There’s no doubt that good oral health is essential, but many seniors require dentures to live life to the fullest. Unfortunately, if you’ve begun looking into the costs of dentures, you’ve likely noticed something: Finding affordable dentures for senior citizens can be challenging, especially for people on a fixed income.
The key to finding the right option for you is to determine whether or not you need dentures, figure out your price point, and explore your financing options:
Do You Need Them?
There are many benefits to using dentures. They can help with chewing food, speaking clearly, and bolstering your self-esteem. Unsure if you need to invest in a denture? Consider the following:
- Are your teeth in poor health? If you constantly suffer from toothaches, have red and swollen gums, or have loose, brittle teeth due to gum disease, it may be time to begin using either full or partial dentures. It’s not good for your health to simply wait for the situation to get worse. Consult a professional to determine if dentures are right for you.
- Do you have trouble chewing food? Some of the issues above might make it difficult to eat. If you are missing teeth, it can become difficult to move food around your mouth and adequately chew your food. A key sign that you’re not chewing enough is indigestion—it’s your stomach’s way of saying you may need dentures.
- Are you ashamed of your smile? We each have unique smiles, but poor oral health can lead to a great deal of discomfort when it makes you unhappy with your appearance. While the cosmetic benefits of dentures are arguably less important, there’s no doubt that a brighter set of teeth can make you feel more confident.
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, it might be time to look into dentures. Let’s examine the financial costs of dentures:
The Cost of Dentures
In order to maintain your quality of life and ensure you can continue to have an attractive smile, dentures are necessary—especially if the cost of getting dental implants is too high (approximately $2,000 per tooth). While dentures might be more affordable than implants, they aren’t cheap.
Let’s compare the approximate prices, as listed by Bankrate. Low-cost dentures for seniors cost anywhere from $600 to $1,000 for a set. However, these are made of plastic and tend to look very artificial. They also won’t last as long as premium models. Natural-looking, heat-cured dentures made out of resin go for about $1,000 to $3,000, and they tend to last longer. Top-tier models can easily exceed $4,000 in cost, though they’re usually extensively customized to suit each user.
If those costs have you furrowing your brow, there’s some bad news: Professionals suggest that dentures should only last anywhere from 5 to 10 years, with cheaper models often lasting for fewer years. Even if you select the most inexpensive model, just two decades worth of dentures can set you back approximately $2,500 over the long haul.
These statistics beg the question: Where should you look for more affordable dentures and financing options?
Options for Free/Low-Cost Dentures
Seeking out financing for dental work is an option if you need dentures but don’t have the money to afford them. From dental insurance to requesting a personal loan to fund dental treatment, there are many ways to finance your next set of dentures.
If you have an urgent need for them, keep in mind that personal loans are often the fastest way to get the funding necessary. Credit cards can also be used to quickly finance dental work. Finally, some dental offices offer in-house payment plans, though they are very rare.
Just keep in mind that you don’t want to accrue more debt than you can manage.
Of course, before seeking out financial help, take a look at your existing dental insurance plan, if applicable. If you have dental insurance, you should thoroughly investigate the extent of your coverage. If you have a flexible spending account, it may also be used for any dental costs. Note that Medicaid pays for certain oral care procedures if they are medically necessary. There are also options for dentures for seniors on Medicare.
If these options still leave dentures out of your price range, it may be worth looking into whether you qualify for free dentures for seniors—or at least denture help for low-income seniors—from charitable organizations. For instance, The Special Care Dentistry Association provides special or emergency dental care for people with special needs.
Some universities and dental schools offer free or low-cost dental care. Contact institutions near you to check if you are eligible. If you’d like to be connected with government assistance programs in your state, check out the Foundation for Health Coverage Education’s website here.
Once you’ve gotten the right dentures for your needs, your quality of life will improve dramatically. You’ll be able to eat, talk, and smile with confidence. Just don’t forget to take care of your new dentures!