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.
- 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.
- 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 can vary based on a range of factors. Here’s a breakdown of what can influence the price:
- Your Dentist: The experience of your dentist 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.
- 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.
- 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 customized to match your natural teeth in terms of shape, color, and size which can be an added expense.
- Preliminary Treatments: In some cases, preliminary treatments such as tooth extractions, gum treatments or bone grafting may be necessary before getting dentures.
- Insurance Coverage: Some dental plans may partially cover essential procedures like dentures. The specifics of what’s covered and how much they reimburse can affect your out-of-pocket expenses. To learn more about the basics of dental insurance, visit National Association of Dental Plans (NADP).
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?
Here are some signs that you may be a good candidate for dentures:
- Major Tooth Loss: If you have lost a significant number of teeth or have no remaining natural teeth.
- Functional Impairment: Tooth loss is affecting your ability to properly chew food leading to poor nutrition and digestive issues.
- Aesthetic Concerns: Missing teeth have impacted your self-confidence and the appearance of your smile.
- Oral Health Issues: You are suffering from dental issues such as extensive tooth decay, gum disease or oral infections.
- General Health: Your overall health plays a role in determining candidacy for dentures. Individuals with chronic conditions may prefer dentures as a less invasive treatment option compared to surgical procedures like dental implants.
If you are interested in dentures, schedule a consultation with an experienced dentist near you to see if you are a good candidate.
Denture treatment process
The process of getting dentures typically involves several steps lasting an average of six weeks to three months. Here is a basic overview of how denture treatments are performed:
- Consultation: During a consultation, you will discuss your dental history, concerns, and overall goals. In addition, your dentist will perform a comprehensive examination of your mouth.
- Treatment Plan: Based on your feedback and results from the examination, your dentist will develop an individualized treatment plan. This plan will outline the type of dentures they recommend and any necessary preliminary treatments, such as tooth extractions. If tooth extractions are required, those will typically be performed first.
- Dental Impressions: Dental impressions will be taken once your mouth is ready for denture placement. These impressions capture the unique shape and contours of your mouth.
- Fabrication: Next, your dental impressions will be sent to a dental laboratory for fabrication. Skilled dental technicians will create a custom mold based on your unique impressions. The denture base (which fits over your gums) is made from acrylic. Artificial teeth are selected to match your natural teeth and placed in the denture base.
- Initial Fitting: Once your dentures are ready, another appointment is scheduled to 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.
- Final Placement: After the initial fitting appointment, the dentures will be sent back to the laboratory (if necessary) for the final adjustments. Once completed, you will return to the office for the final placement.
- Follow up: After getting dentures, your dentist will likely schedule follow up appointments to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments over time.
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.
For more information about dentures visit www.ada.org.
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