Permanent dentures are false teeth that are attached to the jaw. These dentures are an alternative to removable dentures for missing teeth.
Unlike traditional dentures, permanent dentures are typically held in place by two or more surgically-placed dental implants. The implants make permanent dentures stable and allow the patient to chew, talk, and smile more easily than with removable dentures.
Permanent dentures look and feel just like natural teeth. There is no risk of them shifting or falling out, and they can't accidentally be misplaced. Dentures are made with various dental materials, including acrylic, nylon, porcelain, resin, or metal.
Partial permanent dentures are also available as implants, which can be placed where you need them, whether it's just one missing tooth or many.
Approximately 32.6 million Americans have dentures.
The seven most common types of permanent dentures include:
Complete dentures, also called full dentures, are full-coverage oral prosthetic devices that replace an entire arch of missing teeth.
To make complete dentures, a dentist or dental specialist will use a plastic base that is colored to match the gum tissue and support a complete set of plastic or porcelain teeth.
A dentist then uses a sealant or bone grafting to hold the dentures in the mouth. Complete dentures can also be held in place by attaching to dental implants that are surgically placed into the jaw.
Partial dentures are removable yet natural-looking dental appliances that help restore the jaw's form and function by replacing one or several missing teeth.
To create partial dentures, a specialist creates a plastic base or a metal framework to support the teeth that need to be replaced. This framework is held in the mouth by clasps and rests around your natural teeth.
Snap-on dentures, also called implant-supported dentures or overdentures, are held in place by either a few remaining teeth or metal posts implanted in the jawbone. Unlike conventional dentures, which can potentially slip out of place, snap-in dentures are more stable and versatile.
A permanent dental bridge is an appliance that replaces a missing tooth or missing teeth.
A dental bridge is made up of several pieces fused to fit into the open space where the teeth used to be.
Also called full arch dental implant bridges, all-on-4 dental implants support an entire arch of teeth, top or bottom—with just four implants. These replacement teeth look and feel identical to natural teeth and function the same.
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that covers a weakened or damaged natural tooth. It provides support to a weak or damaged tooth. A tooth that is weakened and can't withstand the force required to chew might also need a crown.
Dental implants are screw-shaped devices that are placed into the jawbone as artificial tooth roots. They are usually made of titanium.
After an implant is surgically inserted into the jawbone, a dental crown is placed on top to restore the tooth’s crown.
If you're considering getting permanent dentures, you should weigh the positives and negatives before deciding.
The cost of permanent dentures can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, and depends on the wearer's individual needs and the type of denture or dental prosthesis used.
See below for the different types of permanent dentures and their average costs:
The cost of dentures varies based on several factors:
The first factor that influences the cost of dentures is the number of teeth that need to be removed and replaced. Some patients only need one or a few teeth removed, while others require full-mouth extraction.
On average, the more teeth you need to be replaced, or the higher the number of implants needed, the higher the cost of your denture treatment.
On the other hand, a patient who only requires partial tooth replacement and a partial denture will usually pay less than a patient who needs a full set of dentures.
The method used to secure the dentures in place will impact the cost of the dentures. For example, patients that opt for implant-supported dentures will typically pay a higher price for the treatment.
Also, denture implants are surgically implanted, and that additional step comes with extra fees.
Patients who want a lower-cost denture solution, or aren't suitable candidates for implants, may be able to opt for the use of adhesives to secure their dentures. This will lower the overall cost of treatment.
Dentures can be made in various materials, including acrylic, nylon, porcelain, resin, or metal. Typically, the higher the quality of material used, the more expensive the dentures will be.
The design and fabrication of the replacement teeth will affect the cost of the denture treatment.
Patients with poor oral hygiene and other oral conditions, including gum disease and tooth loss, may require additional treatment like bone grafting before placing the permanent dentures, increasing their dental costs.
Other factors that impact the cost of dentures include the location of the dentist providing the treatment and the type of dental insurance you have. If you use a dental specialist like a prosthodontist or cosmetic dentist, the cost may be higher.
Dental insurance may help cover part of the cost of permanent dentures. A full-coverage dental plan covers primary restorative care, including bridges, crowns, and dentures.
Before moving forward with dentures, you should contact your insurance company to determine the exact amount of coverage available.
There are other ways to pay for permanent dentures for patients who don't have dental insurance or whose insurance only covers part of their treatment.
Some dental offices offer monthly payment plans, making it easier for some patients to pay for dentures. Many dental offices also work with financing companies so that you can make monthly payments through a third party.
You can also consider getting treated at a dental school to receive cost-effective dental care and dentures. Even though the cost of the dentures may still be the same, dental schools charge much less for the other treatments that go into denture placement, such as tooth extraction.
Overall, dental schools charge about half of what a general dental practice would charge. At a dental school, dental students treat patients under the strict supervision of experienced clinical faculty.
Other ways to pay for permanent dentures include using a flexible spending account (FSA), a health savings account (HSA), or a credit card to make payments.
Patients can also save on the cost of permanent dentures by opting for a warranty to repair wear and tear on the dentures.
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