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Old 12-20-2003, 05:32 PM   #1
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realignment of dentures. Questions!

I've been reading some of the threads about dentures and learning a lot of practical things but I need help for my mother in law, please! My MIL got full lower dentures about 2 months ago. Since getting her permanent dentures she has understandably needed them realigned as her gums heal. She has had them realigned 4 times now at $290 each time. Her total bill for these dentures, including 9 extractions, is in the neighborhood of $5000. Does this sound reasonable? It seems unusually excessive to me, but then again, its been many years since I worked for a dentist and I don't remember typical denture pricing any longer.
Is a realignment typically something that is charged separately each time?

 
Old 12-21-2003, 11:37 AM   #2
Yos Yos is offline
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Re: realignment of dentures. Questions!

Hi Bunny

I believe you've mixed up or misunderstood a few denture terms. From what you've described I'll assume that your MIL had her lower teeth extracted and the denture put in on the same visit. That would make the denture an immediate denture. When you say "realigned" I believe you mean a soft "reline" which is a hard rubbery filler put on the denture to make them fit better because of the gums shrinking.

As to what is normal practice with dentists and dentures, they all do things differently. They use different procedures that reach the same end. Some charge on a procedure by procedure basis. Some will charge one lump sum for the entire treatment plan. So to answer one of your questions, yes, billing per visit is a normal practice.

Now for the bad news. While treatment plans and costs vary, something is not right concerning the cost of your MIL's treatment. I'll add here that your MIL is not even near the end of her treatment yet. She still has about 4 more months of healing to go through and a new denture or hard relined denture to pay for (if it already isn't included in what she has paid for so far).

Here is approximately what your MIL would have paid for a complete treatment plan for lower dentures had she gone to Affordable Dentures (Binghamton NY fee schedule dated February 2003 and currently on their web site). Her circumstances may have been a little different but I don't think my guess is too far off.
1. initial consultation - $15
2. panoramic xray - $50
3. complex extractions - $90 each x 9 teeth = $810
(simple extractions are only $50 each)
4. temporary immediate full lower "economy" denture = $200
5. Adjustments - assume 4 at $15 = $60
6. Chairside (soft) reline $30 each x 4 relines = $120
7. permanent full lower "premium" denture = $420
(less expensive dentures are "economy" @ $200 or "Custom" @ $325)
Total cost $1675

Affordable Dentures is a discount chain. Personally, I wouldn't go to a discount chain for dentures but their pricing is public and fairly current for comparison purposes. I've used their higher end costs such as complex extractions vs simple extractions, "premium" vs "economy" dentures and all new "final" dentures vs hard relined immediate dentures. Costs at a normal dental practice will likely be higher than Affordable Dentures but shouldn't be anywhere near the $5000 you say your MIL has paid so far. The total cost for full mouth extractions (28-32 teeth) and complete dentures seems to average between $5000 and $6000 in the USA and Canada . Upper or lower dentures separately would be about half ($2500 to $3000). With only 9 extractions (and without any other complications) your MIL shouldn't have paid more than $2500 for lower dentures only.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have any other questions please ask.

Yos

 
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Old 12-21-2003, 04:49 PM   #3
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Re: realignment of dentures. Questions!

You've been very helpful, Yos. I always enjoy reading your posts. Thank you for the waving smiley face.

Okay, first off, I mistyped AND was inaccurate! She had an UPPER denture made. Second, looking at the list of fees you posted I've determined that her dentist (also my dentist) is really expensive. We've been suspecting that for some time but its very clear now. Part of our confusion re. the charges that she has paid is that she apparantly had 2 huge cavities filled and 1 2-surface one filled to the tune of $410. She also had her teeth cleaned, including the 10 (not 9) that were subsequently extracted. One extraction was $250, the others were $95 each. Not too out of line. $100 for a pulpotomy, although the same dentist does this for my husband routinely free of charge. And the killer - the dentist saved tooth #19 via a root canal and crown for $1820. MIL would keel right over if she knew that saving that one tooth has cost her that much. That makes the actual denture and relines to date a total of $2980, not too far off from your estimate. So see, you were helpful. I'm not quite as suspicious of the good dentist now. Hmmmm, although after my own last visit I did have another issue arise that I thought twice about. I'll post it under another topic.

 
Old 12-28-2003, 07:23 AM   #4
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Re: realignment of dentures. Questions!

Hi Bunny
I have an immediate denture (upper only) and will have a deluxe final denture in
about 4 months. I had seven extractions (2 complex). My dentist is charging me $2475 for the entire procedure. This includes unlimited relines, adjustments etc. My dentist is the best (and most expensive) in my town but this will give your MIL a ballpark figure of what her immediate and final should cost, in the Midwest anyway.
garyk

 
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