Wondering what dental implants cost? The answer isn’t always straightforward. You may need additional procedures, such as bone grafting, or you may have a medical reason that your dentist needs to be careful of while you’re having an implant placed.
And there are other considerations. For instance, what if you choose a method of tooth replacement that’s cheaper, but needs to be replaced every few years? And what if you experience jawbone loss because there is no root or implant in the area of the missing tooth?
Let’s discuss what dental implants are, what they cost, and tips on how to get your implants, even if you think you can’t afford them.
Are Dental Implants New?
Actually, physicians have been attempting to replace missing teeth by implanting various substances, usually shaped into the appearance of a tooth, for more than three thousand years now. (It’s true. There is evidence in Ancient Egypt of implants made of wood.)
In the following centuries, variations on dentures existed, but implanting a substitute tooth was always of great interest to dental professionals. Then, in 1965, orthopedic surgeon and research head Dr. Per-Ingvar Brånemark accidentally discovered that titanium increased the likelihood of retention when he attempted unsuccessfully to remove titanium from a patient’s gum.
With that discovery, modern dental implants took off. You may not have heard of them very frequently when you were a child (depending on when you were born), but you’ve probably noticed that interest in dental implants has amped in recent years.
Dental implants have come a long way. Today, they’re virtually undetectable. Even better, they’re permanent. You never have to take them out at night, and you don’t need to wash them separately from your other teeth.
But at what cost comes all this convenience? Today we discuss the pros and cons of dental implants, what the process involves, and what to do about the cost of your implants.
What Is the Dental Implant Procedure?
The dental implant process will take several months to a year to complete. (But for most patients, it’s worth it. More on that in a moment.)
For the initial procedure, an implant is inserted into a hole in your jaw that the dentist makes with a drill. If necessary, donor bone or your own bone will be used to fill the area and to keep the implant still while it is healing.
After several months, the grafted bone will have integrated into the area, and the implant will be permanent. After this, you will be fitted and X-rayed for a dental crown that will go over the area of the implant. At this point, the process is complete. You may eat, drink, and perform all your activities as usual.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
Of course, if you’ve opened this article, you’re wondering how much your dental implant will set you back. So let’s talk about that next.
Dental implants seem expensive. But remember that they are permanent, and you will not be buying replacement sets every several years or purchasing special cleaning equipment for them.
The average U.S. cost for a dental implant plus the porcelain crown is $4,800. Remember that some will cost more, and some will cost less. Your cost will depend upon where you are having the implant procedure done, whether or not you need bone grafting, and other factors.
Dental Implants Have More Pros Than Cons
While that may seem pricey, dental implants have far more positives than negatives, according to patients who have had them.
The pros of dental implants include:
- They can last a lifetime
- You do not need to take them out for eating, brushing, or sleeping
- They help prevent jawbone loss, which can occur if there is an empty space in the jaw
- They look and feel very natural
- They don’t slip like dentures can
The cons of dental implants include:
- They may be partially covered by insurance, but rarely will a patient receive full-cost coverage
- It’s surgery, making it more invasive than a dental bridge or a flipper
- Rarely, an implant may fail and will need to be removed or replaced
How Can You Pay for Dental Implants?
Ask your dentist whether they have a payment plan. Not all offices offer this, but some do.
Also contact your insurance company. Contact both your dental and medical phone numbers. Some insurance companies partially reimburse for dental implants under medical insurance.
If you have more than one tooth to replace, consider having them done at separate times. This will space your payments out. It will also mean it may be several years before you have a full mouth of teeth. Focus on the more important tooth first (for instance, an obvious missing tooth in the front), and then after that’s finished and healed, have your dentist start on the next one.
Another answer can be All-on-Four or another type of implant that includes multiple replacement teeth at once, which can sometimes be less expensive than having many missing teeth individually replaced with implants.
Whatever your concern about the cost of your dental implants, talk with your dentist. They can help guide you to the best solution — at a cost that’s easy to swallow.