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Dentures, sometimes called false teeth, are prosthetic devices that replace missing teeth. For patients with missing teeth, wearing dentures can make speaking and eating easier. For patients with jawbone loss, dentures or partials can significantly impact their appearance and improve their confidence by substantially reducing facial wrinkles and making them appear younger.
Dentures are made from a composite material that resists bacteria and breakage. The dentures framework may be made of acrylic, resin, or a mixture of resin-based material with metal attachments. The teeth are usually porcelain or ceramic that feels glass-like, which helps give an appearance that closely resembles natural tooth enamel.
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Forty-one million Americans wore dentures in 2020.
Common types of dentures include:
Dentures are usually made by a prosthodontist, which is a dentist who specializes in dentures and denture fittings. To get dentures, the prosthodontist will recommend the best type based on the patient’s individual needs. Then, they will take an X-ray and make the initial impressions to create the dentures.
To properly care for dentures, patients must maintain adequate oral hygiene.
Dentures also need to be adjusted over time. Patients should maintain regular checkups with their dentist, who will perform denture relines to refit the false teeth back to the gums. The average lifespan of a denture is 10 years.
The total cost of dentures depends on:
Without insurance, a low-cost denture costs $300 to $500 per denture or $600 to $1,000 for a complete set.
Affordable dentures are usually cold cured. They are temporary solutions because of the lower-quality materials used. These dentures are also typically not as natural-looking as higher-quality, more expensive dentures.
For mid-priced dentures, patients without insurance can expect to pay an average cost of $500 to $1,500 per denture or about $1,000 to $3,000 for a complete set.
For the highest quality dentures or dentures that require extractions and extra customization, patients can expect to pay $2,000 to $4,000 per denture or about $4,000 to $8,000 for a complete set.
Most dental insurers consider dentures a major procedure and will cover 50 percent of the cost. The patient will pay the remaining balance out-of-pocket.
Patients with dental insurance can expect to pay an average cost of between $250 to $2000 per denture or $500 to $4000 for a complete set.
For patients with dental insurance, the dental clinic will provide an appropriate dental walk-out statement and discuss any out-of-pocket costs.
The cost of dentures with Medicaid or Medicare depends on where the patient is located. Medicaid is federally administered, but each state has its own version, with specific coverages and guidelines. Even if it isn’t covered, patients may get help through grants for dentures and other resources.
Also called dental savings plans, discount dental plans are an affordable, flexible alternative to traditional dental insurance. Patients who use a discount dental plan can access a network of dentists who provide discounted rates to plan members.
With a dental savings plan, patients can pay just $625 for a full upper denture.
Patients considering a discount dental plan for dentures should consult with their dental office about which discount plans they accept and recommend.
Some dental practices offer financing options for dentures, including payment plans or credit cards. An in-house payment plan allows patients to pay off their dental bills in increments rather than all at once.
Some offices offer financing through a medical credit card, like CareCredit, which patients can use to cover their dental bill.
Patients can save hundreds of dollars on dentures' costs by having dental work done by a dental school. Dental schools offer reduced-cost dental care that is performed by dentists in training. Patients considering getting dentures through a dental school should clear the work through their insurance policy and choose an accredited school.
Many government programs offer grants for dentures for seniors, disabled, low-income households, and other disadvantaged populations.
Some examples of dental grants and government-funded programs include The Give Back a Smile program and the Dental Lifeline Network. Give Back a Smile helps victims of domestic abuse. The Dental Lifeline Network offers assistance to low-income patients with a permanent disability, are age 65 or older, or have an underlying illness.
Donated Dental Services (DDS) is a program where dentists volunteer to provide dental care for free to eligible applicants.
Patients who have a permanent disability, are over 65 years old, or are medically compromised, and can't afford dentures' cost may qualify for free treatment through the DDS program.
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