If you’re missing some or all of your teeth, you know how much it affects you. It can be difficult to bite and chew when you’re missing teeth. And your confidence takes a huge hit — smiling or laughing often feels out of the question. No one feels good about showing the huge gap in their smile.
Most of us have heard of dentures, or “false teeth.” You may be thinking of uncomfortable, plastic-looking fake teeth when you think of dentures. While various types of dentures have been used for centuries, modern technology has allowed the creation of dentures with a great fit, excellent feel, and natural look. Often, people won’t even know you’re wearing dentures. For more detail, check out our Dentures page in our Education Wiki.
Yet, after having paid thousands over the years for dental care, you may be wondering whether you can afford to get dentures to restore your smile.
There’s a huge variation in the cost of dentures, depending on the quality you choose. For mid-range dentures, the cost is usually $500 to $1,500 per plate, which means $1,000 to $3,000 for a full set (upper and lower). Cheaper dentures can be had for as little as $600 for a full set, but they may not last as long, fit as well, or look as natural as higher-end options. Premium dentures, with all the most high-tech options to get the best fit and most natural look, can cost $2,000 to $4,000 per plate, or $4,000 to $8,000 for a full set. With the highest quality and usually the best warranties, premium dentures last the longest, so if you’re thinking long-term, premium dentures may be your best option.
Keep in mind that this is only an average; it varies by region and by individual dentist, so you should check with the dentist(s) you’re considering to determine their exact fee for the procedure. Ask what’s included in that fee, to make sure you aren’t surprised by extra costs when you get the bill later.
Will Insurance Cover It?
In most cases, dentures are considered to be medically necessary by insurance. This means that insurance will pay all or part of the cost, although there may be an annual limit on your plan. Your insurance company may cover only the most basic dentures, leaving you to “fill the gap” if you want better-quality dentures. You should call your insurance company to determine your coverage, or ask for help from the staff at the dental office; they’re used to dealing with insurance companies and can help you accurately determine your coverage.
Medical insurance typically does not cover dentistry at all. You need to have a separate dental insurance plan to cover dental care.
To many people, paying hundreds or thousands of dollars up front seems impossible. However, if you don’t already have the money saved, you have many options available for financing. In some cases, dentists offer financing plans for their patients. You can also get a medical credit card or other credit card, often with an attractive introductory interest rate; a medical loan, personal loan, or home equity loan from your bank; a loan from your 401(k); or loans or gifts from family and friends. Even if your credit isn’t great, you’d be surprised how many options you have. For more details about the financing options for your procedure, check out our Dentistry Financing page.