How much do complete (full) dentures cost?
This page gives prices estimates for "complete" (also referred to as "full") dentures.
These terms are interchangeable and simply mean that the denture replaces all of the patient's teeth on the arch (upper or lower jaw) on which it is worn.
"Per unit" fees.
In all cases, the price ranges shown on this page are for a single "unit," meaning one upper or lower denture. The cost for a set of dentures would typically be twice the fee we show.
Denture costs, by type of appliance -
1) Compete (full) dentures.
FYI: The fee that a dentist charges for making dentures will depend in part on exactly what technique is used when the appliance is constructed, "conventional" or "immediate." We explain both below.
a) Conventional dentures -
- Complete denture (conventional) - Upper or lower.
$1285.00 - $2850.00
Low fee = Small rural city or town.
High fee = Large metropolitan area.
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 actually begun.
- All replacement full dentures are conventional.
- Sometimes a patient's initial set is too, depending on how concerned they are about not having teeth during the weeks while their appliance is being made.
- As advantages for choosing conventional technique for first-time cases: 1) It can allow time for gum tissue and jawbone healing ("curing") to take place before denture construction is begun. 2) The construction process is more straightforward for the dentist.
b) Immediate dentures -
- Complete denture (immediate) - Upper or lower.
$1475.00 - $3180.00
What does the term "immediate" mean?
The term "immediate" refers to the situation where some of the patient's teeth still remain at the time when denture construction is begun.
- It's usually just front teeth that are kept. The back ones are removed some weeks earlier so some gum tissue and jawbone healing can take place.
- Even with just front teeth, the patient's appearance remains fairly normal. And although different and challenging, the patient also retains 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. At that time a new cost, for the new appliance, will be incurred by the patient.
- Other dentists intend for their immediates to provide more extended service (measured in years).
In this case, as bone and soft tissue healing transforms the shape of the patient's jaws, relines will be needed (see fee estimate below).
Either way, you'll need to ask your dentist what your additional costs will ultimately be.
Additional factors in the cost of having dentures made.
1) Don't overlook the cost of tooth extractions.
When trying to estimate their treatment expenses, a prospective 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 the 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.
Alveoloplasty may be required too. This is a surgical procedure that's used to reshape the jawbone ridge so it's idealized for wearing dentures. (More details.)
Since the extent of correction that's need will vary on a case-by-case basis (for example: quadrant, upper or lower arch or full-mouth), the associated fee can vary substantially.
2) Does dental insurance cover complete dentures?
It's common that a dental plan will provide benefits toward the cost of full dentures. If so, this procedure is usually listed under the category of Major Dental Services.
As such, benefits are frequently/typically limited to 1/2 the cost of the denture(s), after subtracting the policy's deductible (if there is one). The amount paid is also limited by the plan's yearly maximum benefits. (This page provides a more thorough description of how benefits are typically calculated.)
Insurance limitations on denture coverage.
Many plans have restrictions that affect when benefits for full dentures are paid. They can include:
- Benefits may only be allowed for dentures (one upper, one lower) once during a prescribed time frame (5-years is common).
Example #1 - You have a set of dentures made 3 years ago while you were insured under your current plan. Benefits toward a replacement set will not be available until that point when 5 years have lapsed since the completion of your current set.
Example #2 - You currently wear a set of dentures that you personally paid for 3 years ago. You now have enrolled in a dental plan. It could be expected that the plan will provide coverage for a new set being made now. (The limitation doesn't apply because the company paid no benefits toward your current set.)
- Benefits for denture relines or rebases (see below) are frequently limited to once every 3 years for the appliance (either the upper or lower denture).
3) How much does your dentist pay to have dentures made?
While your dentist may do some of the lab work needed to construct your new appliances (such as perfecting the alignment of their teeth), it's usually a dental technician who does the bulk of the work. And for this reason, one portion of the expense involved with providing this procedure for you is paying their dental laboratory's bill.
Estimate of complete denture dental lab fees: (Your dentist's cost.)
- Complete denture (upper or lower) - $145.00 to $240.00
2) Complete denture relines.
As the shape of a patient's jaws naturally change over time, the "internal" surface (and therefore the fit of their denture) can be renewed. This procedure is termed "relining."
- Complete denture reline (chairside) - Upper or lower.
$280.00 - $395.00
- Complete denture reline (laboratory) - Upper or lower.
$350.00 - $475.00
Chairside vs. laboratory relines.
The terms "laboratory" and "chairside" refer to the technique used for the relining process.
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.
With a chairside reline, a runny plastic is placed directly into the patient's denture. The denture is then seated in 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 replacement plastic that's used is very lasting.
- Chairside relines can be completed in just one office visit but the plastic that is placed is typically less durable.
How much does your dentist pay for a laboratory reline?
Laboratory denture relines cost more than chairside ones in part because the dentist incurs an expense from the dental lab that performs the work.
Fee estimate for laboratory reline: (Your dentist's cost.)
- Reline services, complete denture, hard plastic. - $50.00 to $75.00
3) Discount / Economy dentures.
To help make their services more affordable, some dentists offer lesser-quality dentures. The terms "affordable" and "economy" dentures are sometimes used to describe this type of product.
Economy dentures -
- Complete denture (economy) - Upper or lower.
$570.00 - $1350.00
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 is 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 that a dentist can make their dentures more affordable are:
- Using relatively lower-quality materials.
- Taking a 'stock' (pre-made) denture and then fitting it to the patient's mouth (a non-custom denture).
If you're considering a discount denture, you should ask your dentist questions so you know precisely what type of appliance you'll get.
Ask about the materials that will be used.
Lower-quality denture teeth typically don't have the same "life-like" (translucent) appearance of higher-quality ones. They may also be less resistant to wear and staining. Additionally, they may not be available in as many shades, sizes and shapes.
Lower-quality denture base plastics (pink denture plastic) 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?
Some "economy" appliances are stock (pre-made) denture shells that are then relined to "fit" the patient.
It's important to understand that a denture'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 over the jawbone.
The 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. They wouldn't.)
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