As with any minor surgical procedure, the treatment plan and the estimated cost of treatment should be presented to the patient. This minimizes any potential surprises and variations in cost after the treatment is completed.
Cost of a Dental Implant
Initially, the cost of placing and restoring a dental implant can be substantially higher than conventional treatment options. However, dental implants are more cost effective when we compare costs over a lifetime because they usually will last considerably longer as compared to other dental restorations. A dental bridge is usually replaced on average every 15-20 years due to failure. Some of the more common reasons for dental bridge failure include recurrent decay, poor bone support of teeth and esthetically unpleasing appearance. A denture is usually replaced every 7-10 years and common reasons for dentures needing replacement include ill-fitting dentures, due to bone changes, broken or worn dentures and unaesthetic appearance. Therefore, when we consider the costs of these options over a lifetime, dental implants can be the most cost effective option.
Dental implant cost should be considered carefully before completing the procedure. The cost of an implant can be broken down into two phases:
Surgical placement of the implant in the jaw (usually done by an oral surgeon).
Fabricating a crown or denture to fit the implant, usually done by a general dentist or a prosthodontist.
The total cost of a dental implant can vary depending upon the region of the country, specific location of placement, complexity of the overall case, and which practitioner places and restores it. The average total cost of placement and restoration is usually between about 3000 and 3600 dollars. It is difficult to predict what the exact cost might be because every implant case is different and can provide its own specific challenges. We should also take under consideration the cost of any addition procedures, such as bone grafting, sinus lift, etc., which may be necessary. This is why it is important to review the treatment plan presented by the dentist and ask questions. More recently there have been dental offices offering specials on dental implants.
Dentists offering implants in the price range of $1800-$2500 are out there. These prices may or may not include any necessary adjunctive procedures like bone grafting or a sinus bump and any necessary x-rays needed for diagnosis. In this price range the cost of a dental implant is less than the cost of a three-unit bridge. Do your research and it might save you a lot of money. Compare apples to apples. If one office is offering a lower price, make sure the quoted cost is for conventional and not mini-implants.
In most instances dentists are able to offer lower cost implants because they use generic, or less known implant manufacturers. The main issues with using generic or less know suppliers of implants and other parts is that they might not be manufactured to the high standard that you get with one of the major brands. These parts may look and feel exactly the same as the name brands however, they might not have been rigorously tested as are implants from well known companies. Chemical composition of the metal alloy used for implant and parts manufacturing can also vary form the standard. This can affect the strength, durability, and corrosion resistance as compared to name brand implants. Another important point to mention is the viability of the implant companies. There are many manufacturers of implants that are in business for only a few years. If you have an implant from one of these companies and you need a replacement part, you may not be able to get it.
Since dental implants have become the standard of care in dentistry, most dental insurance companies will include a dental implant clause. This translates to some coverage for placement or restoration of implants. Some insurance companies will cover the surgical portion, however they will not cover the costs of restoring the implant. It is best to do your own research to avoid any surprises after completion of the procedure. Check with your dental insurance company or your dental office for more information. Financing the cost of the procedure may be necessary.
One possible route for financing the cost of implants is office financing. Many offices offer interest free financing up to six months and sometimes longer. Contact each individual dental office to find out if they offer in-office financing. Another way that financing can be obtained is through third party lenders. These lenders are health care specific and can offer interest free financing for a period of time and low monthly payments. Contact individual lenders for more information and plan details.