Do you need to replace a missing tooth? Or do you have several teeth you’d like to replace? Do you have a gap in your smile or a loss of chewing function? Dental implants are the next best thing to having your own natural teeth.
But how much will dental implants cost? Many people choose dental implants because they are a popular and effective way to replace one, two or several missing teeth. But wait! Aren’t they expensive? Yes, they can be.
But, they can also be affordable too. How much will dental implants cost? I will explain all the details for you. In this article, I will discuss all you need to know about dental implants, the procedure and what you can expect to pay for the procedure. I am a dental hygienist and would like to help you improve your smile. See About the Author.
What Are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a small screw made from titanium that can be placed in your top or bottom jaw. It serves as a replacement for the root portion of your normal natural tooth that is missing. Once the titanium screw is placed in the jawbone, it fuses to the bone over time and becomes the anchor for a replacement tooth. A permanent crown will be secured to the titanium post and become a fixed part of your smile.
The implant that is surgically inserted into the jawbone forms the base to which attachments of different purposes can be made. The implant will work in the same way that your natural root would have if you still had your tooth. Research according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons suggests that dental implants on average have a 95% success rate.
They can be used to replace a single missing tooth. They can also be used as a way to support bridges and dentures when several teeth are missing. A bridge or denture supported with implants is more comfortable and stable and allows you to bite and chew naturally.
To replace an entire missing tooth there are three parts included which I will describe in more detail shortly. These three parts include: the implant (post surgically inserted in bone), the abutment (connector piece between the implant and crown), and the crown (white part of tooth that is visible).
Implants are very popular today for many reasons:
Check out the reasons noted in a recent article of Perio.org.
- Intact teeth adjacent to a missing tooth do not need to be restored as they would for a fixed bridge
- Great option for those unhappy with a removable partial denture
- Can make dentures more comfortable to wear
- Dental implants can help preserve your bone after teeth are extracted or lost
- Offers a non-removable option to replace missing teeth
- Dental implants fuse with the jawbone offering firm support
- They can last a lifetime with good care
You can see the implant procedure in this related video:
So, How Much Will Dental Implants Cost?
It important to know that not all dental implants cost the same amount. There are a few factors that will come into play when determining the price of your dental implant.
Where you are located can have an effect how much your dentist will charge. In areas where suppliers charge more to the dentists, the dentist will pass that additional charge to you. Your dentist’s level of expertise will also be a factor in the cost of this procedure. More experienced providers may charge more than some just starting out.
The materials used to make the implant will have an effect on the final cost as well. You’ll want to discuss the options of the materials used with your dentist to come up with the best option for you at an affordable price.
The procedures needed prior to the placement of the implant will affect the final cost of the implant. In some cases, you will have to add in the cost of the extraction(s) first. Also, there are times when certain procedures will need to be performed prior to an implant such as a sinus lift or a bone graft to provide additional support for your implant.
What Can I Expect To Pay?
On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 for the cost of one implant. This is only for the implant (or titanium screw in the jawbone). But wait! There are more costs involved you need to know about…
According to the AAOMS there are several factors to consider. Once the implant is placed, it will also require an abutment and the placement of a permanent crown on top of it. An abutment could cost around $500 and a permanent crown can cost $1,000 to $2,000. So, if you add this all up, it can be in the range of $2,500 to $5,500 per tooth.
How much does a single dental implant cost?
Let me break it down for the average amounts charged:
$2,000 – Implant
$500 – Custom abutment
$1,500 – Permanent crown
You can expect higher costs if extra work such as bone grafting is needed before placing the implant.
What about the cost of multiple teeth implants?
The cost for having multiple implants done will decrease with each additional implant needed. The reason for this is due to the fact that fees for such things as consultation, 3D scans, x rays and follow up visits only need to be done once versus multiple times.
Also, anesthetic and surgery time is only needed once versus several instances of each implant. If you are having 3-4 teeth replaced in a row, an implant bridge which only requires 2 implants versus 3 to 4 individual implants could be done. This will save you the cost of 2 additional implants.
Why Are Dental Implants So Expensive?
The main reason is because it is a surgical procedure. You will be treated by a specialist who has received special training in the procedure. There are a few types of dentists who have received this type of training. These include oral surgeons, prosthodontists or a dentist who has received training in implantology.
You will want to have your procedure done by someone who has had special training in the procedure to ensure you are in good hands. The procedure itself involves several appointments. This is another reason the cost is so high.
It will include a consultation, inserting of the implant (titanium post), placement of the abutment and placement of the permanent crown. Each of these steps are a separate appointment. Let’s look at each one in more detail for replacement of a single tooth. You may require multiple implants if you are having a bridge or denture placed.
The consultation will be the appointment where you meet with your dentist to see if you are a good candidate to have the procedure done. You’ll have a special 3D tomography scan and other x rays done to check the condition of your teeth and bone. The health of your gums will be checked to rule out conditions like gum disease. Impressions will be taken of your mouth to get started if you are a good candidate.
For the insertion of the implant you will be given local anesthetic to numb the area to be worked on. General anesthetic (being put to sleep) will not be required and you will be aware of what is going on the whole time.
A hole will be drilled into your jawbone and the implant will be inserted. You will need to leave this be and allow the gum tissue to heal around it and the bone to fill in around the implant. This should not be rushed and can take anywhere from 4-6 months.
Proper healing is vitally important to the success of the implant long term. Afterwards, you will return for checkups during this time for evaluation of healing. After proper healing has occurred, you will return to have an abutment placed.
This will be screwed into your implant and is basically the part that will connect the implant to your final permanent crown. A small surgery to uncover and expose the implant will be needed. This is to remove the tissue that has grown over the top of the implant so the abutment can be placed.
The final appointment is to have the permanent crown/bridge or denture placed. This will look like a normal tooth or teeth depending on how many implants you are having done.
Will Insurance Cover It?
The answer to this question is not that easy. Coverage will depend on what kind of insurance you have.
Dental insurance, medical insurance or both could apply to the procedure. The amount covered by your insurance will also depend on several things.
These include the insurance provider, plan annual limits and your plan coverage details. Some insurance companies will cover the cost of an implant while others will not.
Also, it is possible that your medical insurance may cover the cost of some aspects of the implant. This would be the case especially if there are medical complications as a result of tooth loss. Your dental insurance may cover the cost of the abutment and the cost of the permanent crown.
All and all, it is a good idea to have a discussion with your dental provider and have a preauthorization sent in to your insurance company. A preauthorization of a procedure is not committing you to having the procedure done. It is basically asking the insurance company what portion they plan to cover and what amount you will be responsible for paying.
Thankfully, more and more insurance companies are covering dental implant procedures than ever before. Even though dental implants can be expensive, they are an investment and can bring gains and benefits to you long term.
When figuring out the cost of your dental implant, be sure to get a breakdown of each of the 3 separate procedures mentioned in order to get a fair comparison. You will want to know the final price you will be paying for the entire process.
Be sure there are no hidden fees or charges that may be added once the procedure is complete. Also, make sure you know any costs involved before the procedure can be done (such as cost for extractions).
You will want to be sure that the quote you receive for the process includes all of the following:
- Initial consultation
- 3D tomography (CT scans)
- X rays
- All three parts of the implant (root, abutment, crown/denture/bridge)
- Surgical procedure
- All visits including follow up visits
Who is a good candidate?
Not everyone is a good candidate for a dental implant. There are several factors to consider when deciding if a dental implant is right for you.
You will want to be medically evaluated before implant surgery is done to make sure you do not have any medical conditions that would interfere with healing. Such conditions may include chronic illnesses like diabetes or leukemia.
If you use tobacco, you may have a slower than average healing time as well. Having periodontal disease (gum disease) will also make you a poor candidate for a dental implant. With periodontal disease you are more prone to infection (peri-implantitis) which could cause the implant to fail.
You Have Made the Investment, Now What?
Once you have completed the dental implant process, it is extremely important that you protect your investment. You will want to take good care of your new implants in order for them to last.
This requires regular maintenance and may require more frequent cleanings than every 6 months. You may need your teeth cleaned every 3-4 months instead if you struggle to keep things clean on your own. This will remove bacterial plaque from above and below your gum line. You will want to care for them like you would your normal other teeth.
Plaque and bacteria can still build up around an implant as it would on your other teeth. Inflammation and pocketing can still form around implants if not cared for properly and an infection of the implant could occur.
The infection of an implant is called peri-implantitis and is the leading cause of failure of a dental implant. For this reason, it is very important for you to stay on top of your plaque control to prevent it from getting infected.
The best way to keep an implant clean is with the use of an oral irrigator (Waterpik) device. Using an oral irrigator, you will achieve plaque control in and around the implant that brushing and flossing alone will never reach.
An oral irrigator can also remove twice as much bacteria and food debris than flossing can.
Another way to care for your dental implant would be the use of an electric toothbrush versus a manual toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes have been proven to give you 30,000-50,000 brush strokes per minute versus only 500 brush strokes per minute with a manual toothbrush.
A very important feature of an electric toothbrush is the built-in two-minute timer. Dental professionals agree that it is necessary to brush twice a day for a full two minutes to achieve optimal plaque control. Controlling inflammation is key to the long term success of your implant. Learn more about ways to control inflammation in your mouth to improve your overall health in a related article.
Use of oral probiotics, as noted in a study published in the Journal of Periodontal Research shows promising evidence in the treatment and prevention of peri-implantitis (infection of implant). You can learn more about oral probiotics here for the overall health of your mouth.
Oral probiotics can be helpful to your mouth just like traditional probiotics can be for your gut. Oral probiotics have been shown to be beneficial in the reduction of cavities, gum disease, bad breath and now in preventing peri-implantitis.
Make The Investment In Yourself
While dental implants can be expensive, they are an investment in yourself and in your smile. If you talk to anyone who has gone through the procedure, you will find many people who are pleased with their results.
If you have one or more missing teeth you would like to have replaced, schedule a visit with your dental professional. Together, you can decide if a dental implant is right for you.
If you are missing one or more teeth, there are a number of reasons why you should correct the problem:
- Missing teeth can affect how you speak
- Absence of teeth can affect your chewing function
- Bone loss may occur around the missing tooth
- A space between your teeth can be a cosmetic concern
- If a missing tooth is not replaced, the opposing and surrounding teeth can shift
- The biting force on the remaining teeth will change when a tooth is missing
You can receive a quote or a more detailed report of what insurance will pay if you have dental insurance. Implants are a great value, because with good home care they can provide a healthy, stable smile for a lifetime!
Learn more about other oral health solutions by visiting www.oralprobiotichealth.com. If you leave any questions or comments below, I would be happy to help!
The information that I provide on my website is not intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Care and investigation should always be sought from an appropriate health care provider. I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. I have created this site as a way to share information and experiences.