Dentures FAQ

How much do dentures cost?

The cost of dentures can vary widely based on the type of dentures the patient selects. The three main types of dentures are 1) traditional dentures 2) implant-retained dentures and 3) hybrid dentures. After an in-depth consultation, your dentist will be able to give you more information about the three styles, as well as determine if you are a candidate for the type of denture you prefer. Dental insurance typically covers a percentage of the treatment (depending on your plan!), and we also accept CareCredit, which is a medical credit card with no interest for 6 months (sometimes up to a year!). Your credit score does not lower when you apply for CareCredit. After determining which type of denture is best for you, we will finalize your treatment plan and provide a detailed appointment sequence so you know exactly what to expect when you decide to proceed with treatment.

How long does it take to get dentures?

In most cases, we are making a patient’s “first set” of dentures. In these cases, we take detailed impressions of your existing teeth and send the impressions off to the lab, along with shade, shape, and teeth size information, to have an immediate set of dentures fabricated. At the time the remaining teeth are extracted, this set of dentures will be available to replace the missing teeth and even aid in the healing process. As healing progresses over the next several weeks, we will see you several times for follow-ups and adjustment to ensure a comfortable and smooth transition. After healing is complete, we can determine if the immediate set of dentures needs any additional lab work to make them a perfect set of teeth for you.

In cases where we are making a patient’s second set of dentures, the process typically takes about 6-8 weeks. During that time, we have several appointments as we work through each step of the denture-making process to ensure we get everything just right – we want these teeth to be a long-term, perfect fit for you. At the end of the process you should feel that these teeth “look like you,” fit well, and function well, allowing you to speak, eat, and engage with others socially in the same way that you did before having dentures. Taking the time to ensure each step is perfect means the result will be predictable – and beautiful!

When should I get dentures?

Determining when to get dentures is a very personal decision. Sometimes, poor health of the remaining natural teeth necessitates dentures “ASAP,” however, most often the worsening health of the teeth is a very gradual process, and you may have several months or even a few years before deciding that the time is right. After an in-depth consultation, your dentist will be able to make a recommendation on the best timing; however, we always follow the motto “your teeth, your call!” and will support you in your decision. Whenever you decide the time is right, it typically takes about three weeks before we can have the immediate dentures fabricated from the lab to prepare for the extractions of the remaining teeth.

What types of dentures are available to me?

There are three main types of dentures: 1) Traditional 2) Implant-Retained and 3) Hybrid. Some patients opt for a combination of the different types (for example, someone may have a traditional denture to replace the top teeth, and an implant-retained denture to replace the bottom teeth). The height, width, and density of the bone of the jaws determine if a patient is a candidate for implant-retained or hybrid dentures, as both of these options require implants to be placed by a periodontist (a gum and bone specialist).

Traditional dentures are what people typically think of as a “denture” – it is supported by the remaining bone and tissue of the mouth, and does not have any implants to aid in retention. While upper dentures work well for people because of the retention gained by covering the roof of the mouth, lower horseshoe-shaped dentures tend to rock and move during function, as the tongue and supporting tissues are more likely to knock it out of place.

To combat the troubles with traditional dentures, some patients choose to have implants placed in either the upper or lower arches, or both. When implants are placed, we can make either implant-retained dentures, which snap in and out, or hybrid dentures, which screw into place and can only be removed by a dentist. Both options provide improved quality of life, as well as improved esthetics, for the patient. When implants are needed, Drs. Foley and Jacobson work closely with a local periodontist, who will ultimately place the implants, to ensure our treatment plan is appropriate and to make sure we can finalize the fees before we get started. We are fortunate to have such a collaborative group of specialists in the area to ensure you get the absolute best treatment possible!

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Dentures vs. implants; which one should I get?

            While a traditional upper denture (no implants) can work well for most patients, depending on the height of the jaw bone, utilizing implants on the lower arch is considered the “gold standard.” Traditional lower dentures (with no implants) are horseshoe-shaped and tend to rock, move, and make both appearance and function difficult to maintain because of the movement of the tongue. However, some patients are able to quickly become accustomed to the fit of traditional lower dentures, and they ultimately work quite well for them. Drs. Foley and Jacobson will always respect your wishes for your teeth replacement, however, it must be acknowledged that an implant-retained denture on the lower arch is almost always the recommendation to ensure that you will be comfortable and be able to eat and speak comfortably with the denture in place.

When we start talking about implants, each patient’s case can vary significantly. Some patients function wonderfully with a traditional upper denture and only two implants on the lower arch to hold the denture in place. Other patients need, or may choose, to have 4-6 implants placed both on top and on the bottom to ensure the best possible function and appearance. During your consultation appointment, we can show you models and photos of the different types of dentures and can talk about which one will work the best for you based on your budget and your daily habits.

How do same day dentures work? Will I get dentures the same day of my tooth extractions?

Prior to having your teeth extracted, you will have an appointment at our office for detailed impressions of your existing teeth. The impressions, a registration of your bite, and information about the ideal size, shape, and color of your teeth are all relayed to our lab technician, who will fabricate a set of “immediate” dentures for you. Most patients typically elect to have all their remaining teeth extracted at the same time, so that we can immediately replace the teeth with this set of dentures instead of making the process last longer and cost more.

When the teeth are extracted, the dentist will immediately give you the set of immediate dentures. We make any adjustments that are needed, and instruct you to wear the dentures for at least 24 hours without removing them. This helps reduce swelling, improve comfort, and ensure that you can eat and drink well in the first hours after having your teeth removed. In the weeks that follow, you will need to have several follow-up appointments at our office as your extraction sites heal and the bone and tissue remodel, to ensure the dentures remain a good fit for you. At the end of the healing phase (usually 6-8 weeks), you and your dentist will determine if the denture will need any additional lab work to make it the “perfect” set of teeth that you deserve.

How long do dentures last?

Depending on the care of the dentures and the mouth, they can last 15-20+ years. Dentures still need to be cleaned and cared for, similar to regular teeth! We ask denture patients to return to the dentist every 6 months for a professional denture cleaning and a quick exam (and oral cancer screening) and to ensure the dentures aren’t causing long-term issues within the mouth, like overgrowth of tissue. We do request that patients remove the dentures overnight (except for hybrid dentures, which cannot be removed) to ensure the overall health of the dentures and the mouth can be more reasonably maintained.

How many implants are needed for an upper denture?

The number of implants needed varies greatly from patient to patient. Typically, an upper implant-retained or hybrid denture requires 4-6 implants, but we would set up a consultation with a local periodontist to determine the exact design of your custom denture. During this process, the periodontist would utilize a CT scan to gauge the height, width, and density of the jawbone to digitally guide your case, which leads to the absolute best results.

Are implant-retained dentures removable?

Yes, implant-retained dentures are removable. These dentures snap in and out of place, but typically patients only remove them at night while sleeping. The implants provide excellent retention and support, so you will feel more comfortable eating, talking, and functioning with your teeth in place. Patients also love that implant-retained dentures do not need any sticky adhesives or denture creams to help hold the denture in place – all the work is done by the implants!

The other type of dentures that utilizes implants, called hybrid dentures, are screw-in dentures that are not easily removable. Patients cannot remove these dentures, but their dentist may choose to remove them once every 2-5 years to clean under and around the attachment points. These dentures require excellent maintenance to ensure the surrounding gum tissue remains healthy.

What are snap-in dentures?

Snap-in dentures, also called implant-retained dentures, are horseshoe-shaped dentures that snap into implants to help improve overall retention. When implants are part of the denture process, the patient’s ability to function, overall appearance, confidence, and quality of life are significantly improved. The dentures are typically only removed at night while sleeping, and they do not require any adhesives or creams to help them stay in place.

What happens if you don’t have enough bone for dentures?

Fortunately, dental science has improved significantly in the past several years. If you’ve been told that you don’t have enough bone for dentures, there still may be some options for you. After an in-depth consultation and evaluation with a local periodontist with whom we work closely, we are hopeful that we would be able to present to you a good option to replace your missing teeth and restore both function and appearance.

Is there a type of denture that is not removable?

There is a type of denture, called a hybrid denture, that screws into place over implants and is not removed. The overall comfort of this type of denture is unparalleled, as it truly replaces the teeth in a more natural way. At the discretion of your dentist, the hybrid will be removed about once every 2-5 years to clean under and around it and ensure that the surrounding tissue is staying healthy. Don’t worry – you’ll only be without it for a few hours! Though hybrid dentures are the highest financial investment of the three denture types, patients are overwhelmingly happy with the final result.