No matter 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.
Dentures are often 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.
How Much Do Dentures Cost?
Later, we’ll talk about how to reduce the cost of your dentures. But first, let’s talk about the “hard cost” of dentures.
It’s important to establish how much dentures cost without insurance.
First, let’s talk about the types:
Complete, Permanent Dentures Costs
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 $5,000 per plate.
A plate—also called a unit—refers to either the top or bottom set of teeth. For top and bottom plates together, 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 dental professionals are offering.
The most expensive sets are custom made out of high-quality materials. Often, they come with long warranties and/or maintenance service included. This is where you begin to find sets with lifetime warranties. Plus, you get the choice of having your dentures look like your real teeth or your ideal teeth.
Many dentists even offer several different grades with corresponding pricing. Whatever the case, it’s vital that you learn enough to know what exactly you’re paying for.
Also, there are usually additional costs associated with dentures apart from the plates. For instance, you may need to have several teeth removed for a set of complete dentures.
More on some of the extra costs later. For now, let’s talk about:
Partial Dentures Costs
Partial dentures are used when one or more teeth still remain.
The price range of partial dentures is about $300-5,000 for a plate, $600-10,000 for a full set—just like complete dentures. The variance for partial dentures has a little more to do with situational factors but quality cannot be discounted.
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.
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.
On average, implant supported dentures for the top or bottom cost $3,500-30,000. A full set may cost $7,000-90,000, with the average falling at about $34,000. The plates themselves are only slightly more expensive, but the total increases based on a wide range of potential associated costs.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will install metal (usually titanium) implants into your gums. These implants then attach with your complete set of dentures. The plates are modified so that they attach to these implants.
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.
Implant-supported dentures are more common for the lower set because gum-supported dentures are often less stable there. It is easier to create a better gum-fit for upper jaw sets.
Getting implant-supported dentures requires several procedures 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 refers 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.
Too often though, they are kept as permanent sets. This often leads to a lower quality end product.
Immediate dentures are often made from 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 need, 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 are more of 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 $50 to $900 per tooth. Add in alveoloplasty—a surgery to reshape the jawline that helps reduce other complications—and the total cost starts to look 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 your 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 to pay 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?
Thus the subtitle:
How to Make Tooth Replacement Affordable?
Despite the potentially outlandish price tag, you can almost certainly find some ways to save money on dentures.
The private sector offers a variety of ways to help shoulder the load. But first, let’s dive into where you might find help from the government.
Government Programs that May Help Pay for Dentures
The United States government recognizes that healthcare costs are sky high across the board.
Medicare and Medicaid are the two major federal health programs that help individuals cope with these costs. But will either one help you save on 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.
Medicaid and Medicare differ in a few major ways.
The main things that matter here are who is eligible and the types of coverage offered.
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. Generally, application is the fastest way to find the answers you need.
Additionally, some are eligible for coverage through a CHIP (Children’s Health Coverage Program) plan, 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, none of these may be option.
Luckily, there are more ways to get help affording dentures.
Dental Insurance for Dentures
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 benefits don’t come standard with health insurance. And alone, dental insurance 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 too little.
A 2013 study by Gallup reports that a full third of Americans don’t go to the dentist at all. The overlap between this and that 126 million mentioned earlier is obvious.
Would this still be true if more people knew that those without dental 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.
However, most dental insurance plans have a yearly limit of $1,000 or $1,500. So even if you quality for dental insurance, it is unlikely to cover your total costs. You also need to be sure that you select a plan that covers dentures.
Luckily, there is a lot more you can do.
Dental Discount Plans
Dental discount plans can work as to supplement dental insurance, or maybe replace it altogether.
Discount dental plans that can help lower the cost of dentures are easy to find.
You pay a monthly fee as a member. For that fee, you have access to dental care at a reduced cost. Many plans support low-cost dentures and all associated procedures.
Whatever other options you use, you’d be wise to look into dental discount plans (as you may find discounts of up to 60%).
These membership programs tend to be more manageable than insurance. Plus, they aren’t subject to the low yearly limits of most dental insurance policies. Whatever your discount, you receive it from the first procedure to the last.
Dental schools are some of the best providers of affordable 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.
Finding a dental school that offers low-cost dentures may be a bit difficult. It really just depends on what is offered by schools in your area. However, finding a dental school that will provide discounts on some of the associate costs (like tooth extractions) should be fairly easy.
Tooth Extraction Overseas
Dental costs are extremely low in some foreign countries.
“Dental tourism” is a real thing, and probably a good thing. Eventually, the trend may push prices down domestically. According to MEDIGO, denture costs are unbelievably low in multiple countries.
Obviously, you’ll need to do your due diligence when it comes to the quality of care you will receive. But lower prices does not automatically mean cheap dentures and incompetent technicians. At the very least, do some research regarding associated procedures like extractions.
You still need to factor in travel costs but the proper planning can reduce costs there as well.
If it sounds like too much of a risk, there are still places closer to home worth looking.
Other Organizations that Might Help
There are always more places to look, more research that could be done.
Some additional places you may be able to find help:
You may also find help (whether directly or just a point in the right direction) from charitable organizations such as the Dental Lifeline Network, America’s Toothfairy, ToothWisdom.org, or even your local United Way.
Lastly, you can contact your local and state health departments to find out what is offered near you. You can also check out this directory of State Oral Health Programs from the ASTDD.
We didn’t say it would be easy, we just said we would save you money on dentures.
Final Tips to Save Money on Dentures
Now, we get close to the end. But don’t underestimate the power of these last few tactics.
It’s time you take all that research you’ve accumulated and put it to use.
Learn the industry in your area. Location makes a huge difference when it comes to dental services. When searching for the right dentist to create your new set of dentures, be sure to widen your search radius to at least an hour away. Try to find areas where multiple dentists compete for business from blue collar families.
Find the “newbie”. 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. But when you find a new practice (or one that doesn’t get much business due to location or marketing), their desperation could be your ticket to low cost dentures.
Offer to pay cash. Nothing makes a dental professional happy like cash. It reduces fees that they have to pay to accept insurance or credit cards. This and the flexibility of cash make it a great negotiation tool. Being able to pay cash, especially on expensive procedures, can really help you secure a discount. Just use with tact.
Bundle or break it up? You may be able to save money on the total cost of dentures by having some or all of the associated procedures performed separately. Or, you may be better off finding a dentist who will offer discounts or remove fees when you go through them for everything that you need.
Negotiate. Take all of the research you’ve done and make sure the dentists you talk to know that you know your options. Most dental work yields high margins and a high hourly rate. When clients are on the line, dentists are often more than willing to adjust their pricing. Shop around with conviction, and you’ll be rewarded.
We might be in the 21st century, but people skills can still take you a long way. In this case, they can help you find better dentures for less.
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.