My mom has broken her dentures. She is on both medicare and...

Dara asked...

My mom has broken her dentures. She is on both Medicare and Medicaid, but neither will cover the cost of replacing them for her. I am a single mother who is laid off so I can't afford them for her. What can we do?

Expert Answer

Dr. David Blende, DDS, has more than 20 years' experience providing comprehensive dental care. His practice, the Blende Dental Group, serves the phobic, disabled, geriatric, and medically compromised communities through sleep dentistry. A division of his practice, Bay Area House Call Dentists, delivers dental services to senior communities and private homes in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The least expensive option for a set of broken dentures is a denture repair. The type of repair depends on the extent of the damage: fractured denture teeth can be replaced and additional teeth may be added after a recent extraction of a natural tooth. A repair for dentures broken in several places may not be a viable or long-term solution; therefore fabrication of a new set of dentures is necessary. In July 2009, Medicaid redefined the benefits for patients requiring dentures making some patients ineligible. Dental schools fabricate dentures usually at a lower cost, but due to the overwhelming demand many patients wait on a waitlist for several months or more.

The second option is to seek the skills of a denturist if they are licensed to practice in your state. A denturist is not a licensed dentist. However he/she is licensed to make impressions, perform repairs, and fabricate dentures often at a lesser cost. Finally, if these options are exhausted, one must set a priority of the cost of making new dentures over other "necessities." It is important to make health a greater priority for example over a new tattoo or a new dog or cat. The ability to enjoy his/her favorite foods in accordance with a balanced diet not only improves the health of the patient, but also their quality of life.