Regardless of which teeth you are missing for what reason, you probably have several options for replacement. But for many people, dentures are the best bet.
Here, we will go into detail on how much dentures cost. Then, we’ll elaborate on how to find decent discount dentures or reduce your out of pocket costs.
Generally, dentures are more affordable than dental implants and can be covered by Medicaid. However, there are a few different types of dentures with different price ranges.
We’ll start by going into depth about the types of pricing you might encounter when shopping for dentures. Later, we’ll talk about dental insurance and how to reduce the cost of your dentures.
First, let’s talk about the “hard cost” of dentures.
How Much Do Dentures Cost?
Complete, Permanent Dentures
Also referred to as “conventional” or “full”, this is the type that comes to mind for most people when they hear the word “denture.”
Complete dentures can cost anywhere from $300 to $5000 per plate.
A plate—also called a unit—being either the top or bottom set of teeth. For top and bottom plates, you’d be looking at $600-$10,000.
There are several factors that contribute to this wide pricing disparity. Therefore, it is important that you price shop in an intelligent way.
On the cheap or “discount denture” end, you get units with premade fits that often look artificial. Less expensive sets are generally made with lower quality materials and their warranties reflect that.
In the end, cheap dentures lack the desired lifelike look, are more prone to crack or break outright, may have poor bite alignment, and are typically less comfortable.
$800-$1500 per plate is usually the price point where you’ll begin to find respectable, custom dentures.
But this is the also the point where you’ll find the most variance. So if this is what fits your budget, make doubly sure that you compare what your local dentists are offering.
The most expensive sets are custom made out the high-quality materials. Often, they come with long warranties and/or maintenance included.
This is where you get into things like lifetime warranties plus you’ll always get the choice of having them look like your real teeth or your ideal teeth.
Many dentists even offer several different grades with corresponding price. Whatever the case, it’s vital that you learn enough about dentures to know what exactly you’re being charged for.
Also, there are usually additional costs associated with any type of dentures apart from the just plates. For complete dentures, for instance, you may need to have several teeth removed.
More on some of the extra costs later. For now, let’s talk about:
Partial Dentures Cost
Partial dentures are used when one or more teeth still remain.
Instead of creating a new smile, partial dentures fill in the gaps of your existing smile. There are several different configurations for partial dentures that depend somewhat on the situation in your mouth.
But generally, this kind of denture uses other teeth for support and may be easier to remove than complete dentures.
The price range for partial dentures is about $300 to $5000, just like complete dentures.
Yet the variance for partial dentures has a little more to do with situational factors. Though, quality cannot be discounted as a factor here either.
Same as with any dental procedure, educate yourself enough about your options to know exactly what you’re paying for.
If you can afford them, higher quality solutions will lead to a lot less stress over time.
Which is exactly what implant-supported dentures are.
Implant-Supported Dentures Cost
These are complete denture sets taken to the next level.
In this case, your dentist will install metal (usually titanium) implants into your gums. These implants then attach with your complete set of dentures.
Implant-supported dentures are more common for the lower set as dentures that rest on the gums are often less stable there. It is easier to create a better gum-fit for upper jaw sets.
The major advantage of using implants to support your dentures is the added stability. Talking and eating become easier and you don’t have to worry about them falling out.
Upper implant-supported sets also cover less surface area because they don’t rely on suction between the plate and the roof of your mouth to stay in place.
The plates for implant-supported dentures are usually only a little bit more costly than gum supported ones because the only significant difference is the modification that allows attachment to the implants in the mouth.
But combined with the other costs associated with going this route, the true cost of implant-supported dentures can climb to as high as $90,000.
Not to mention, there are several procedures involved spanning a few months.
Despite this, many who have gone the implant-supported route report high levels of satisfaction.
During their wait, they often receive some sort of “immediate” dentures to keep from going about toothless for months on end.
Immediate Dentures Cost
The term immediate dentures refer to dentures that are prepared to go in the same day that other procedures are performed to clear the way for dentures.
You could say that immediate dentures are generally a few hundred dollars more than conventional dentures of the same cosmetic quality. Emphasis on the word cosmetic.
They are best suited as stop-gap solutions or “transitional dentures”.
Their main benefit is that you don’t have to worry about being seen without teeth until your permanent set arrives.
And you have a backup should anything unexpected happen to that conventional set.
But oftentimes, they are kept as permanent sets.
This often leads to a lower quality end product.
Immediate dentures are often stock molds.
Sometimes they are specialized stock molds but they are stock molds nonetheless.
And while some are custom-made in advance, the fit always involves guesswork as they are made based on an estimate of your oral landscape rather than the real thing.
As your jaw heals from tooth removal and whatever other pre-denture procedures you needed, your dentist will reline the fit of your dentures. This process takes several extra visits over time.
But the return visits aren’t the issue, as relining is important for dentures of all types. The issue is that you are left with an inferior denture, but you paid more than it was worth because it was put in immediately.
Yet, if you use them for their transitional purpose they become an associated cost of conventional dentures. In this role, they perform admirably.
Associated Denture Costs
Depending on what is going on in your individual mouth, you may need a lot of work to prepare for your new dentures.
These additional costs can end up being greater in value than the plates themselves.
For instance, tooth extraction can cost anywhere from $75 to $650 per tooth.
Add in alveoloplasty—a surgery to reshape the jawline that helps reduce other complications—costs and things are starting to look mighty expensive indeed.
On top of this, you’ll almost definitely need consistent relining of your dentures over time. This is basically just a process by which the fit of your dentures is adjusted.
In fact, if you get immediate dentures you may need one or several relinings as you mouth heals over the the first 4-6 months.
The highest quality dentures may come with some reline appointments built in over time.
On average, you can expect about $300 for “chairside” relines and $500 for “laboratory” relines.
But in most cases, it can cost a lot more.
When you incorporate all of the potential associated costs and quality ranges:
A full set of dentures can total $1,500-$90,000.
A little much right?
Continue reading for an overview of the best ways to drive down the total and personal, out-of-pocket costs of getting dentures.
How To Get Cheap Dentures?
Government Programs and Dental Assistance
Healthcare costs in America are sky high across the board.
That’s an unfortunate start. But at least the United States government realizes it.
Medicare and Medicaid are the two major federal health programs that help individuals cope with these costs. But do will they help you afford new dentures?
Per their website:
“Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD).”
But Medicare does not cover dentures.
In fact, it stays away from most dental services altogether.
It may cover hospital costs or inpatient health care if you have a dental emergency or a complicated procedure, even though the dental care wouldn’t be covered. It may also pay for some dental services if you are hospitalized.
In the end, Medicare—by itself—is not the place you’re going to find help getting dentures.
However, you may be able to find certain Medicare Advantage or “Medigap” (Medicare Supplement) add-on plans that offer dental coverage at additional costs.
You’ll need to do your own research to find what might be offered by companies in your area.
However, Medicaid offers more built-in support for dental care.
Medicaid and Medicare differ in a few majors ways.
The main things that matter here are who is eligible and what kind of care they offer.
Medicaid eligibility is based mostly on income, whereas Medicare is a program geared towards seniors. You can also qualify for care based on age, pregnancy, disability, and other factors.
Also, the scope of care is quite a bit wider than Medicare. This makes sense given the expanded demographic. Moreover, Medicaid is a joint program between the states and the federal government. Thus, there are mandatory programs as well as optional ones.
Dentures fall into the “optional” category.
As of 2012, 39 of the 56 “states” where Medicaid is active offered some form of denture benefits. (In addition to the continental 50 and D.C., Medicaid is active in American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.)
There is also great variance in what is offered through Medicaid in each state. In any case, you’ll need to do your own research—with the fastest route to the answers you need being to just apply.
Additionally, some are eligible for coverage through a CHIP (Children’s Health Coverage Plans) program, which may or may not be administered through Medicaid.
If you need help with any of your questions just call the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at 1-800-MEDICARE. They can provide detailed information about each of these programs and refer you to state programs where applicable.
Depending on your circumstances though, none of these may be an option.
Luckily, there are more ways to get help affording dentures.
Dental Insurance for Dentures
According to the 2013 NADP/DDPA Joint Dental Benefits Report on Enrollment, 126 million people in the United States don’t have dental insurance.
You can find many scathing articles across the net about the American healthcare system and the dental industry is the focal point of many of them.
Part of the issues is this:
Dental insurance doesn’t come standard with health insurance. And by itself, it seems expensive. Furthermore, many who do have it complain that it offers little to no help when they need it.
But the average American has faulty thinking:
At least, they value their teeth to little.
A 2013 study by Gallup reports that a full third of Americans don’t go to the dentist at all. The overlap there is obvious.
Would this still be true if more people knew that those without benefits are 67 percent more likely to have heart disease, 50 percent more likely to have osteoporosis, and 29 percent more likely to have diabetes?
When we understand the true cost of not having dental benefits, we’ll start to change.
If you might need dentures in the near-to-distant future, you’re better off getting insured sooner rather than later. You may even be able to buy time before you need tooth replacement.
And make sure your plan includes benefits for dentures: the higher quality coverage the better.
Now if you don’t qualify for or can’t afford any sort dental insurance of any kind:
You aren’t out of luck.
In fact, you can use the following options to supplement some of the benefits you have even if you are covered to further reduce your out of pocket costs.
Other Options for Discount Dentures
There are a few common suggestions you’ll hear for discount dental care.
Dental schools can offer a decent source of reduced cost dental care. Being a test dummy for the undergraduates will get you the biggest discount but many of these schools also host postgraduate and staff clinics.
You might also be able to find a solution to part or all of your tooth replacement equation via participation in a clinical trial. Search for “dentures”, “tooth extraction”, or any associated procedures at ClinicalTrials.gov.
You can also search the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Directory for a health center near you.
Or you could try being more clever:
New, local dentists may offer reduced cost dental care, dentures included. You won’t know whether you’ll be so lucky until you do some digging.
And if you are down to do a little more digging, there are also charitable organizations that either provide or help connect people with low-cost dental care such as the Dental Lifeline Network, America’s Toothfairy, and ToothWisdom.org (especially for seniors).
Lastly, you can contact your local and state health departments to see what might be available in near you. Local Unitedways may also be able to point you in the right direction.
There is also an Association of State & Territorial Dental Directors that’s compiled a helpful directory of State Oral Health Programs.
As long as you are willing to do the research, you should be able to find a way to get the dentures you need.
Hopefully, you’ve got the answers you were looking for concerning how much new dentures might cost you.
And maybe more importantly, we hope you’ve found some valuable information that helps you save afford your new teeth more easily.
If you have any questions, please leave them below and we will do our best to provide clarification or further assistance.