In a perfect world, everyone’s natural teeth would stay healthy and strong for their entire lifetime. But the fact is, full dentures, or some other form of false teeth, are a reality for many.
Fortunately, they don’t have to be nearly as unpleasant or expensive as many often believe. Modern technology has increased the quality of many forms of dentures while making them much more wallet-friendly.
False teeth come in many different forms and several materials. All have their own strengths and weaknesses. Follow along, and we’ll discuss all the different types of false teeth, let you know how much false teeth cost, and give you everything else you need to know on the subject.
Types of Dentures
While many people think of dentures as one, singular thing, there are actually many different alternatives to false teeth. Let’s take a look at some of the different false teeth options and the pros and cons of each.
When people think of dentures, what comes to mind for most is traditional complete dentures. If you’re missing all your teeth for whatever reason, full dentures are among the best solutions.
Complete dentures are a full set of false teeth, affixed to a plate which is fitted to your gums to remain solidly in your mouth. The “gum” part of the dentures extends far enough away from your teeth so that the gap isn’t visible when you smile. Typically, complete dentures look like natural teeth.
However, over time, the shape of your jaw subtly shifts. After a few years, the fit of your dentures will change, and they will become loose. You shouldn’t expect a set of complete dentures to last for more than ten years.
- Complete coverage of all teeth
- Realistic cosmetic appearance
- Fit changes; need to get a new set every few years
- Not a permanent solution
When you still have some healthy, natural teeth, but need coverage over a stretch of several teeth, partial dentures are the perfect solution. Just like complete dentures, these removable false teeth are shaped by a dentist but are designed to clip onto existing teeth.
Metal clasps attach your partial dentures to the real teeth on either side. Surprisingly, that means partial dentures can be more conspicuous and noticeable than complete dentures. The clasps can be made from tooth-coloured enamel material rather than metal, but those clasps aren’t as strong.
- Solidly affixed to surrounding teeth
- Can last longer than complete dentures
- More cosmetically conspicuous than some false teeth alternatives
While traditional complete and partial dentures are removable and impermanent, implant-supported dentures are false teeth that will be permanently fixed in your mouth.
Dental implants – replacement tooth roots that are attached to your jaw – support these dentures. Implant-supported dentures are permanently fixed in place. So, while traditional dentures eventually wear down under the pressure of eating, the implants absorb the pressure in this case.
In each jaw, four to six implants are typically attached. A metal bar spans all the implants, and the dentures are attached to that bar. Implant-supported dentures are a more extreme measure, but as permanent false teeth, they are also more sustainable.
- More of a long-term solution
- Dental implants absorb the impact of chewing
- Not removable
- Pricier than some alternatives
Immediate dentures, also known as short-term dentures, are false teeth that patients can use over a smaller time frame while in between longer-term solutions.
If you lose a tooth, it will take time to prepare a more permanent solution. It could take several weeks to a month for the extraction site to heal; if you don’t want to walk around with gaps in your smile, immediate dentures are an excellent solution during that intervening time.
Immediate dentures are quickly fitted immediately after the initial procedure, and you can wear them out of the dentist’s office that day. However, because of the way your gums and jaw changes during the healing process, they will quickly become uncomfortable.
- Instant coverage
- Allows extraction site to heal
- Become uncomfortable in a short period of time
Typical Price of False Teeth
So now you know the strengths and weaknesses of different types of false teeth. But how much do they cost? That depends on the type of false teeth you get, and the dental coverage you have.
The NHS has three pricing bands that cover every service they offer. False teeth fall under Band 3, the most expensive tier. NHS Band 3 procedures cost £269.30 – this is a one-time fee, each time you get a new set of false teeth. You’ll likely have to pay it once every five to ten years with traditional dentures.
However, that fee includes the entire procedure. If you get several extractions and then a set of partial dentures, for example, you would only have to pay the £269.30 once.
Unfortunately, the NHS only offers a narrow variety of false teeth. They do not provide implants; you’ll only be able to get traditional dentures with an acrylic base. If you aren’t eligible for NHS treatment, or if you want different varieties of false teeth, you’ll have to look for a private dentist.
Where the NHS has one standardised cost for false teeth and all related procedures, the cost of false teeth with a private dentist varies dramatically. With a private dentist, the price will be determined by the number of false teeth you need, the material you choose, and the dentist themselves.
If you only need a few false teeth, you might actually save money relative to NHS – the most basic denture coverage starts around £200. But if you need complete dentures, that certainly costs more. A full mouth of flexible dentures could cost up to £1,500. Full metal dentures will cost somewhere around £2,500.
One of the most significant advantages of private dentistry is that implant-supported dentures are available. These permanent false teeth cost a substantial amount upfront, but as they won’t have to be replaced frequently like traditional dentures, that could lead to some savings long term.
Implant dentures typically cost about £1,000 per implant. So a full mouth of implant-supported dentures would come out to be about £8,000. But those are the most sustainable long-term option.
How Long Do Dentures Last?
When you are spending significant money on a product, you want to know how long it will last. The fact is, with false teeth, that depends on the type of denture, quality of the work, and the degree to which you care for them.
Implant-supported dentures will last the longest by stabilising the changing shape of your jaw and bearing the brunt of the impact of chewing. They should last at least a decade, and if you care for them properly, they can last up to 20 years.
Immediate dentures are on the opposite extreme. They are meant to be temporary solutions while you wait for more long-lasting false teeth. Traditional dentures, on the other hand, should last for at least five years. And, if properly cared for, they can last for up to ten years.
But, no matter what you do, traditional dentures will become loose over time as the shape of your jaw changes. If your dentures are properly cared for, you might only need a re-fitting of your current pair. However, if you have traditional dentures, it’s best to budget for a new set every five to ten years.