How Much do Partial Dentures Cost?
In Australia expect to pay in the following range:
COMPLETE DENTURE: $$1500 – $2000
PARTIAL METAL FRAMEWORK DENTURE: $1500 – $2200
FLEXIBLE DENTURE: $1100- $1500
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 dental practitioner 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’.
- Type of denture
Cobalt chrome dentures are more expensive than flexi dentures; which are more expensive than the basic acrylic dentures.
- 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 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
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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).
ASK YOUR DENTAL PRACTITIONER
ARE YOUR DENTURES MADE IN CHINA WITHOUT YOU BEING TOLD?
This deceptive practice exists only because nobody knows it’s happening, so tell your family and friends – once the tipping point of public awareness is reached, I believe the use of Asian lab work will collapse overnight! I mean honestly, would you continue going to your dentist if you discovered they were using cheap Asian lab work that was costing Australian’s jobs when for the same money you could get a superior product, keep Australians employed and have a true assurance that all materials used in the fabrication of your prosthesis were safe?
Patient impressions are bar coded and shipped overseas and the attending factory workers will produce the best crown/denture they can, given their skill base and the quality of the provided impression/crown prep. The many workers involved know nothing of the dentist or the patient and everything is anonymous (the factories employ thousands of employees with different individuals being responsible for different stages of production not the job in its entirety as Australian techs are).
The majority of the factory workers are not skilled technicians in the sense of the Australian tech but instead factory workers trained to complete a small process in the production line. These factories operate 24/7 and can exceed 5000 employees in number, many of whom are accommodated ‘out the back’ in dormitories.
More than 60% of Australian dentists now choosing to use cheap Asian laboratory work sourced largely from China (Taiwan and Korea are the other major players). I’d like you to reflect on that number 60%! And it is increasing.
The prime motivation for dentists to use Asian lab work is to reduce the lab fee without reducing the set fee normally charged to the patient and hence, make more profit – that’s it, end of story! For example instead of paying a $400 lab fee for an Australian made crown, the dentist may be paying as little as $88 to the intermediary ‘importer’ (who themselves are paying as little as $17 for the crown from the Asian lab). Of course the option for dentists to deal directly with the manufacturing Asian lab and pay the lesser fee (plus shipping) is also there!
A more recent development with some importers has been the use of ‘reward schemes’ for dentists who use their lab work, with participating dentists earning points based on expenditure much the same as the ‘Coles’ fly buy scheme!