When it comes to replacing several missing teeth at once, dentures have long been the tried and true treatment. This tooth replacement solution is relatively fast and easy, mostly non-invasive, and generally more affordable than other options.
However, both full and partial dentures do have a few drawbacks to consider when trying to decide how to replace your missing teeth. For example, some types of dentures are not as stable or supportive as other options for replacing teeth, and they may not look quite as natural, either.
Fortunately, there are some modern solutions to these issues which have helped dentures to remain competitive with other treatments designed to replace missing teeth.
If you have teeth missing and you're looking for the best possible way to restore your smile, dentures may offer the solution you need.
The variety of denture options available can seem overwhelming, but learning more about how this well-known tooth replacement method works, the benefits it offers, and what it generally costs can help.
What Are Dentures?
Dentures are a tooth replacement option that can restore up to a full row of teeth once. They are removable prosthetic devices that are designed to look and function just like your other teeth. Dentures can be secured in the mouth with dental adhesive and can even be fixed into the mouth with the help of dental implants.
The Different Types of Dentures
There are a few different types of dentures which each serve a slightly different purpose and come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages:
Complete dentures, also called full dentures, are one of the most well-known types of dentures. Full dentures are a set of artificial teeth that can replace an entire row of missing teeth at once.
These dentures offer a simple and mostly non-invasive solution to significant tooth loss that might otherwise require a number of surgical procedures potentially over the course of several months. They often rely on denture adhesive to remain in place.
When only a few natural teeth are missing and full dentures are not required, partial dentures can be a good form of replacement teeth. A partial denture is composed of artificial teeth attached to an acrylic or metal base.
Like complete dentures, partial dentures are removable, but rather than using only the gum tissue for support, they gain extra stability from the adjacent teeth.
One of the commonly noted drawbacks of both partial and full dentures is that they don't look quite as natural as some other replacement teeth. Custom dentures can help combat this issue by providing you with a custom set of lower or upper dentures that are a bit more expensive but considerably more natural-looking.
Immediate dentures are the fastest method of replacing missing teeth. Unlike other options, they can be placed in a single dental visit. However, these dentures are only viable for patients who meet certain criteria.
There are a few different disadvantages associated with conventional dentures that can be addressed with the help of implant-supported dentures. This option involves the use of several dental implants that provide support for a denture that is fixed to them permanently.
You can also receive new teeth in a single dental visit with an implant-supported denture. This type of implant-supported denture is sometimes referred to as a snap-in denture.
When you receive snap-in dentures, you'll be given the implants all at once. Then, you will receive temporary dentures, which you will wear until the implants have healed, at which point you will return to the dental office to receive your permanent dentures.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a method of replacing teeth that uses a titanium post that is integrated directly into the jawbone and then connected to an artificial tooth with the help of an abutment. This fusion with the jawbone helps provide significantly more support and strength than other options.
Why You May Need Dentures
You can lose teeth for various reasons, many of which will need to be addressed before you can consider replacement.
The three most common causes of lost teeth are:
- Severe tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Traumatic dental injury
Each of these issues can be painful and distressing, but once treated, you'll be ready to replace your teeth and speak with your dentist about dentures.
The Advantages of Choosing Dentures to Replace Missing Natural Teeth
There are a few ways to replace missing teeth other than dentures, such as a fixed bridge or a full mouth of dental implants. But while those options have advantages, there are certain things they don't offer that dentures do.
Dentures Are Versatile
Because of the variety of denture types available, dentures make for a versatile tooth replacement method that can suit a range of different needs.
For example, you can replace a few missing natural teeth with removable partial dentures, or a whole row of teeth with traditional complete dentures. And you can get added support from an implant-supported denture.
They Can Treat a Wide Range of Conditions
Certain tooth replacement options require more criteria to be met if you're hoping to be a viable candidate. For instance, you will need a specific level of gum and tooth health, as well as bone density. A conventional denture doesn't require nearly as much of the patient.
Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of having a permanent prosthetic placed in their mouth. If that's the case for you, then removable dentures may be a much more comfortable solution.
They're More Affordable
While dental care can be expensive, there are treatment options that are more affordable than others, and traditional dentures are one of them. If you're looking to replace missing teeth on a budget, they're going to be your best bet.
The Disadvantages of Traditional Dentures
It's always important to consider the cons of any dental treatment before opting for it. When it comes to conventional dentures, there are some drawbacks to keep in mind:
Less Support and Stability
Removable dentures have their advantages, but excellent bite strength or stability is not typically one of them. They depend on your gum tissues and facial muscles to gain support, and that support is fairly weak compared to what procedures like dental implants can provide.
The lack of support and the reliance on the soft tissues of your mouth can make your dentures feel fairly uncomfortable, particularly early on when you're still adjusting to the replacement teeth.
They Can Become Loose
Removable dentures do not stimulate bone growth in your jaw, which can result in a loss of bone density. The loss of bone density can cause your facial structure to shift, which can make the fit of your dentures change. Addressing this issue may require new dentures.
Difficulty Eating and Speaking
Another drawback of removable dentures is that their lack of support can alter your ability to speak and eat properly. This means you may need to change your diet in order to adjust to your new dentures.
How Much Do Dentures Cost?
The cost of your brand-new smile will depend on what type of dentures you choose:
The price of a full denture is most often going to fall somewhere in the range of about $1000 to $3000 per row, meaning both the upper jaw and lower jaw will require that figure.
However, there are also economy dentures available that cost about $300 to $600 per row, which means that the upper jaw and lower jaw combined would cost between $600 and $1200. The quality of these generic dentures may be lower than the average denture.
It seems reasonable to assume that a removable partial denture is going to be cheaper than a full denture, but that's not necessarily the case. On average, a partial denture can be more affordable, but not by as much as you might think. You can anticipate paying between $600 and $2500 for this type of denture.
A custom denture is of a higher quality than the average denture, which inevitably means a more premium price. There are many factors that contribute to this cost, so estimates are difficult, but you can anticipate paying at least $2000 to $4000 for either the upper or lower jaw and $4000 to $8000 for both.
An implant-supported permanent denture requires more procedures and more material, so it will generally be a more expensive option. You can anticipate paying somewhere between $2500 and $4500 for a single implant-supported denture.
It's not easy to estimate the cost of replacing missing natural teeth with a snap-in denture, due to the various factors involved in determining pricing, but you can typically expect to pay at least somewhere between $4000 to $6000.
Are Dentures Covered Under Insurance?
Fortunately, your full or partial dentures may actually be covered under your insurance, at least partially.
The denture procedure is considered to be a major one, which means that the cost may be covered up to 50%.
Factors that Affect the Cost of Dentures
Dentures can vary widely in cost depending on factors such as:
- The number of teeth you're replacing
- The location where you receive them
- What materials are involved
- Other procedures that are required
- Whether you need implants
It may be worthwhile to shop around a little bit in order to find the best price for the dentures you want. You may also want to choose to first try out temporary dentures to determine whether you want to wear dentures at all.
Some common denture questions and their answers include:
How Often Should You Wear Your Dentures?
If you have a removable partial or complete denture, you don't need to wear them 24/7, but you should be keeping them in for at least 8 hours every day. This gives your gums and the surrounding tissues in your mouth some time to adjust to the denture.
What Are the Right Dentures for Me?
What dentures are best for you is something best determined by your dentist, but some factors to consider are how many teeth you're looking to replace, how much you value a more natural-looking smile, whether you're willing to undergo oral surgery, and what your budget is.
Do Dentures Affect Your Diet?
Dentures can certainly affect what you're able to eat, particularly if you opt for traditional dentures. For example, you'll want to avoid sticky, tough, or hard foods in order to eat properly while wearing dentures.
Dentures Can Change Your Life
If you're missing one or more teeth, then you should strongly consider replacing them as soon as possible. Should you decide that you want to do that, dentures are one of your best options. They can not only restore function to your mouth, but they can also restore your smile and your self-confidence.
Whether you opt for full dentures, partial dentures, dentures that are implant-supported, or other denture options, you'll be doing your oral health an incredible service by looking into this life-changing treatment.
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