As if life isn’t challenging enough in these difficult corona virus times. Perhaps you’ve lost your job, you’re struggling to pay bills, to keep your life afloat and then … and then, you break your denture.
Or you discover you need a new one. Can things get any worse?
In this article we make suggestions for dealing with both scenarios: either broken dentures or having to get new dentures.
What are your options?
The most important thing for you to know is, you don’t have to be without teeth. If you have broken your denture, there is a good chance they can be mended. Denture repairs are a far cheaper option than replacing the denture. You might be wondering, should you have the repair done professionally by your denture clinic or maybe attempt it yourself? You may have reasoned the DIY option is cheaper. But will it really save you money in the long run? And what about your health?
The case for professional repairs
The cost of denture repairs
To replace lost teeth or mend cracked or broken dentures, your denture clinic uses products which must meet strict Australian standards. Trying to save money by attempting repairs at home could cost you more in the long run. Both in terms of your pocket and your health. You may be surprised by how reasonable it is to have your dentures professionally repaired.
Uncertain success of a DIY denture repair
The use of household glues to make repairs can harm the denture, damaging its structure and surfaces, and possibly shortening its life. It can also make the denture impossible to repair in the future. Moreover, because the layperson uses glues not specified for denture materials, the repair is likely to fail. Not all super glues are waterproof and can break down with saliva.
Compromising your health with a DIY denture repair
Even more concerning, household glues are toxic to human health. Remember, you are going to put the appliance back into your mouth. Would you risk sucking on something like super glue 12 hours a day? The soft tissues of your mouth are highly absorbent allowing for toxins to pass into the bloodstream and for the ingestion of toxins through the digestive tract.
Having your denture repaired
The first step is to make an appointment with your denture clinic. Many clinics offer same day denture repairs, so you won’t have to be without your teeth for long. Even if you have lost a tooth that has detached from the denture, most denture clinics keep good stock supplies so there is no waiting for replacement teeth. Cracks and other minor repairs may only take a few hours at most.
Supposing you’ve had teeth removed or lost, and need new dentures
You may have lost your dentures. Or perhaps your existing dentures are damaged beyond repair? In this case you may have to consider getting new ones. So where do you begin?
Things you need to know
Private Health Cover
If you are one of the lucky ones still covered by private health for major dental, ask your denture clinic for a quote and an estimate of your out of pocket costs. If equipped with a Hicaps facility, the denture clinic can tell you what rebates your health fund provides on the spot. This will allow you to budget for any gap payment.
It pays to shop around
Apply the same principals to shopping for a denture as you would if shopping for a major item like a car. Compare the prices and services offered by your oral health providers. Some denture clinics offer free first consultations and free no-obligation quotes, giving you an opportunity to find the best denture clinic for you with the least impact on your budget.
Even if you have consulted a dentist first, there is no reason not to seek other options to get the best value. Using a denture clinic effectively sidesteps the ‘middleman’ therefore reducing the cost. Dentists generally send their work out to dental laboratories, sometimes even overseas where cheaper labour costs and materials allow them to be more competitive. While this may be an attractive proposition at first glance, be aware that buying Australian offers you more protection. Australian made dentures are strictly regulated by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration. This not only ensures your health safety, but also that you will receive optimal quality which means less likelihood of breaks. Further, when your denture is made locally, you spend less time waiting for them.
But what if I don’t have private health insurance?
Foremost in your mind is how to pay for dentures if you’re struggling financially. There are a number of options to consider:
University Dental Schools
University dental schools operate patient clinics for all dental work including dentures, at affordable prices. This means you can assist the education of dental health students while accessing a complete range of oral health practitioners and services in one convenient location. For more information contact your nearest university.
In recognition of the hardships many people are facing during the CoVid19 crisis, the federal government is allowing people to extract up to $10,000 from their superannuation funds for the 2020/2021 financial period. Talk to your super fund for more information.
Whether paying for repairs to your dentures, or purchasing new dentures, payment can be arranged over a manageable period. There are many options for taking advantage of this. Ask your denture clinic to explain how to access denture payment plans. Alternatively, some clinics allow their patients to pay by instalments over a set period of time.
The New South Wales government issues denture vouchers to eligible patients for new dentures. Patients are assessed by a government appointed dentist who determines course of treatment and suitable denture type. Acrylic dentures and sometimes chrome dentures are available under this scheme. However, this may not be a suitable course of action for patients needing dentures immediately due to long waiting times.
The Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) offers those holding a (DVA) Health Card – All Conditions (Gold) or Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (Gold), fully-funded dental services to meet a clinical need which is covered by the DVA dental program. Suitability for treatment under this scheme is at the prosthetist’s discretion.
For unemployed Gold Coast residents
Life often presents us with emergencies when we are least able to pay. In times of sickness, homelessness, and financial hardship, the Gold Coast Community Fund can offer a helping hand to Gold Coast residents in need. While this applies only to Gold Coast residents, a call to your local member may uncover similar organisations in your particular locality.
Established by the Gold Coast’s business and community leaders by raising funds from art unions and donations, the Gold Coast Community Fund assists qualifying charity organisations and individuals in dire need. Each application is vetted on a case-by-case basis, then submitted for committee review.
Use one of the three methods outlined below to make a grant application: by online, by email, or by post.
The fund suggests the online form method is the most expedient. Simply fill in the online form and attach supporting evidence at https://gccommunityfund.org/AppForms/apply-for-assistance/
Email the Appeals Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gold Coast Community Fund
PO Box 5935
GCMC Qld 9726
Reassurance for cheaper products
While you may aspire to the best quality denture available, your unemployment status could mean you have no capacity to afford them. However, choosing a cheaper option does not mean accepting poorer quality. Stringent Australian standards are imposed to protect the consumer. When you buy Australian, the difference in cost may simply translate as aesthetic differences in the denture you purchase. Buying Australian means the denture you purchase will compare favourably to the more expensive options in terms of safety, durability, and fit. This can’t be guaranteed if your denture is manufactured overseas, however. In addition, repairing dentures made overseas is often problematic.
A final word
Denture emergencies can be resolved even when you’re facing difficult financial times. Take time to shop around and become informed about the best options for you. You don’t have to be without teeth, even when you’re unemployed.
Northern Rivers Denture Clinic is located in the heart of Tweed Heads, southern Gold Coast. Finally have the smile you deserve with handcrafted, quality dentures.