How much do complete dentures cost?
This page provides fee estimates for complete (full) dentures and relines.
In all cases, the price range given is for a single "unit," meaning an upper or lower denture. The cost for a set of dentures would be in the neighborhood of twice the estimate we show.
Compete (full) dentures.
The fee that a dentist charges will depend on which technique is used when the appliance is fabricated, conventional or immediate.
A) Conventional -
Complete denture (conventional) - Upper or lower.
$900.00 - $1900.00
Range: < Small rural city or town. - Largest metropolitan areas. >
What does the term "conventional" mean?
The word "conventional" refers to the situation where all of the patient's teeth have already been removed by the time denture construction is begun.
All replacement dentures are conventional dentures. First-time denture placement might involve either conventional or immediate protocol.
B) Immediate -
Complete denture (immediate) - Upper or lower.
$1100.00 - $2100.00
What does the term "immediate" mean?
The word "immediate" refers the situation where some of the patient's teeth still remain at that time when denture construction is begun.
It's usually just front teeth that are present. They're left so the patient's appearance still looks fairly normal. This approach also allows them to have some chewing ability during the weeks while their denture is being fabricated.
At that point when their new denture is ready, the dentist will extract their remaining teeth and 'immediately' place the new appliance. The patient is never without teeth (always having either natural or 'false' teeth).
Immediates can be transitional or permanent appliances.
Some dentists categorize immediate dentures as transitional appliances (intended to be replaced in 6 months to a year after suitable post-extraction healing has taken place). Other dentists intend for their immediates to provide more extended service (measured in years).
In the latter case, as bone and soft tissue healing transforms the shape of the patient's jaws, relines will be needed. It is important for you to inquire about the cost (see below) of this added treatment.
When trying to estimate their treatment expenses, a prospective full-denture patient shouldn't overlook the cost of extracting their remaining teeth (if any exist).
In some cases, this can add a considerable amount to their total bill. (We provide cost estimates for tooth extractions here.) As a point of interest, in some situations a dentist may be able to charge less than expected for removing some teeth.
Complete denture relines.
That side of a denture that rests on its wearer's gum tissue is called its "internal" surface. And as the shape of a patient's jaws change over time, this surface (and therefore the fit of the denture) can be renewed. This procedure is termed "relining."
Complete denture reline (chairside) - Upper or lower.
$250.00 - $350.00
Complete denture reline (laboratory) - Upper or lower.
$325.00 - $425.00
Chairside vs. laboratory relines.
The terms "laboratory" and "chairside" refer to the technique used for the relining process.
1) Laboratory - When a laboratory reline is performed, the dentist places impression paste in the patient's denture and then inserts the denture into the patient's mouth (thus capturing an imprint of the patient's gum tissue). The denture (with this impression in it) is then sent to a dental laboratory where a new internal surface for the denture is created.
2) Chairside - With a chairside reline, a runny plastic is placed directly into the patient's denture. The denture is then seated into the patient's mouth. As the plastic hardens, it captures the shape of the patient's gum tissue.
Advantages / Disadvantages
Each technique has its own individual strengths and weaknesses. In general, laboratory relines take longer to complete (sometimes the dentist keeps the patient's denture until the next day) but the plastic used is very lasting. Chairside relines can be completed in just one office visit but the plastic that is placed is typically less durable.
Discount / Economy dentures.
To help to make their services more affordable, some dentists offer lesser-quality dentures. We've seen the terms basic, affordable and economy used to describe this type of product.
Since most people know very little about how dentures are made, we'd like to describe this process (in brief) so to explain how economy dentures can differ from the ideal.
A) Ideal denture construction.
This isn't the only way to make a denture, but it's the only one your dentist learned in dental school. The process involves:
- Taking impressions of the patient's mouth, from which plaster casts (used to fabricate the denture) are made.
- Selecting a set of high-quality denture teeth that have an appropriate size and shape and appropriate over-all look.
- Creation of a wax mock-up of the denture (a 'set-up') that is used during a 'try-in' appointment where the teeth can be moved around and adjusted so they have the proper alignment and bite.
- Transformation of the wax set-up into the actual denture (composed of a high-quality plastic).
B) Techniques used to make dentures more affordable.
Two ways dentists can make their dentures more affordable are:
- The use of relatively lesser-quality materials.
- Taking a 'stock' (pre-made) denture and fitting it to the patient's mouth.
If you're considering a discount denture, you should ask your dentist questions so you know precisely what type of appliance you will get.
Ask about the materials that will be used.
Lesser-quality denture teeth typically don't offer the same "life-like" (translucent) appearance of higher-quality ones. They may also be less resistant to wear and staining and may not come in as many sizes and shapes.
In regard to the plastic that is used to fabricate the denture's pinkish "base," less expensive plastics may not be as colorfast, as resistant to staining or fracture, or come in as many shades as higher-quality ones.
Is the denture pre-made?
As a way of making their services both more affordable and quicker, some dentists will offer stock, pre-made dentures that are then relined to "fit" the patient.
It's important to understand that an appliance's function, stability and comfort are all substantially affected by both its occlusion (the way its teeth bite against opposing ones) and the overall shape of its plastic base. A technique where a stock item is fitted to the patient's mouth affords the dentist very little control over these factors.
While cheap and quick, this type of product typically makes a poor choice. (Ask the dentist if they would fit one of these dentures for their own mother.)