The Cost of Dental Implants
Will you be one of the 500,000 people who get dental implants this year? If so, you’ll join more than 3 million Americans who already have them according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. Dental implants are now the recommended standard of care for tooth loss. Even though you might be in good company, you might be curious about the cost of dental implants. There is a lot of confusing and misleading information circulating about the procedure. We pulled together what you need to know to clear up any confusion about the cost of teeth implants.
Dental Implants Are the Recommended Treatment for Most Tooth Loss
First, what is a dental implant? Not only are dental implants one of the greatest advances in dentistry for decades, they are now the recommended treatment plan when a person has lost teeth whether it’s from decay or an accident or has a tooth that’s beyond repair. A dental implant resembles a screw and is an artificial tooth that is surgically placed in the mouth. It is often made of titanium. Once placed in the mouth, the implant fuses with the existing bone in a process called osseointegration. This creates a solid base for a ceramic crown to be placed.
Dental implants are recommended for most patients; however, there are some circumstances when other treatment is advised. Candidates for dental implants must have healthy bones and sufficient bone height to accommodate the dental implant. The longer the tooth has been gone, the more bone loss may have occurred. It’s always best to seek treatment immediately when you suffer tooth loss. Those who have other health concerns such as diabetes or leukemia might have alternative treatment plans suggested. Your dentist will discuss the recommended course of treatment that’s best for your situation.
What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?
Tooth loss is quite common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report 26 percent of adults aged 65 to 74 have lost all of their teeth and 69 percent of adults aged 35 to 44 years old have lost at least one permanent tooth. There are not only cosmetic and confidence issues for people with tooth loss, but they might also have trouble talking or eating as well as suffer from oral health conditions, bone loss and infections. One of the best solutions for the cosmetic and functional problems caused by missing teeth is dental implants. They solve these problems better than bridges and traditional dentures.
Here are just a few of the advantages of dental implants. They:
- Look more natural than bridges or dentures and no hardware is visible.
- Are easy to care for. You brush and floss daily just as you do your natural teeth.
- Last a lifetime-bridges and crowns will only last between 5 and 7 years.
- Are as comfortable, stable and secure as your original teeth.
- Prevent the shifting of nearby teeth and won’t damage the surrounding teeth.
There are several steps in the procedure to get a dental implant so it takes longer than getting fitted for bridges or dentures. Patients and dental professionals believe the superior comfort, appearance and longevity you get from dental implants make the initial time and money investment well worth it over your lifetime. Other patients who tried other methods of tooth replacement believe dental implants improve quality of life in a dramatic way.
Possible Steps for Dental implants
Every patient is unique so the exact steps to get dental implants vary with the circumstances of each patient. This is a primary reason why advertised offers such as “$999 Dental Implants” are quite misleading. Be sure to understand what is covered in such offers before agreeing to the service. Here are the steps that could be involved with dental implants:
- Tooth Extraction – If one or multiple teeth are still in the mouth, but are dying or fractured, they need to be removed before the dental implant procedure can even begin.
- Bone Grafting – As part of the treatment plan development, a dentist will get essential information about your health. How is your overall health? Are you a smoker? How long has it been since you lost the tooth or teeth you want to replace? How healthy are your gums and jawbone? In certain situations, if the jawbone isn’t thick enough to support the dental implant, a bone graft will be recommended.
- Placing the Dental Implant – When the titanium implant is placed into the bone, it’s typically done at the dentist’s office under local anesthesia. Depending on your circumstances, this could involve multiple implants. In other cases, patients will opt to be put under general anesthesia. After this step, there is a healing period that can last two to six months to allow the jawbone to fuse with the titanium implant.
- Temporary Crown or Denture – During the two- to six-month healing period, some patients and dentists will opt to place a temporary crown or denture. This can help with eating and speaking as well as cosmetic issues. However, this isn’t a step that’s part of every patient’s dental implant experience.
- Abutment – In the next step, an abutment is placed. It’s the piece that connects the implant and the crown. At this time, your dental professional will reopen your gums to expose the dental implant and then attach the abutment to it. Then, it takes about two weeks for your gums to heal after the abutment is placed.
- Placing the Permanent Crown – Impressions are taken of your mouth and existing teeth so that a new crown can be made to resemble the shape and color of your natural teeth. Then the crown is placed on the abutment.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
There’s not a one price fits all for dental implants since the specific procedure can vary significantly based on each patient’s needs. Pricing for dental implants is complicated since no two patients are exactly alike.
Since dental implants are now the preferred treatment for tooth replacement, patients are seeking out the best price for the procedure. While doing your research, understand that pricing variability exists due to the specifics of each patient’s case.
Our advice to price shoppers:
- You should be wary of low-priced offers. They typically won’t cover all of the essential components of the procedure with this price. The low-priced offer typically is just for the implant placement.
- When comparing rates, be sure to ask what’s included for that price. At minimum, price quotes should include the implant, abutment and crown.
- If you have dental benefits, check with your benefits provider to be clear what parts of the procedure are covered so you can understand your out-of-pocket costs.
Your price quotes for an implant, abutment and crown should be in the $3,000-5,000 range. Although costs will vary based on the unique circumstances of your case, if your quote is significantly below this guideline, it’s a good idea to get more clarification regarding what is covered.
Lifetime Value of Dental Implants vs. Bridges/Crowns
Keep in mind, that while the cost for a dental implant is initially more than a bridge/crown, over your lifetime, it’s usually less. Bridges and crowns will need to be replaced every 5 to 7 years regardless of how good you take care of them. If you opt for a bridge/crown, you might need to replace them multiple times in your lifetime. Bridges are more challenging to care for especially when flossing around them. Therefore, the root surfaces around bridgework are more susceptible to decay and could require additional treatment if that occurs. Placement of bridges/crowns require grinding down the healthy teeth surrounding the bridgework. It’s possible that this work to anchor your bridge could ultimately cause future problems with formerly healthy teeth. Over your lifetime, dental implants are the best investment and solution for tooth loss.
Paying for Dental Implants with Insurance
Most dental benefit insurance plans won’t cover tooth implants and if they do, the amount they will cover each year is capped. It’s always a good idea to ask for an estimate of out-of-pocket costs before your procedure. Check with your provider to see what payment plans might be available to you. If you can determine a way to pay for your dental implants, over your lifetime, they are the most cost-effective solution for tooth loss.
To help you pay for dental implants, our offices have several payment options and even offer dental services coupons at select locations for certain procedures. Our OneSmile Dental Plan will save you 20 to 40 percent off uncovered services even if you have dental insurance. We also offer many low-interest dental financing plans with flexible terms to help all of our patients afford the care they need.
Dental implants are the new standard of care for tooth loss. They look and act just like your natural teeth, so they are easier to care for and more comfortable than other treatments. Even though you will pay more initially, the lifetime value of implants will likely be better than the alternatives. When researching the price of dental implant treatment, don’t be fooled by deceptive offers that only cover a portion of the care. Visit one of our offices for a free dental implant consultation and to discuss your best options for tooth replacement.
At Castle Dental, we’re here to help. Contact us to discuss your treatment options and payment plans and to schedule your free dental implant consultation.