Dental prostheses: costs, types & options at a glance

Why are third teeth actually such a taboo? We shed light on a topic that affects almost all of us sooner or later. There is a lot to learn about the different types of dentures - not to mention the process, costs, types & risks!

Medizinisch geprüft - Siegel
by dentist Dr. Jens Gottschalk


The most important information in a nutshell

Why do I need dental prostheses at all?

People need different types of dental prostheses or tooth replacements at any age. For example, if you suffer from a disease such as periodontitis or caries, which can lead to tooth loss if left untreated, or if you have lost one or more teeth in an accident, then you will need dentures even at a young age.

Even if your partner knocked out your front tooth during boxing training, you probably don't ask yourself this question: In this case, it is simply a question of aesthetics, among other things. But what if a molar tooth is missing that is not visible anyway? Even then, it makes sense to replace the missing teeth. Otherwise, your chewing function may be limited, the teeth may shift or problems with the jaw joint may arise. The formation of sounds can also suffer from missing teeth. It is best to consult a dentist you trust and, if in doubt, get several opinions.

We would like to answer the types of dentures as well as the procedures, costs and risks involved in treatment with the help of the 11 most frequently asked questions on the subject - so that you are best prepared for your new teeth!

What types of dental prostheses are there and what is an implant?

If you are looking for a suitable dental prosthesis, you will first be confronted by numerous options. Depending on the individual case, there are different types of dentures - the procedure, costs and risks also differ with each treatment. Which tooth replacement options are suitable for you can therefore be very different. We have compiled a brief overview for you:

Fixed dentures

Fixed dentures include partial dental crowns, fill dental crowns and dental bridges.

Removable dental prostheses

Unlike fixed dental prostheses, removable dentures are not firmly attached to your natural teeth. There are not only the classic dentures, i.e. a complete denture when there are no teeth left at all, but also different types of partial dentures.

A distinction is made between purely removable partial dentures and so-called combined fixed-removable dentures. Such restorations are always used when too many of your own teeth have been lost and fixed bridges are therefore no longer possible.

Purely removable dentures hold on to your natural teeth with clasps.

Combined dental prostheses

In addition to fixed dental prostheses and removable dentures, there is also a combination of the two.

In the case of combined fixed-removable partial dentures, they are connected to your teeth via different types of special dental crowns. This gives them much greater stability in the mouth greatly increases the comfort of wearing and chewing.

These dentures include, for example, the telescopic dental prosthesis, the attachment dental prosthesis, the bar dental prothesis and the push-button dental prosthesis.

But all removable or combined dentures have one thing in common: even if they have not been in the water glass overnight for a long time, they must be removed from the mouth at least twice a day for brushing.

Dental crowns, dentures, implants, etc. - What are the advantages and disadvantages of dental prostheses?

A suitable dental prosthesis can be a great relief. However, it is not always easy to decide between the different types and there are often so many options that it is easy to lose track.

That's why we want to give you a little help here in making your decision:

The after-effects and advantages of dentures at a glance:

  • Feels better than the removable version.
  • Is well anchored and cannot slip or fall out - for example, when eating.
  • Usually looks better, almost indistinguishable from real teeth.
  • With the dental bridge, healthy teeth have to be ground for the insertion. These are damaged as a result.
  • Implants are very expensive and have to be paid for by the patient, depending on the insurance.
  • Cost absorption by the health insurance.
  • Fast and unproblematic production.
  • Dentures slip easily and therefore often require adhesive cream.
  • Impede eating and sometimes speaking.
  • Do not feel like real teeth.
  • A clasp prosthesis is usually paid for by the health insurance.
  • Here, too, the fitting is relatively quick and uncomplicated.
  • Visually, this does not come close to the fixed denture.
  • The clasp denture has visible connecting elements.

What dental implant materials are available?

The only materials commonly used for dental implants today are ceramic and titanium. The latter is the most common.

  • Titanium is generally well tolerated by the body and no allergies are known. In addition, titanium is very durable.
  • White ceramics (or rather zinc oxide ceramics), on the other hand, are mainly convincing due to their optical advantages.

Both titanium and ceramic are bioinert. This means that they are not recognized by the bone as foreign bodies. This property is critically important for them to grow firmly into your jawbone. Once this has happened, implants can be used like your own teeth in the provision of dentures.

What is the procedure for a dental implant?

Patients usually have many questions about how the dental implant treatment process works. For the patient, this is not much different from other operations. You have to go through these stages for your new teeth:

  1. During a preliminary consultation with the dentist, you will be informed about your options.
  2. This is followed by a complete examination of your dentition, during which it is determined, for example, whether there is sufficient jawbone or whether there is an inflammation that needs to be treated before the implantation.
  3. Now your implant procedure is planned - usually with the help of 3D technology. You will also receive a cost overview of your treatment.
  4. On the day of the operation, the implant is usually inserted painlessly under local anesthesia, but nitrous oxide or a general anesthetic are also possible after consultation.
  5. During the operation, a hole is drilled in your jaw in the place where the implant will later be placed, which corresponds exactly to the shape of the implant. The implant is then inserted there. The surgical wound is then sutured tightly and the implant can grow together with your jawbone undisturbed in the coming months.
  6. During the first days after the operation, you must refrain from nicotine, alcohol, coffee, and exhausting sports. Moderate exercise is allowed.
  7. In rare cases, complications may occur after the treatment. For example, the area around the implant and the jawbone can become inflamed - this is called peri-implantitis. If you feel pain, even years after the operation, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.

How much do dental prostheses cost?

Do you brush your teeth thoroughly every day and regularly go for professional dental cleaning and check-ups? Nevertheless, sooner or later your teeth may be damaged to such an extent that you need dental prostheses. What are the options then? What do dental crowns, dental bridges, and implants cost? What does the public health insurance cover and how high is your own contribution to dental prostheses? We will clarify these questions below.

The cost of dental prostheses is determined by several factors. Depending on which tooth is missing, how healthy your remaining teeth are, which material is used, and which laboratory is chosen, several thousand euros can quickly add up.

Dental prostheses come in different forms: Dental crowns and implants are considered fixed prostheses. The cost is around €1,300 for a single crown and up to €3,400 for an implant. If you need additional bone augmentation in the jaw before treatment, it will be even more expensive.

Telescopic dentures and full dentures are removable dental prostheses and cost up to €850, depending on the model. You have not been very careful with your oral hygiene in the past and would like to have completely new teeth made? The costs for this are open - but you should expect at least €20,000 for a complete dental restoration with implants.

Denture type


Crown (ceramic)

750 - 950 € per tooth

Crown (gold)

900 - 1.250 € per tooth

Dental implant

1.800 - 3.400 € per tooth

Bone augmentation for implant

1.300 - 3.200 €

Bridge three-unit (ceramic)

1.900 - 2.500 €

Bridge three-unit (gold)

2.300 - 2.700 €

Full denture

500 - 850 € per jaw

Are dental prostheses paid for by health insurance?

If you have public health insurance and need to have missing or diseased teeth replaced, your first question will probably be whether your health insurance will cover the cost of dentures. In principle, the public health insurance only covers basic medical care. If you have pain when chewing or if there is a threat of serious dental and jaw problems due to your missing teeth, the dental prosthesis is considered medically necessary. In this case, you will receive a fixed allowance for dental prostheses from your health insurance.

After the diagnosis, the dentist must prepare a treatment and cost plan for you, which you must submit to the health insurance company. Your health insurance usually covers about half of the average cost of this basic medical care. You usually have to pay the rest out of your own pocket. A higher fixed subsidy and thus a lower personal contribution is usually only available if you can show a complete bonus booklet or if the hardship regulation applies to you, for example because you are a Hartz IV recipient.

Attention: Fixed allowance only for basic restoration

The fixed allowance is generally only paid for basic medical care, i.e. for the most favorable care of your teeth. However, the inexpensive standard treatment is rarely the best solution for your smile - and not the most beautiful either.

It is always only a part of the total costs incurred. Depending on the type of dental prosthesis and your wishes and ideas, these can be several times the amount of the health insurance subsidy. It can therefore be worthwhile to take out supplementary dental insurance, with which you can significantly reduce the co-payment costs of dental prostheses.

If you want higher-quality dental fillings, an aesthetic ceramic bridge or crown, or even a visually inconspicuous dental implant, you always have to pay the additional costs yourself. This is where supplementary dental insurance comes into play: depending on the tariff selected, it compensates for the lack of protection provided by the statutory health insurance and pays for the additional private medical services at the dentist. You no longer have to worry about the financial burden of high-quality dentures.

How much is the fixed allowance for a dental crown?

If a tooth is extensively damaged, for example because a significant part has broken off or is affected by caries, the dentist will probably recommend a crown as a tooth replacement. This is a kind of shell that is placed partially or completely around the damaged tooth - dentists distinguish between a full dental crown and a partial crown. People with statutory health insurance receive a fixed allowance for standard care, i.e. for the most favorable option of having a crown made. The fixed allowance is currently 60% of the treatment costs. If the patient keeps a bonus book for five years, the fixed allowance is 70%, and after ten years it is 75%.

If the tooth to be crowned lies within the mouth in the visible area, there is an additional allowance for a lip-side ceramic, i.e. for a veneer. Public health insurance also pays a subsidy for an additional post anchorage. If you qualify for the hardship provision, public health insurance will cover up to 100% of the costs for a medically necessary crown. However, the treatment and cost plan must be approved by public health insurance before treatment. Depending on which tooth must be crowned, whether you can show a complete bonus booklet and whether the hardship regulation applies to you, the total subsidy for a dental crown is currently up to € 429.96.

What does public health insurance pay for implants?

Implants belong to the fixed dental prostheses: artificial tooth roots are anchored in the jawbone, which are fitted with dental crowns or bridges. This form of tooth replacement is both visually and functionally indistinguishable from natural teeth and is therefore very popular - but also expensive. The cost of a high-quality dental implant with a titanium root and ceramic crown is usually between €1,800 and €3,400.

Public health insurance does not normally cover this treatment. It only subsidizes the dental prosthesis on the implant as part of the standard care. All other costs, including regular check-ups and prescribed medication, are borne by the patient. Only in justified exceptional cases, for example if less expensive dentures are impossible due to severe jaw defects, does public health insurance fund dental implants.

What does the health insurance pay for dental bridges?

A dental bridge is used to close gaps between teeth. Natural, healthy teeth or implants are used as "abutments" to provide support for the bridge in the jaw. The dental bridge then replaces the missing tooth or teeth - it can be fixed or removable. Since dental bridges are part of the standard dental therapy, public health insurance contributes to the costs with a fixed subsidy: without a bonus booklet, the subsidy amounts to about half of the total costs. The amount depends, among other things, on the position of the bridge, the material used, and how good or bad the overall condition of the dentition is. A three-unit bridge restoration with zirconia can cost as much as €3,000.

Dental prostheses FAQs

Dental prostheses are intended to replace missing teeth and ensure that, for example, your chewing function is fully restored. The costs depend on the form of the dental prosthesis, the desired material, the laboratory costs and the difficulty of the procedure. Your dentist's treatment and cost plan will provide information about the costs.

In the case of dental treatment, public health insurance fund only grants fixed subsidies for the standard treatment. It covers 50 percent of this. If you want more services, the fixed allowance remains unaffected and you have to pay even more out of your own pocket.

The private health insurance ensures you high-quality services at the dentist. For dental prostheses, you can get up to 100 percent of the costs reimbursed. If you have statutory health insurance, you can close the gaps in benefits provided by public health insurance with private supplementary dental insurance.

Which type of dental prosthesis is right for you depends entirely on your individual case. Do you place more value on appearance and comfort than on cost? Then an implant is probably the best solution for you. Weigh up what your priorities are and get comprehensive advice. Always keep in mind that your teeth will not come back: Your third teeth will probably stay for the rest of your life.

If you are over 18 years old, you should be eligible for dental prostheses. If you are younger, your bone growth may not yet be complete. This usually takes a little longer for men than for women. So if you are only in your early 20s, the completion of growth must be confirmed by x-rays. This is especially important when deciding to have implants fitted. Otherwise, they can significantly interfere with the growth of the affected area of your jaw.

If there is a gap between the teeth for a long time, it is possible that the jawbone will recede because it is no longer loaded. Periodontitis and other inflammations can also cause the jawbone to recede. If you decide to have one or more implants placed in such a case, it may be necessary to strengthen or widen the jawbone in the affected area so that the implants can grow stably there. Both the patient's own bone and artificial bone can be used for this purpose. The dentist will examine this and discuss the exact procedure with you during the consultation.

During your consultation, you will not only be informed about types of dental prostheses and the procedure, costs and risks of treatment, but you will also have to answer questions yourself. These include your pre-existing conditions, as these can affect your suitability for different types of dentures. Usually, no disease prevents treatment, but it can make it more complicated or expensive.

Diseases that you should inform your dentist about include osteoporosis, hemophilia, cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, or a weakened immune system. If you have ever had to take bisphosphonates, this is also important information for your dentist. Allergies to the materials used are also relevant and should be clarified beforehand.

Unfortunately, for those with public health insurance, a dental implant is associated with costs. Although dental prostheses are covered by the public health insurance system, only 60% of the costs are covered (before October 2020, only 50% were covered). For example, if you have a bridge made at a cost of €1,000, the public health insurance will pay €600. If you regularly go for preventive checkups, the share covered by the insurance can increase up to 75%.

But be careful: this share only refers to the standard treatment provided for your case. If you want a different treatment instead of the bridge - for example, an implant, which now costs €2,000 – public health insurance will still only cover the €600 of the standard treatment. It can therefore be worthwhile to take out supplementary dental insurance, with which you can reduce the co-payment costs of dental prostheses.

If you want to be reimbursed for a dental prosthesis as a private patient, it depends on your insurance and your tariff which costs you must cover yourself. With ottonova, for example, depending on the tariff, you will be reimbursed up to 90% of your replacement, and if you visit a doctor from our dentist network, even up to 100%.

Marie-Theres Rüttiger
HIER SCHREIBT Marie-Theres Rüttiger

Marie-Theres is online editor for health and insurance topics at ottonova. She designs the editorial plan, researches and writes mainly about (e-)health and innovation that make life better.

ottonova sales experts
HIER SCHREIBT ottonova sales experts

Our ottonova team of experts has over 40 years of experience in private health insurance and answers questions about it every day. What are old-age provisions and for whom does private health insurance make sense? What is the actuarial interest rate and which tariff is right for you? They know!

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