Confused by Tooth Implant Pricing?
According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, 500,000 people get dental implants each year and more than 3 million Americans already have a tooth implant. Since dental implants are now the recommended standard of care for tooth loss, if you have a missing a tooth or teeth your provider likely suggested a tooth implant as treatment. If so, you may have investigated how much the procedure will cost and been left with more questions than answers on dental implant prices. To help you sort it all out, we have what you need to know about tooth implant pricing and dental implant costs.
Dental Implants: Recommended Treatment for Most Tooth Loss
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 due to decay or an accident or has a tooth that’s beyond repair. A dental implant is an artificial tooth that is surgically placed in the mouth. It looks like a screw and is often made of titanium. Once placed in the mouth, the implant fuses with the existing bone. This process is called osseointegration and it creates a solid foundation for a ceramic crown to be placed.
Even though most tooth loss can be treated with dental implants, there are some circumstances when another treatment might be recommended by a dental professional. To be a good candidate for dental implants you must have healthy bones and bone height that can support an implant. The longer you wait to get your tooth loss corrected, the more opportunity you have for bone loss. It’s always best to get a dental implant soon after you lose a tooth. Individuals with other health concerns such as diabetes or leukemia might not be good candidates for dental implants either. Your dentist will review all options and the recommended course of treatment for you.
What Makes Dental Implants Popular?
The majority of Americans have lost at least one permanent tooth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 percent of adults 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. Not only might a person feel less confident and more self-conscious when they have missing teeth, they also might experience trouble eating or talking or suffer from infections, oral health problems and bone loss. Dentals implants help solve functional and cosmetic concerns caused by missing teeth in a way that bridges or traditional dentures don’t.
Here are just a few of the advantages of dental implants:
- They are as comfortable, stable and secure as your original teeth.
- A bridge and crown will only last between 5 and 7 years; dental implants last a lifetime.
- Implants prevent the shifting of nearby teeth and won’t damage the surrounding teeth.
- There is no visible hardware and they look more natural than dentures or bridges.
- Are cared for the same as you would your natural teeth-brushing and flossing daily.
The process for getting a dental implant placed has more steps and takes longer than being fitted for a bridge or dentures. However, the appearance, longevity and superior comfort you get from dental implants are why dental implants are preferred by many patients and dentists. Dental implants improve quality of life in a dramatic way according to many patients who tried other methods of tooth replacement.
Multi-Step Procedure of Dental implants
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. Here are the steps that might be involved with dental implants:
- Tooth Extraction – If the dental implant is required because an existing tooth is dying or fractured, the tooth will need to be pulled first. If a tooth has already been lost, this step is no longer necessary.
- Bone Grafting – A dentist will determine a personal treatment plan for you. Dentists will assess your overall oral health, if you’re a smoker, the length of time since you lost the teeth or tooth, the condition of your gums and jawbone and more. In some cases, a bone graft will be required for those patients who don’t have a thick enough jawbone to support the dental implant.
- Placing the Dental Implant – In this step, the titanium implant is surgically placed into the bone. This is typically done in your dentist’s office using local anesthesia. Depending on the extent of the tooth loss, the dentist may need to place one or more implants.
- Temporary Crown or Denture – After the dental implant is placed, there is a healing period that can last anywhere from two to six months. This allows the jawbone to fuse with the titanium implant. A temporary crown or denture can help during this period with eating, speaking and for cosmetic reasons. Not all patients elect to get a temporary crown or denture.
- Abutment – After the healing period, 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.
Dental Implant Pricing
Since the specific procedure for dental implants can vary dramatically based on each patient’s needs, pricing for dental implants is complicated. No two circumstances are exactly alike.
As dental implants become more mainstream, patients are searching for the most cost-effective solution. As you look around for pricing options, we encourage you to be mindful of the pricing variability that exists due to the specifics of each patient’s case.
Our advice to price shoppers:
- Be suspicious of low-priced offers. They usually don’t cover other essential components and only advertise the price for the implant placement.
- At minimum, price quotes should include the implant, abutment and crown. So, when comparing rates, make sure you understand exactly what is included.
- For those with dental benefits, find out which components of the procedure are covered in order to assess your out-of-pocket costs.
As a framework for your price comparisons, the cost of an implant, abutment and crown is typically in the $3,000-5,000 range. Your costs will vary based on the unique circumstances of your case.
Lifetime Value of Dental Implants vs. Bridges/Crowns
Another vital factor to consider when comparing price quotes and treatment plans, is that the lifetime cost of a dental implant is often lower even if the upfront cost is higher than comparable treatment with a bridge and crown. Despite how well you take care of bridges/crowns, they will only last between 5 and 7 years. Depending on your age at the time of placement, you might need to get a bridge/crown replaced several times in your lifetime. It’s more challenging to properly floss around bridgework, so the root surfaces around them are highly susceptible to decay. Bridges/crowns require grinding down healthy teeth around the bridge to anchor it; therefore, this could mean formerly healthy teeth will require treatment in the future. For these reasons, dental implants are the best lifetime investment and solution for tooth loss.
How to Pay for Dental Implants
Unfortunately, covering dental implant costs with insurance isn’t always easy. Only some dental plans cover tooth implants and most are capped at the amount they will cover each year. Be sure to ask for an estimate of out-of-pocket costs and payment plans available to you when your treatment plan is discussed. Remember, while dental implants seem more expensive initially, they are a solution that will last a lifetime. Ultimately, over your lifetime, they are the most cost-effective choice.
Our offices have several dental financing options to help minimize the overall cost of your implant and your monthly payment. Even if you have dental insurance, our OneSmile Dental Plan will save you 20 to 40 percent off uncovered services. In addition, we may have dental coupons at select local dentist locations to help make sure all patients can 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 Monarch Dental, we’re here to help. Click here to schedule your next appointment to discuss your treatment options and payment plans.