A Guide to the Cost of Dentures and How to Find Affordable Options
How much do dentures cost? What are affordable dentures, and what's the difference between cheap dentures and more expensive options?
Price is a major consideration when looking for a set of dentures, which is why these are some of the most commonly asked questions.
In this guide to the cost of dentures, we'll cover the many different types, the materials used to make them, and the aspects that impact price.
How Much do Dentures Cost?
The cost of dentures can vary considerably. It's a wide-ranging question and there are many factors to consider.
Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $10,000—a massive variation that needs some explaining.
The Different Types of Dentures
One of the biggest factors determining the cost of dentures is the type of dentures you choose.
Many consumers purchase full dentures, ones that replace all of their teeth, and can be removed and cleaned. But if some of your teeth are strong and healthy, or you don't want to wait 3 months between your teeth being extracted and your dentures being fitted, there are alternative options.
What follows is a list covering most types of dentures, along with a rough average (to be taken as an approximation only) on how much these types of dentures cost.
Full Dentures = $500 to $3,000
A complete set of dentures will replace the patient's original teeth. They are added after the teeth have been extracted and allowed to heal, and they sit on top of the gums.
The price of a full set of dentures can vary and will depend on the material used, the individual fitting them, and any specific patient requirements.
Complete dentures are wedged in place using dental adhesive. This will help them to adhere to the gums and allow the user to eat, drink, and smile without fear of their teeth slipping out.
They should be removed and cleaned regularly, ensuring they remain free of bacteria, stains, and other damage.
Partial Dentures = $500+
A partial denture is used to replace lost teeth while keeping healthy teeth in place. Generally, partial dentures cost around the same as full dentures, but there are many variables that can affect the price, including the materials and whether one or two plates are needed. The number of teeth you need to replace will also have a big effect on the price.
Overdentures = $2,000+
Overdentures attach to dental implants or healthy teeth and are secured in place by inserts or wires. They can be removed and cleaned if needed. The price varies significantly and will depend on everything from the number of implants to the quality of the dentures and the skill of the dentist.
Snap-In Dentures = $8,000+
A stable form of denture that attaches to an implant screwed into the jaw. The underside of the denture contains a fitting that "snaps" into the implant and holds the denture in place. Typically, between 2 and 4 of these implants will be fitted into each gum, but up to 10 can be added for extra stability.
Additional implants will increase the cost, and these are generally not a cheap option. However, they provide more stability when chewing and often make the dentures more comfortable to wear.
Immediate Dentures: $2,000 per Arch
For a full set of dentures to be fitted, the patient's teeth need to be removed and the gum needs to heal. This process can take between 2 and 3 months on average, leaving the patient with an empty and unsightly mouth throughout that time. This is cause for concern for many patients, especially those in the public eye, and so they may opt for immediate dentures instead.
As the name suggests, immediate dentures are fitted after the teeth have been extracted and before the gums have healed. The dentist will conduct a series of exams and these will include impressions and, if necessary, bone grafts.
The teeth are then extracted, and the dentures are fitted, covering the wounds and potentially expediting the healing process. The dentures need to remain in place for up to 48 hours, and if they are removed, the gum may swell and prevent them from being replaced.
Regular check-ups are conducted and the dentures are realigned. This ensures that they continue to provide the perfect fit even as the gums swell, heal, and change shape.
Economy Dentures = $300+
Economy dentures are affordable dentures that can be fitted quickly and cheaply. They don't provide the exact fit offered by more expensive options and are also made with much cheaper materials.
As a result, they may look "fake" in the mouth and are also more prone to slipping, falling, and even breaking. On the plus side, these dentures are available for a few hundred dollars and could be the perfect option for consumers on a budget.
What Type of Dentures are Right for You?
Your budget, insurance, dental health, and preference will dictate which dentures are right for you. However, this is something you should always discuss with your dentist beforehand. They will tell you which solution is right for your needs and can also guide you through the pros and cons of the alternatives.
We have discussed some of these above, but ultimately, we don't know what your current dental health is like, nor can we make a decision based on your lifestyle and preferences. This is something you will need to discuss with your dentist.
Price of Dentures: Main Things to Consider
In addition to the type of denture, the following features can also impact the price:
The material used will dictate everything from the comfort and fit to the stain resistance and aesthetics. You want something that looks the part, and the less you pay, the more likely you are to get something that looks fake.
Dentures can be made from acrylic, nylon, resin, metal, and porcelain, and many combine several of these materials. The way these are treated or "cured" will also impact the price, with heat-cured dentures lasting much longer and providing a more natural aesthetic.
Your location has a massive impact on the price you pay for a set of dentures. In San Francisco, for instance, you could find yourself paying twice or thrice the amount that you would pay across states like Alabama, where you'll find some of the cheapest dental services.
Dentists, just like retail companies, have staff wages, rent, taxes, and service charges to consider. The quality of the service may be no different and there's no reason why you couldn't get a better dentist in Alabama than in San Francisco. But all the extra costs involved with the latter means the dentist needs to charge more to cover overheads.
Supply and demand play a role, as well. A dentist in a poorer area may charge less for cosmetic procedures than one in a more affluent area, simply because more consumers are looking for those procedures.
After all, a professional teeth whitening service costs up to $3,000, while crowns and veneers cost upwards of $1,000 per tooth. That's a lot of money when you consider that the average US citizen spends less than $1,000 a year on dental expenses.
Price of Dentures: Other Things to Consider
The cost of dentures isn't the only thing you need to think about. If you have decayed teeth and/or gum problems, and are not simply looking for a replacement set of dentures, you'll have to consider the following:
Your teeth need to be pulled before the dentures are fitted. On average, you will pay $150 per tooth extraction, but this only applies to non-surgical removals. If local anesthesia and surgical extraction are required, the costs can increase to as much as $600 per tooth.
Of course, such complicated procedures imply that the teeth are relatively healthy (unless they are impacted) in which case, partial dentures can be fitted around them.
Many patients are concerned about these procedures. They think back to the times they had root canals, fillings, and problematic extractions, and they worry about the discomfort and pain associated with multiple extractions. However, if the teeth and gums are not healthy, extractions are often relatively simple, quick, and pain-free.
Regular checkups, including tests and realignments, may be needed before and after the dentures have been fitted. Some of these are included in the price, but that isn't always the case and it's worth discussing these add-ons with your dentist.
The most basic checkups cost between $50 and $150, and cleaning is usually included in this price. But as with anything else, it will depend on the services required.
How to Find Affordable Dentures
All things considered, dentures are expensive. If you need extensive work, including a number of extractions and checkups, and you want the best pair of dentures on the market, you could be hit with a bill north of $10,000.
There are ways to save, but they won't be for everyone. These cheaper denture options include:
1. Dental Tourism
An increasing number of Americans are traveling abroad to get essential and expensive dental treatments, including veneers, crowns, and dentures.
Thailand is a popular destination, and you can buy a full set of high-quality dentures for around $600. However, a return flight costs upwards of $1,000, and you'll also have to think about accommodation.
If you're planning a visit to Thailand, it's worth considering some dental services on the side. If not, Mexico is a better option. Tickets are cheaper, you don't have to over 15 hours in the air. Depending on where you live, you could even drive there!
The US is home to many great dentists, but you'll find equally-skilled and highly-trained professionals all over the world. Just make sure you do your research, as there are many con-artists as well and they're just looking to make a quick buck.
2. Visit Dental Schools
Dental schools are a great way to get affordable treatments. You'll pay up to half of what you'd pay in a private practice, and you'll still get quality work conducted and reviewed by professionals.
The process may take a little longer and mistakes and oversights are more likely, but every step of the process is checked by a qualified expert, so there's usually nothing to worry about.
3. Look into Charities
Charities like the Dental Lifeline Network are designed to help the elderly and disabled get basic dental care. The DLN network spans more than 15,000 dentists, and it's just one of the charities that can help.
You can't get free dentures just because you want them and don't want to tap into your savings, but if you're out of work, don't have any savings, and don't have a substantial pension to fall back on, you might be covered.
Cost of Dentures vs Value of Dentures
Through the process, tell you where your money is going, what your options are for lesser/better materials, and if there are any ways to reduce the cost.
Always review these details and use them to compare with other products and services. Obviously, your local dentist can't compete with the prices quoted for DIY denture kits (see below) and other readymade online solutions, and you shouldn't expect a dentist in California to compete with the prices quoted by a dentist in Alabama, but you're entitled to get other quotes, compare, and try to negotiate a discount.
Does Dental Insurance Cover Dentures?
Dental insurance does cover dentures, but it won't cover all of the costs and you may be hit with major out of pocket expenses.
Dental insurance works on a sliding scale, known as 100-80-50. This means that you will be covered for 100% of preventative procedures, including x-rays and cleanings, 80% of basic procedures, including extractions and fillings, and 50% of major procedures.
Dentures fall in the final category.
There are annual limits to consider as well. These are usually capped at $1,500, whereas many full sets of dentures cost up to $3,000. In other words, you will get some cover, but don't expect it to pay for everything.
Medicare and Medicaid may also help. Medicare, for instance, could cover you for some of the costs associated with tooth extractions and checkups, while Medicaid will help with a host of treatments and is means-tested.
What About DIY Dentures?
When you hear the term "DIY dentures" you might think of some mad-scientist concoction made from scrap metal, chunks of porcelain, and bubble gum. In actual fact, DIY dentures can look just as impressive as many economy options, and with the rising cost of healthcare and spiraling wages, it's an option that many patients are considering.
Simply put consumers are buying basic DIY denture kits and molding their own false teeth. It's similar to the process used by dentists, but as they're not paying for the services of a skilled medical professional, the overall cost is much lower.
You can even buy readymade DIY denture kits on Etsy for less than $50!
Of course, it's not something that we can recommend. It's often a fiddly and complicated process and it's one that doesn't always result in a strong and aesthetically pleasing pair of dentures.
There is a reason dentists are trained for this kind of thing and a reason they don't knock-up expensive dentures on their living room table. Wearing improperly fitted dentures can cause a host of problems and it's always best to consult with a professional.
Etsy is no substitute for a trained dentist.
How Long do Dentures Last?
Last but not least, it's worth noting that dentures have an average lifespan of between 5 and 10 years. If you want to avoid another may expense in a few years, you should take care of your dentures.
XODENT™ Kits can help with this. They contain everything you need to keep your dentures clean, including cleaning tablets, wash baskets, and a soft-bristle brush. It provides an in-depth clean without risking any damage.
What's more, once you have the XODENT™ kit, you just need a regular top-up of cleaning tablets and you're good to go for years to come!
You can prolong the life of your dentures by:
- Removing and rinsing them after every meal
- Cleaning your mouth after they have been removed
- Cleaning them at least once every day
- Rinsing them before returning them to your mouth
- Avoid chewing hard foods that may crack the teeth or base
- Watch out for stains
Regular check-ups will help as well. If you're doing anything you shouldn't be doing, the dentures have slipped, or there is a minor crack, your dentist can advise or fix accordingly.
If any of the teeth break, visit your dentist. Sometimes, individual teeth can be fixed without requiring a costly and complete replacement. If the base breaks, however, it's a different story.