So how much should good dentures cost?

The quick answer?  I don’t know! I can tell you this though, anyone who does quote you a fee without first getting to know you – your dental history, your goals, your current condition – either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care about providing you with personalized custom denture care.
At the risk of getting too high on my soap box, let me just say that one of the huge problems we dentists have created for ourselves and our patients is the “commoditization” of our profession – allowing insurance companies to promote the idea that all dentures, crowns, extractions, root canals, or whatever, are the same and should therefore cost the same.
If you go down to your local store and purchase an XYZ microwave, it is reasonable to expect it to be exactly the same as an XYZ microwave from any other store, and therefore you should not suffer any loss by purchasing from the store with the lowest price.  Not true with dental care!  The number one cause of dissatisfaction with denture care is the attempt by dentists to treat all patients the same.  It started because insurance companies, who don’t know a thing about making dentures, want to pay the same low fee for everyone.  And now for many dentists it has become “standard operating procedure” too.
So when I say that a good denture can cost anywhere from $500 to $15,000, I’m not trying to be funny or evasive.  A good denture really can vary that much depending on a  whole host of variables.  And the only way to honestly be more specific is for me to sit down with and get to know you – examine you mouth, hear what you’ve tried in the past, know what problems you may or may not be experiencing, and learn what your treatment goals are.  Then and only then can I, or any other dentist that really cares, give you an accurate idea of what your investment might be.
That’s the main reason we periodically offer a significant new patient credit – so people can come in and we can get to know each other with minimal to no financial risk.  So if you are considering dentures and are looking for affordable but not “cheap”, give me a call. I’d love to get to know you.

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Do you need dental implants?

14 reasons you should consider dental implants for you dentures.

Loose dentures
Chronic sore spots
Unacceptable chewing

These are just some of the reasons patients are now flocking to have dental implants placed.  Although a well made denture with custom engineered bilateral balance will certainly help and often eliminate these problems, there are still situations where even the most well made denture still just doesn’t cut it.  This is especially true with patients who have –

Excessive jaw bone deterioration
Shallow palatal vaults
Short ridges
high lip attachment
uncontrollable gagging
loose or thin gum tissue
irregular “lumpy” jaw bone

Any of these complications can potentially cause problems that only dental implants will resolve.
For those of you who are unacquainted with them, dental implants are basically special crews, usually titanium, that are placed in the jaw bone, extend through the gum tissue, and then have various dental appliances attached to them.  In the case of dentures, the most common use is to have snaps placed on the implant that then fit into receiving snaps that are place inside the denture.
Originally cost limited the availability of dental implants to just the more wealthy patients.  But as with all new technology, innovation and competition have combined to drive prices down to where high quality implants are now affordable to anyone who is seriously interested.
There are also some other advantages to having implant supported dentures that even people with no current problems should consider.

Prevent osseous deterioration – From the moment your tooth is pulled, your jaw bone starts to dissolve away. This is a major problem leading to pain, difficulty, and risk of jaw fracture that just continues to get worse as one gets older.  Implants prevent this.
Fix LD dysfunction – As good as I am at denture fabrication, I have never seen a conventional lower denture that I would consider satisfactory. Because of the shape of the lower jaw, it is impossible to get enough suction to hold them firmly in place.  Also, because the lower jaw is so much smaller than the upper, the chewing pressure (pounds per square inch) is nearly four time that of the upper jaw.  This makes the lower jaw more susceptible to painful sores, loose bone faster, and means lower dentures are always loose.  Implants solve these problems.
Restore maxillary gustation – The roof of your mouth contains an enormous number of taste buds that get covered up with conventional dentures. Implants in your upper jaw mean that denture can now be horseshoe shaped more like a lower one thus uncovering all those taste buds and allowing you to really taste your food again!  This is also gives your tongue more room making these less intrusive dentures feel much more natural.

So for anyone suffering from difficult to fix denture pain or looseness, anyone wanting to chew better, or anyone wanting to prevent those inevitable problems from developing, dental implants may be the perfect solution.

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Anatomy of a Premium Denture

How to recognize a premium from a run-of-the-mill denture.
Ever wonder why some dentures look better and last longer than others?  Why some cost more than others? And how you can tell whether you’re getting your money’s worth.  Well, by the time you finish reading this article you’ll know.
Perhaps the quickest way to spot a top quality premium denture is to ask about the warranty.  Any well-made denture should come with at least a 2-3 year warranty against breakage under normal use.  No denture will withstand being run over by a Mack truck, or being dropped on a tile floor for that matter.  But under normal use 2-3 years is not too much to expect.  With premium materials though, that can actually be extended clear out to a whopping ten years!  So “What is the warranty” should be one of your first questions.
What are the materials that make such a long warranty possible?  First of all is a metal, usually chrome-cobalt, internal reinforcing framework.  One of the most common ways dentures fail is to crack or break in half.  Keeping the denture well-fitting through timely relines definitely helps prevent this.  But nothing works better than placing some beefy “rebar” to strengthen a denture.
The other common failure point is simple attrition or wearing out of the teeth, especially in those who have a tendency to clench or grind their teeth.  Most dentures are usually made with relatively inexpensive acrylic teeth, often called “classic” teeth.  Mid-grade teeth are made with so called hardened acrylic, IPN would be an example, that offer improved wear resistance.  The most wear resistant teeth though are made of good old-fashioned porcelain.  I’ve seen 30 year old dentures with  porcelain teeth that certainly didn’t fit any more, had been broken and repaired several times, but the teeth themselves looked nearly as good as the day they were made.
A word of caution though.  Porcelain teeth will be more prone to break if dropped on a hard surface like tile or concrete.  There is also some suspicion that jaw bones may deteriorate or “dissolve” a bit faster under porcelain than with acrylic teeth.  However, the research on that is inconclusive as bone loss is always a problem under any denture.  Implants are the only way to predictably control that.  Another slight complication with porcelain teeth is that they can be more prone to “clack” than will acrylic teeth.  This is most noticeable with dentures that are loose or that have been made too long so that they bang together when speaking or eating.  This though is easily managed through our custom engineering and test denture process.  I’ve described that in pretty good detail in another article so I’ll let you go there to learn what that is all about.
Finally, all well-made premium dentures will be meticulously and artistically finished to avoid the normal unsightly “denture gums” that broadcast to everyone that you are wearing dentures.  All natural gum tissue has a wavy surface caused by the bulges formed by the roots of natural teeth.  This is called festooning.  In addition, natural gums are covered with tiny pits or pores, kind of like an orange peel called stippling.  Nothing screams “DENTURES! DENTURES!” louder than a perfectly smooth highly polished denture, and any premium denture will avoid this with a natural looking stippled and festooned surface.
So now you know what to look for when nothing but the best will do.

Extended warranty
Metal reinforcement
Porcelain teeth
Bilaterally balanced engineering
Diagnostic testing
Natural finishing

Of course none of these features are worth anything if the denture doesn’t fit well and feel comfortable, but it would be a pretty good bet that any dentist that cares enough to make dentures like this will also have the skill and concern needed to deliver the whole premium package like we do with our Master Dentures.

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Denture Choices

With all the different choices and prices out there, it can be quite a challenge deciding which option is going to be best for you.  However, for those who are equally interested in quality and value, we have simplified the options down to two basic choices – what we call Custom and Master denture styles.
One of the potential problems with denture fabrication is that there is as much art in making a denture as there is science.  And just as with a museum piece, tastes and opinions are going to vary.  In other works, there is a chance you might not like the same look as we do.  So part of the process in making our CUSTOM DENTURE involves placing the denture in your mouth while it is still in the wax stage and letting you decide what looks good.  At this point we can make the teeth straighter, more crooked, longer, shorter, whiter, darker, bigger, or smaller.  Once we get your “OK”, and not until, we go ahead and finish them just like that.
The really unique feature of our Custom Denture though is how we design your bite.  Most dentures are made with a standard bite, meaning that when new, the teeth fit together like gears; the tips of the top fitting into the grooves of the bottom and visa versa.  As long as you bite straight up and down this works fine.  If, on the other hand, your jaw gets off center when you bite, the tips will bang against each other knocking the denture loose.  When this happens the temptation will be to think that the denture doesn’t fit properly, which may not be the case at all.  Chewing straight up and down is not natural for most of us and is part of the adaptation process required with most new dentures, whether it’s your first or your tenth, and lasts until you finally wear them down which can take years!
In contrast, with our Custom Dentures, we are able to avoid most of this bite adaptation by taking the time to custom engineer the slopes of each tooth to match the unique slopes of your own jaw joints.  What this means in practical terms is that you can now move your jaw much farther from side to side before knocking the dentures loose.  Because of this from the very begining they feel more natural, chew better, last longer, and are less stressful to your jaw joints than conventional dentures would be.
But as good as all this is, we can actually step it up even further with our MASTER DENTURES.  With these, the first big difference is that we start with making you a test denture that you can actually take home for a trial run; test them out, see how they feel when you eat, get more feed-back on how they look, then come back and tell us what if anything you want to change.  At that point we’ll fix whatever you want, and then let you take them out for another test run.  And we’ll keep doing this as many times as necessary until you are completely satisfied.  Of course we also custom engineer the bite like we talked about with a Custom Denture.
When finished, this test denture then becomes the model that we use to fabricate your final Master Denture.  It also functions as a backup denture that you can wear whenever your Master Denture is in for a “tune-up”.  This is what gives us the confidence to be able to offer our unconditional Satisfaction Guarantee!
The other thing that makes our Master Dentures stand out is the 10 Year Warranty that we offer with them.  This is possible not only because of all the extra design work we put into it with the test denture process, but also because of the top-of-the-line materials we put into them – including a chrome-cobalt metal framework that practically eliminates any possibility of fracturing, as well as porcelain teeth that wear way longer than even the best acrylic teeth.
And don’t forget about our Best Price Guarantee; we promise to beat or match any local price on similar quality dentures. Period. No exceptions.

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