The market value for dental implants is expected to reach $4.2 billion by 2022. But that’s not a surprise when you learn that 35 million Americans are missing not one or two but all their teeth on one (or both) of their jaws. Around three million Americans receive 500,000 dental implants each year.
Dental implants are a life-changing option for those who want to reconstruct their smile or prevent the complications that come with tooth loss. But how much do dental implants cost? How much are you prepared to pay for an improved smile?
On average, there are three costs that you’ll pay if you want a single implant:
That means that you can expect to pay $2,950 at a minimum for a single implant whereas a single tooth at the upper end of the price spectrum is $6,500.
If you need a complete set of with implants (All-on-4 implants), then you can expect to spend a minimum of $35,000 and a maximum of $60,000.
why are dental implants so expensive?
How do dentists determine how much dental implants cost? It’s a complicated formula that considers the dentist’s expertise, materials used for the implant, laboratory costs, pre-surgical procedures, number of implants, and your geographical location.
Dentists who dedicate a significant part of their practice to dental implants offer more experience and thus charge a higher premium for access to their care.
If you choose a titanium implant, then your costs will be higher than if you select a zirconium implant.
The laboratory costs may vary depending on the type of tooth you want. Prices aren’t uniform across the industry, so the amount you pay for the crown ($1,000-3,000) will change based on where your dentist places the order.
Then there’s the issue of preparatory procedures. Some people will need tooth extraction procedures while others might require more expensive bone grafting. These are typical dental procedures, and they increase the price, but they won’t double the cost.
Choosing one or two implants is almost always more expensive in terms of cost-per-implant than getting several implants. When you need more than one or two implants, your dentist has the option to mount the implants on dentures or use dental bridges, which lowers the cost of the surgical procedure.
Finally, the cost of implants heavily depends on where you intend to get the procedure done. A dental implant in Beverley Hills will cost more than one in Des Moines. Not only do dentist fees vary, but they adjust their prices according to overhead. The cost of rent, insurance, and payroll, and other expenses get passed on to patients. That’s why implants tend to be far less expensive overseas.
Remember: Implants Require Surgery
Although a long list of factors goes into the cost of dental implants, it’s important to remember that you pay both a dentist and an oral surgeon.
Your dentist may have fixed fees, but the cost of the surgeon’s time ranges from $500 to $2,000 depending on the surgeons’ experience. The surgery also requires an anesthesiologist, who might charge $500 to $800 an hour.
Your insurance plan—if you have dental—may cover a portion of the procedure to limit your out-of-pocket costs. However, it is unlikely.
The majority of insurance companies consider dental implants as a cosmetic procedure. In most cases, insurance policies only cover implants when your dentist deems them to be medically necessary. You’ll need evidence from your dentist and likely need to show proof of having a disease (usually genetic) that caused your tooth loss.
However, you may still get some relief even if your procedure is cosmetic. Read your policy to learn about missing tooth exclusion and waiting periods and talk to your agent to see if your procedure falls under your policy umbrella.
What About Individual Cosmetic Insurance?
Individual cosmetic dental insurance is one way to pay for expensive dental procedures. However, it is not the right
how to pay for dental implants
Does your insurance plan cover some or all of your implant procedure? Congratulations.
If you’re not lucky enough to be, don’t despair yet. Ask your insurance carrier if it will front you the cost of a bridge or dentures might cost instead. If they balk, remind them that maintenance costs over five years are higher for bridges than for implants. The implant will also protect your jawbone, which also lowers the insurance company’s costs over time.
Be sure that you see a dentist who takes your insurance or who is in-network. In-network providers will usually mean you receive a discount to the typical retail charge. You could save five to 40 percent of the total cost.
Unfortunately, neither of these are likely to cover the total cost. Many dentists offer installment payments for existing patients to help pay for the cost of their care.
If this isn’t an option, consider trying a product that finances health or dental care. These plans allow patients to pay back the cost with lower interest than traditional credit programs.
Finally, if you are comfortable, consider asking a dental school for health. Some top schools run clinics for advanced students that allow you to access tooth implants at reduced rates in exchange for allowing the students a learning opportunity. You can find a list of schools offering this service at Oral Health America.
Avoid Credit Cards and Loans
Make sure you exhaust all your healthcare funding options before you turn to a credit card or personal loan. While healthcare options typically come with low-to-no interest, you won’t get the same break from your credit card company. Putting it on a card could make the cost of your treatment even more expensive.
If anything, consider borrowing from your 401(k) or other retirement account and paying it back before turning to a traditional credit card or loan.
Should i choose dentures instead?
The cost of implants is high, and the procedure is involved. Knowing that, you might wonder if you wouldn’t benefit from dentures instead.
Some patients just aren’t a candidate for implants and need alternative treatments instead. Here’s when the cost of dental implants make sense and when you should talk to your dentist about other interventions.
Why Implants Work
Dental implants suit patients who have healthy gums and jaws but who are missing teeth.
Although they are expensive, implants tend to last for the rest of your life, and they feature a failure rate of only five percent. Plus, you can use them as an intervention to take care of one or two missing teeth or as an alternative to dentures.
Why do people choose implants? They are permanent replacements that improve your oral health, make eating easier, and are simply more convenient as long as you care for your teeth.
You get all this, and it doesn’t come at a physical cost. With the use of anesthesia, the procedure itself doesn’t hurt. Some say it is less uncomfortable than a tooth extraction. You can often treat any discomfort with over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol.
People who struggle with bone loss or gum disease or who cannot undergo anesthesia aren’t good candidates for implants.
When to Choose Dentures
Dentures are a simpler solution that doesn’t require surgery or pain. They are also less costly when compared to other restorative dentistry options.
Today’s dentures aren’t like the false teeth you maybe remember from your youth. They are still removable, but now, they mimic your teeth.
At the same time, they don’t immediately offer a natural feel. Because you can remove them, dentures take some adjusting to, and some people never get used to the movement that occ If you are young (in your 50s or 60s) and suffering from a hereditary disease that causes tooth loss, dentures may feel both embarrassing and impractical.
Additionally, they still don’t offer the same bite power or grip compared to teeth anchored into your jaw.
Making the Choice
How much do dental implants cost? It depends on where you get them, how many you need, and the state of your oral health before your surgery.
Dental implants can cost up to $6,500 for a single implant and nearly $60,000 for a full set of dental implant dentures. The costs include not only the tooth but the implant procedure as well as lab work, preparatory procedures, and administrative fees.
However, dental implants offer peace of mind, healthy mouth, and they don’t require replacement. A one-time investment lasts the rest of your life. And you don’t need all the money in cash. You may get some help from your insurance company or find a way to work out an appropriate price with your dentist.
Do you think dental implants are worth the cost?