ABOVE PHOTO IS A PARTIAL DENTURE, BELOW IS A DENTAL BRIDGE
If you’re missing one or more adjacent teeth, you may be considering either a dental bridge or a partial denture. Each one has their pros and cons, each one has their differences.
The Pros and Cons of Dental Bridges
Dental bridges use two crowns to hold one or more false teeth (pontics) in place. These false teeth “bridge” the gap where your missing tooth or teeth used to be.
- Tight, secure hold – The crowns anchoring your bridge to your teeth are very strong and ensure the bridge won’t ever move or shift.
- Do not need to be removed – Your bridge will never need to be removed, making it more convenient compared to dentures.
- Natural look & feel – Your crowns and false teeth will be made of porcelain, which looks and feels just like natural tooth enamel.
- Requires removal of healthy enamel– You will need two healthy teeth to be trimmed before the bridge is placed, which weakens them if your bridge ever must be removed in the future.
- Tricky to clean – You’ll need to use special tools and techniques to clean your bridge, which can be hard to get used to.
- High cost – Bridges can be more expensive than partial dentures and can cost almost as much as dental implants, in some cases.
The Pros and Cons of Partial Dentures
Partial dentures are made of a metal and plastic framework that holds one or more false teeth. The denture clips onto your remaining healthy teeth to restore your smile.
- Completely non-invasive – Partial dentures do not require the removal of any enamel, or oral surgery of any kind.
- Very affordable – Partial dentures are usually the most affordable way to replace multiple missing teeth, and are often covered by dental insurance.
- Can treat multiple missing teeth – Bridges are limited to replacing one or more adjacent missing teeth. Partial dentures, on the other hand, can replace multiple teeth that are not next to each other. If you are missing multiple teeth on different sides of your mouth, they may be a better option for you.
- Not as tightly secured – Partial dentures clip to your teeth, but have a weaker hold compared to bridges, and may shift and move occasionally.
- Hard to get used to – There will be a “break-in” period where you’ll need to adjust to your new partials, and this can be uncomfortable.
- Must be removed and cleaned every day – You must remove and clean your denture every day, making it harder to maintain, compared to a bridge.
What Are the Defining Factors Behind Denture Prices
There are three main factors that go into defining your dentures’ price: material, type, and level of customization. Dentures that are made from acrylic are cheaper than their porcelain counterparts; full (or complete) dentures cost more than partial dentures; while pre-made removable dentures are considerably less expensive compared to a properly-fitting set of upper and lower dentures.
Additional denture cost factors include:
- the price of possible teeth extractions,
- the cost of immediate dentures until your permanent dentures are ready for wear,
- and the cost of follow-up appointments for adjustments if needed.
Price Range of Dentures
The average price of dentures varies greatly, depending on the denture making process and the materials used in their production. On average though, the cost is around $1800 for a traditional, full set of dentures, however all the prices listed below are just a guideline, and may vary from dentist to dentist.
- Low-cost dentures go for anywhere between $300 and $500 per plate, with a complete set of lower and upper dentures costing $600 to $1,000. They’re generally cold-cured and made of lower-quality materials, resulting in an artificial look.
- A complete set of mid-priced dentures typically costs between $1,000 and $3,000, with a single denture plate priced at a sum of $500 to $1,500. Since they’re heat-cured, they look more natural and have greater longevity compared to cold-cured, low-cost dentures.
- Dentures in the premium price range ($2,000-$4,000/denture; $4,000-$8,000/complete set) are also heat-cured, made using only top-quality materials, and are completely customized for the most authentic look achievable.
If money is not a problem and you’d like a more permanent solution to your dental problems, consider looking into getting dental implants.
Does Dental Insurance Cover Dentures?
Whether or not your new dentures are covered by your insurance company depends on the type of dental plan you have. Some plans include insurance for dentures, but others don’t. Still, it’s worth noting that most dental insurance plans have an annual spending cap of $1,000 or $1,500, which is certainly something, but probably won’t cover your total costs if you want anything better than standard, low-cost dentures. Check your insurance company if they offer dental insurance for dentures and for how much.
Another way to spend less money on dentures is buying a dental discount plan. Consult with your local dentist about which plans they accept and recommend.
Regardless of which type of denture you choose, it’s important to take good care of your dentures to ensure you two have a long and healthy relationship ahead of you. A daily clean and a nightly soak goes a long way when it comes to extending the lifespan of your dentures.
Dental implants are an investment.
On the surface, dental implants look incredibly expensive, especially when they are compared to other tooth replacement methods. However, dentures and bridges, the two alternatives, typically have to be repaired or replaced every 5 to 10 years. The cost of this regular maintenance may quickly outstrip the costs of simply turning to implants, which can last a lifetime (so long as you care for them properly). They also prevent your jawbone from deteriorating—dentures and bridges can’t do that.
As your jaw deteriorates, your face shape will change. You’ll start to look older. Moreover, your existing teeth will start to grow loose. The jawbone provides the structure that holds your teeth’s roots in place. Once it’s gone, you’ll lose your other teeth as well. Keeping the rest of your teeth in your mouth is priceless.
Thus, we encourage you to think of dental implants as an investment, and not as an expense.
What Are the Defining Factors Behind Dental Bridges?
First, every case is unique. In general, however, single dental implants cost $1,500 to $2,000 per implant. Not per procedure—but per implant. Some patients are only going to need a single implant, whereas others will need several because they’re missing multiple teeth.
Note that this is only the cost of the dental implant itself. There are other costs involved including:
- The crown (the tooth itself) – this can be custom or stock
- The abutment (the part that connects the implant and the crown)
- The cost of tooth and root extraction
- The cost of the office visits.
- Pre-op care
- Post-op care
These additional costs can range from $1,500 – $2,800, bringing the total cost for a single implant in the range of $3,000 – $4,800. Some dental insurance will cover part of your dental bridges costs as well.