Tooth implants are increasingly the top choice for replacing teeth lost to cavities, trauma, and other difficulties. The quality, comfort, stability, and durability of dental implants makes them highly desirable over removable dentures, but they are not covered by most dental insurance plans because the procedure is considered cosmetic. The implant procedure requires quite a bit of planning and consultation, though, so consumers have several options for saving money and making the process more affordable. Following are the details of the procedure and a summary of costs, as well as different ways to lower the overall cost of tooth implants.
Implants can support one tooth, crowns, bridges, or a full set of dentures. Unlike removable dentures, food cannot become stuck beneath dentures anchored on implants. They offer the natural feel of real teeth for an easier time eating and can last a lifetime. The procedure involves placing a false root of titanium in the jaw so that the bone grows around and fuses to it, and then attaching a prosthetic tooth or teeth to the implant. The procedure requires much planning, with the individual implants and prostheses being highly customized to ensure a perfect fit. The implant process maintains the integrity and strength of the jaw and can be done on an outpatient basis under local or general anesthesia or full sedation. Depending on the amount of work to be done, healing typically takes three to six months, sometimes up to a year.
Tooth implant costs may begin with preparatory procedures such as extractions or bone grafts, and one must also consider consultation fees, CT scans, X-rays, and dental fees. The cost for a single implant ranges from $1000 to $3000 up to $4,000 to $10,000 if extractions and additional procedures are required. A full set of dentures costs up to $50,000 for the All on Four procedure, which anchors each arch to four implants. Implants and dentures may range from $7,000 to $90,000, depending on the specific procedure and related costs. The implant procedure requires a follow-up with the dentist or surgeon, and it has a success rate of greater than 90%. There are, however, many resources available to help lower the out of pocket cost of obtaining implants.
Dental implants are considered cosmetic because temporary solutions do exist to replace missing teeth. For this reason, dental insurance companies will cover little or none of the cost of tooth implants. For the plans that do, the annual reimbursement is typically limited to $1,500, representing just a small fraction of the costs involved. Temporary solutions such as bridges leave the remaining teeth vulnerable to decay, requiring greater maintenance and higher upkeep costs than implants. And although removable dentures cost less, they can shift and cause discomfort, whereas implants look, feel, and function like natural teeth.
Shopping around and comparing prices for different providers is one way to find a lower cost for tooth implants. Prices are often higher in big cities than outside of them. Dental schools may offer the procedure at half the price with highly qualified instructors overseeing the students’ work. The schools limit their acceptance of certain patients, though, and may have a long waiting list. Many dentists and surgeons offer financing or monthly payment plans in their offices, the details for which vary for each individual case. Through a combination of research, planning, and saving, quality dental implants are within reach.
A dental discount program will save consumers 20% on tooth implant procedures. Dental discount programs provide membership cards that are accepted by thousands of providers and do not interfere with existing insurance coverage. They require a simple application form that can be submitted online and have little to no waiting period. When considering out of pocket expenses for tooth implant costs, a 20% savings can go a long way toward finding peace of mind.