How Much do Partial Dentures Cost?

In Australia expect to pay in the following range:

Acrylic denture: $600- $1000

Cobalt chrome denture: $900-$1700

Flexidenture: $900- $1300

It is hard to say exactly how much a partial denture will cost you, because there are so many variables that influence the price. The only way to get an exact quote is to see the dentist and have them draw up a treatment plan for your mouth. The variables that will affect the price are discussed below.

Partial dentures involve a number of laboratory stages for which the dentist is charged, this may include special trays, bit blocks, try-ins, re-setting the bite etc. So if the price of a denture seems quite high (and it is), it is because of the laboratory costs ($400-500 for a cobalt chrome denture) which the dentist must factor in to the overall price.

So What Affects the Price of a Partial Denture?

We can split these up into ‘denture factors’ and ‘general factors’.

Denture factors:

  • Type of denture

Cobalt chrome dentures are more expensive than flexidentures; which are more expensive than the basic acryic dentures.

(i) In Australia, a metal base has the ITEM number 727 for a top denture and 728 for a bottom denture.

(ii) An acrylic base has the ITEM number 721 for a top denture and 722 for a bottom denture.

(iii) Currently flexidentures do not have their own item numbers and generally those from (i) are used.

  • The number of teeth

Teeth themselves have an ITEM number. In Australia this is 733 and each tooth will cost $30 to $50. So if eight teeth are required on your partial denture, this is going to cost you a few hundred dollars more than a single tooth.

  • Retainers

Retainers are metal clasps that grip your teeth. They have the ITEM number 731. The price of these is included in the metal framework of a cobalt chrome denture but needs to be an added to simple acrylic dentures, for which two or three retainers are usually required. These cost about $30- $50 each.

  • Immediate teeth

If an immediate denture is made, then there is a charge for any teeth that are added immediately as part of the denture. This is to avoid you having to walk around with a gap; the denture has the tooth added beforehand and it is put in ‘immediately’ following the extraction. The ITEM number is 736 and generally this costs $30-50 per immediate tooth.

  • Number of partial dentures

If you require a denture on the top and on the bottom then you must add these up separately. If they were the same type and had the same number of teeth on them, expect to pay double the price of one.

  • Special additions

(i) Precision attachments

If special attachments are incorporated into the denture to improve the fit and retention, there will be additional charges.

Usually this will require a dental crown to house the other end of the precision attachment and as such the price will escalate considerably. If the dentist is thinking of using this in the design, they should inform you and provide you with all the price details.

(ii) Implants

If there is not enough support from your natural teeth, then an ‘implant-retained denture’ may be needed. This would increase the cost considerably. They are most commonly used in conjunction with a full lower denture but may prove of use in other situations too.

(iii) Inlays, fillings

Sometimes though it is very rare, a patient may request an inlay or a filling to be placed into the denture teeth to make them look more realistic.

I have done a few gold inlays on front teeth for patients who had them in their natural teeth before they were extracted and so wanted to keep the same appearance. There will be extra costs to do this and if it is something you wish to consider then discuss it with your dentist.

General Factors:

  • Lab Technician

Your dentist needs a laboratory to actually make the denture and prepare the different stages. Different laboratories will charge slightly different prices and these are likely to be reflected in the dentist’s overall price.

  • Location

The cost of a partial denture will vary not only between countries, but also between states, major cities, smaller towns and rural areas where access is more limited and competition less.

  • Insurance

Which health fund you are with, and the type and level of insurance will determine how much you get back and ultimately how much you end up paying out of your pocket for the denture.

  • Dentist

Since there are no set fees to say what a dentist should charge, only guidelines, fees can vary quite largely from practice to practice, as the average price range above suggests.

Ask yourself- is the dentist a general dentist, or a prosthodontist or are they a dental prosthesist? The level of training, expertise and experience may affect how much the dentist decides to charge.

Though all dentists are trained to make dentures, this doesn’t make them all equal. A prosthodontist is a registered specialist, trained in advanced dentistry and restorative procedures; the prices they charge are likely to reflect this (expect to pay 20-30% more).

  • Other costs

There may be other work that needs to be completed before the denture is made- there will of course be charges for this. Initially you are likely to need:

ITEMS 013 or 014- a limited examination or consultation and perhaps x-rays; ITEM 022- for a single view or ITEM 037 for an OPG.

  • Financing

A lot of dentists offer payment plans for cosmetic, restorative and orthodontic treatment. Ask your dentist or a prospective dentist if they have anything available. Third party financing may also be possible if you meet certain eligibility criteria. That way you can develop a monthly payment plan to suit your budget.

Putting this all Together

Here are a couple of examples to help you get your head around putting all this together:

(Obviously these will vary depending on your circumstances, but at least it will give you an idea. The costs include all the impressions, any re-trys and adjustments that are necessary after the denture has been made to make it comfortable)

The two examples I have used are from the ADA 2012 fee survey, and the totals represents the average costs across all dentists of the members surveyed.

1. A 2 tooth cobalt chrome denture would be made up of the following costs.

ITEM 727 (upper cobalt chrome baseplate) = $1330

ITEM 733 (teeth) x 2 = $43 x 2 = $86

So the total charge would be about $1416

2. A 6 tooth acrylic denture with 2 retainers

ITEM 722 ( lower acrylic denture) $558

ITEM 733 (teeth) x8 = $43 x 6 = $258

ITEM 731 (retainer) x2 = $43 x 2 = $86

So the total charge would be about $902.

Cheap Dentures?

A word on cheap dentures…

If you are shopping around for the cheapest denture, a word of caution… you often get what you pay for.

I would, as always advise against going for the very cheapest. Cheap dentures suggest a corner is being cut somewhere, be that the length of time the dentist spends working on your teeth, assessing the case, inferior materials or using a very cheap overseas dental laboratory.

Some dentists will be more expensive than others but selecting your dentist on price alone is generally not a good idea. Whether very expensive dentures are justifiably better than moderately priced ones, is also difficult to say.

It comes down to the quality of work provided by both the technician and the dentist. Have the treatment with a dentist you trust and who you believe will do a quality job that will last you many years.

What is the Rebate on a Partial Denture?

To be able to check out of pocket expenses, you need the item numbers for any treatment you will be having and the costs of each of these. I have given you the major ones here, but only your dentist will be able to provide the items relevant to your situation after examining you and discussing the various treatment options.

When you have this information, which we refer to as a treatment plan, you can call, or go into your health fund and ask them what your rebate is on each particular item number.

This way you can work out the gap, and know what exactly what it is going to end up costing you.