What do dentures cost on the Gold Coast?
By an interested bystander
I’m not sure about you, but I like to know how much things cost, especially when it’s an important purchase like dentures. Some of us still know dentures as false teeth, but whatever we call them, the cost is always a pertinent issue. Most of us are time-pressed these days or overwhelmed by technology or by the range of choice when it comes to choosing the best value dentures.
So, when I was asked by a pensioner friend to do a little research on ‘how much dentures cost’, I thought the results might interest others. I decided to share what I found.
My research project
I began the project by calling six denture clinics and six dentists for quotes on the cost of a full upper denture and a partial lower denture with six teeth. All the businesses I contacted were situated in the Gold Coast region (Southport, Robina, Burleigh, Varsity) and Tweed Heads. See the following tables for the results. Quotes given for the cost of dentures were approximate, conditional upon the patient’s individual needs.
The lower partial denture quote
When asking for quotes on the lower partial denture, I nominated two main choices: a partial denture made of acrylic sometimes called a ‘plastic’ partial denture. Or a partial denture made of metal, also known as a chrome-cobalt partial denture. There was quite a cost disparity between the acrylic partial denture and the chrome partial denture.
The acrylic partial denture is a thicker appliance in the mouth and is more prone to breakage than the chrome partial denture. But in terms of the cost of dentures, it is also considerably cheaper. The chrome partial denture, on the other hand, is lighter, stronger and has a lesser presence in the mouth but it’s also more expensive.
So, I asked for two quotes: One for the cost of an acrylic partial lower denture and one for the cost of a partial lower denture made of metal or the chrome partial denture. You can have a choice of teeth quality, but I opted for the standard.
The full upper denture quote
How long does it take?
I also asked for an approximate time frame in which the dentures would be completed.
I have identified the dentists and denture clinics only by the regions in which they practice. In every case, I was impressed by the courtesy of each clinic I contacted.
Of course, there are always variables when making something as individual as dentures and most of the people I contacted emphasised this. But as closely as possible, I have compared apples with apples. Exceptions were the clinics who preferred to give me a ‘total package’ cost of dentures.
So, here is what I did:
Firstly, I contacted the denture clinics. I saw going directly to the manufacturer as expedient. I figured that when you get your dentures through your dentist they must send them on to a dental laboratory for manufacture anyway. A dental prosthetist is a specialist in fitting dentures. Because there were no complicating circumstances and teeth didn’t need to be removed, I thought taking this route preferable. But that’s just me. Of course, you must make your own mind up about this.
Why I insisted on Australian-made dentures
Another condition I imposed on the denture purchase was it must be Australian made. This narrowed the choices to denture clinics with their own laboratories. I wanted assurance they didn’t outsource their work overseas. The reason I insisted on this was my previous research revealed the lack of oversight by Australian regulatory bodies in overseas denture manufacture. The same Australian regulations with which all Australian denture manufacturers must comply. I admit to being shocked by this. I wanted to be sure of the safety of something worn in the mouth.
Some clinics send work overseas because the cost of dentures in Australia is sometimes greater than the dentures manufactured in places with fewer labour costs. All of the clinics I contacted said they manufactured in Australia.
Then, I contacted the dentists. Most referred me to denture clinics. One dentist acknowledged the specialist nature of making dentures and said that in the best interest of patients, it was more practical and time efficient to go straight to the prosthetist. I certainly agreed with that given my friend’s lack of mobility. Most dentists were specific in the choice of denture clinics, dealing with a particular clinic in close proximity to them, even offering to give me the denture clinic phone numbers. One dentist declined to recommend anyone suggesting I make my own choice.
How much do dentures cost on the Gold Coast?
When there were no teeth to be removed, dentists referred to prosthetists except for two dental surgeries who sent their work to a technician. They assured me the dentures were Australian made, however.
Quoting over the phone
Some denture clinics were reluctant to quote over the phone, citing the variabilities involved in treating patients. Each mouth and each patient’s circumstances are different. Most denture clinics agreed to give me a ‘ballpark’ figure but understandably emphasised a final quote would depend on them seeing the patient. Only one clinic refused to be drawn on a ballpark quote, so has not been included in the table.
Herein lies the dilemma. As a potential patient, I found this unwillingness to give a price range on denture cost unhelpful. I suppose as consumers we have become a little wary of being a ‘captive’ customer – once in the chair, we may make hasty decisions. I like to think about the costs without any pressure. I know the cost of dentures was a primary concern for my friend for whom the exercise was being done.
After denture cost, there were other considerations. My pensioner friend is not especially mobile so needs to shop around first. Traveling from clinic to clinic is not a practical option for him. Hence the reason for my phone research.
As far as denture cost comparisons go, you will note by the above table that there were price differences. When budgets are tight, one must consider every dollar. From cheapest to most expensive there was a considerable difference of $250 for the full upper acrylic denture and $250 for the lower partial acrylic denture. While the lower partial metal denture saw a price difference between clinics of $340.
Time frames were longer for partial lower metal dentures from 2 weeks to a month. However, acrylic full upper and partial lower dentures took between 1 and 2 weeks. The dentists compared favourably on price with the denture clinics. One dentist was cheaper than all the others on the lower partial acrylic denture.
Of course, it should be noted that price isn’t the only thing that I need to consider in my quest for the best dentures. Although, I came to realise the cost of dentures is a primary consideration for those on a pension or a fixed income. Proximity to home, accessibility, time frames for completion, follow up service, and clinic staff courtesy and professional qualifications are also important factors I intend to look into further.