How Much Do Dentures and Implants Cost On Average
Dentures and dental implants are nothing short of incredible medical inventions. These artificial teeth help maintain the ability to eat, speak, and smile properly among people who’ve lost their natural ones. Of course, these devices may not be that comfortable for everyone, especially in the beginning, but it makes life so much easier in the long run.
However, the convenience they bring comes at a rather steep premium. Excluding the dentist’s services, a set of dentures can cost somewhere between AUD$1,100 and AUD$2,000, while a dental implant can cost between AUD$3,000 and AUD$5,000 per tooth. Other factors such as the patient’s current dental health would affect the total cost as well. But what makes the cost of denture implants this hefty?
Although their main purpose is simple and straightforward, dentures and dental implants are hard to make. The raw materials required to produce a unit are far from cheap, not to mention the intricacy of crafting one based on patient specifications.
The majority of dentures on the market feature a base made out of one of three materials: acrylic resin, porcelain, and metal. Acrylic resin is the most widely used for its natural appearance, ease of repair, and low cost. However, it doesn’t last as long as porcelain or metal.
Although porcelain and metal dentures are more durable, they don’t bond to dental tissue as well as acrylic resin ones. The changes in the patient’s mouth structure over the years can also warrant frequent replacements for the dentures to prevent them from falling out of position. Being the more expensive options, the partial or full denture implant cost might not sit well with patients on a tight budget.
In the case of dental implants, the metal used for their roots drives the cost high, mainly titanium or titanium-based alloys. Titanium is one of, if not the most, bio-compatible metals out there, meaning it can bond with body tissue without noticeable side effects. Some metals used in titanium-based alloys include aluminium, vanadium, niobium, palladium, tantalum, and zirconium.
It’s understandable if you aren’t familiar with half of the metals previously mentioned. In terms of availability, niobium and tantalum aren’t exactly as abundant as aluminium, so the titanium-alloy denture implants cost Australia can be high. As a result, there’s been a recent shift to pure titanium implants, which aren’t as strong as alloys but just as reliable.
The high cost of metal implants has also caused more individuals to switch to metal-free options, mainly ceramics such as hydroxylapatite and bioglasses. However, as one materials study noted, all-ceramic implants are ill-suited for extensive restorations because they’re not as durable as metal ones. At the bare minimum, reliable ceramic implants have some metal in them.
Manufacturing And Installation
The most critical aspect of making dentures or implants is ensuring a precise fit. Patients may find themselves making multiple trips to the dentist or prosthodontist to have their dental measurements taken and ensure consistency. Only when the patient feels right about the model they wear several times will the dentist send it for fabrication.
Dentists typically work with a dental lab to create dentures or implants since such establishments have the right equipment for manufacturing the devices. Once the lab receives the model, it carries out the following steps for acrylic resin dentures (the steps for other materials may be different):
- Using stock trays for the preliminary impression
- Creating custom trays and bite rims
- Mounting the master cast with an articulator
- Installing the teeth based on the prescribed scheme
- Adding wax to make the set look more natural
- Securing the set with plaster for flasking
- Formulating the acrylic resin mix
- Packing the acrylic resin mix into the flask
- Removing excess acrylic resin
- Final polishing for extra luster
Fabricating a dental implant base has become more manageable thanks to computer-assisted processes. A dentist with an intraoral optical scanner can generate a digital impression of the patient’s jawline and forward it to the fabricator. The screw base and abutment are then milled from solid blocks using computer-controlled machining.
Between the multiple appointments and the resources used for fabrication, it’s easy to see how denture implants cost as much as they do. The figures still exclude the fees for everything the dentist must do to install the denture or implant. Installing dental implants is more expensive because of the surgery involved in setting the parts in place.
Getting the exact cost of having dentures or dental implants is impossible due to the many factors involved. However, it’s safe to say that the price starts at four figures, increasing with the patient’s specific needs and the choice of materials for fabrication.
Given all this, the best way to minimize one’s need for any sort of dental device is by practicing good oral hygiene. But if you already require either dentures or implants, you can always consult your dental technician regarding the financing options you can look into.