrylic is common for the base, opting for higher-quality materials like flexible resins or thermoplastics can drive up costs. The type of teeth used, like porcelain or composite resin, also affects the price.
- Customization Options: Dentures can be tailored to match your natural teeth in terms of shape, color, and size. The more customization you want, especially premium options like lifelike teeth or precise gum color matching, can come with added expenses.
- Preliminary Treatments: In some cases, preliminary treatments may be necessary before getting dentures. This can include tooth extractions, gum treatments, or bone grafting to ensure a stable foundation for the dentures.
- Dentist’s Expertise: The experience and reputation of the dentist or prosthodontist can impact the price. Specialists with extensive training in prosthodontics may charge higher fees. When choosing a prosthodontist, look for ones certified by the Academy of Prosthodontics. Although board-certification and memberships in any organization does not guarantee a successful outcome, they must meet stringent criteria in order to achieve membership and board-certification. You can be confident that you are working with a highly trained, and experienced prosthodontist who will help ensure your denture treatment goes smoothly.
- Dental Insurance Coverage: Your dental insurance coverage matters. Some plans may partially cover essential dental procedures like dentures. The specifics of what’s covered and how much they reimburse can affect your out-of-pocket expenses. Learn more about the basics of dental insurance from the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP).
- Additional treatments: In some cases, dentures may be part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes other procedures. The inclusion of these additional treatments will increase the overall cost.
If you are considering dentures, schedule a consultation with an experienced dentist near you. This will allow you to discuss your dental goals and obtain a better understanding of the specific costs involved.
Are you a candidate?
Dentures are a suitable option for individuals who have lost some or all of their natural teeth. Here are some indications that you may be a good candidate for dentures:
- Extensive Tooth Loss: If you have lost a significant number of teeth or have no remaining natural teeth, dentures can effectively restore your ability to eat, speak, and smile.
- Functional Impairment: Tooth loss can affect your ability to chew food properly, leading to poor nutrition and digestive issues. Dentures can help improve your ability to bite and chew, allowing for a more varied and nutritious diet.
- Aesthetic Concerns: Missing teeth can impact your self-confidence and alter the appearance of your smile. Dentures can provide a natural-looking set of teeth, enhancing your facial aesthetics and boosting your self-esteem.
- Oral Health Issues: Dental issues, such as extensive tooth decay, gum disease, or oral infections, may require the extraction of multiple teeth. Dentures can be an effective solution to replace these teeth and restore oral health.
- General Health: Overall health plays a role in determining candidacy for dentures. Individuals with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems may prefer dentures as a less invasive treatment option compared to surgical procedures like dental implants.
It’s important to note that each person’s dental needs and circumstances are unique. To see if you are a candidate for dentures, set up a consultation with a qualified dentist or prosthodontist.
Denture treatment process
The process of getting dentures typically involves several steps and requires coordination between you and your dentist. Here is an overview of how a denture treatments are generally performed:
- Initial Consultation: The process begins with an initial consultation with your dentist or prosthodontist. During this appointment, you will discuss your dental history, concerns, and goals. The dentist will perform a comprehensive examination of your mouth, including evaluating the condition of your remaining teeth, gums, and jawbone. X-rays or impressions may be taken to aid in treatment planning.
- Treatment Planning: Based on the examination results, your dentist will create a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. This plan will outline the type of dentures and any necessary preliminary treatments, such as tooth extractions or gum treatments.
- Dental Impressions: If tooth extractions are required, those will typically be performed first. Once your mouth is ready for denture placement, dental impressions will be taken. These impressions capture the shape and contours of your mouth and serve as a basis for creating your custom dentures. The dentist will also record the shade and size of your natural teeth to ensure the dentures look natural.
- Denture Fabrication: Using the dental impressions, your dentures will be fabricated in a dental laboratory. Skilled technicians will create a custom mold based on the specifications provided by your dentist. The denture base, which fits over your gums, is made from acrylic or other suitable materials. Artificial teeth, carefully selected to match your natural teeth, are placed in the denture base.
- Try-in and Adjustments: Once your dentures are ready, you will have a try-in appointment. During this visit, your dentist will place the dentures in your mouth to assess the fit, bite, and aesthetics. Any necessary adjustments will be made to ensure a comfortable and functional fit. It is crucial to communicate any concerns or discomfort to your dentist during this stage for optimal results.
- Final Placement: After the try-in appointment, the dentures will be sent back to the laboratory for the final processing. Once completed, you will return to the dental office for the final placement of your dentures. Your dentist will ensure that the dentures fit properly, provide instructions on care and maintenance, and address any post-placement concerns or questions you may have.
- Follow-up Appointments: Follow-up appointments are usually required in the initial weeks after receiving your dentures. This allows your dentist to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments for comfort and fit.
The treatment process will vary based on individual needs and the specific treatment plan outlined by your dentist.
Life with dentures
Adapting to your new dentures
It is normal to experience some discomfort after receiving your new dentures. At first, they may feel awkward in your mouth. Your cheeks, lips, and tongue are extremely sensitive tissues that need time to adjust, and it’s not uncommon to bite them in the first few weeks of wear. However, if you experience constant soreness and irritation, contact your dentist.
Learning to eat with your new dentures will also take practice. Begin by slowly chewing on small bits of soft food, using both sides of your mouth at the same time. Once you’re more comfortable, you can progress to larger pieces of food, and harder food as well.
You may find that talking while wearing your dentures may also require practice. Certain words may be difficult to pronounce, but that problem can often be overcome within a few weeks. It is suggested that you practice reading aloud to adjust more quickly.
Caring for dentures
It is extremely important to take good care of your mouth and dentures to prevent health complications. To stimulate the gums and remove plaque buildup, brush the gums, tongue, and palate using soft bristle brush. This should be done before the dentures are inserted and after they are removed.
You should remove your dentures at night before bed. This allows your gums to be moistened by saliva, which helps control naturally occurring bacteria and maintain a healthy mouth. The dentures should be carefully brushed to remove any loose debris and plaque, then bathed in a nonabrasive cleansing solution recommended by your dentist. An ultrasonic cleaner can be used as well, but keep in mind that it is not a substitute for brushing. Never place your dentures in hot or boiling water, as this could cause them to warp.
Replacing or Readjusting
Visit your dentist if your dentures do not fit well because of mouth irritation, or a crack, chip, or break. Over time your gums and bone will continue to change throughout your life, which may result in poorly fitting or loose dentures. Complete dentures should be remade, or at least relined, every 5 to 10 years. If you experience significant weight loss, you may find your dentures become loose.
Ready to take the next step?
Contact a local dentist near you to setup a dentures consultation.
- American Dental Association. Denture Care and Maintenance. April 8, 2019. https://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/dentures
- Mouth Healthy. Dentures. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/dentures
- Johnson J. Dentures. American Dental Association Patient Smart. https://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Publications/Files/ADA_PatientSmart_Dentures.pdf
- Fixodent. How Much Do Dentures Cost? https://www.dentureliving.com/en-us/advice-tips/preparing-for-dentures/costs/how-much-do-dentures-cost