For those who have the misfortune of a missing tooth or teeth, restorative dentistry services such as dental implants can be a godsend. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root – a titanium device implanted into your jaw bone, so that it can safely and solidly hold a tooth replacement. They equip you with a solid and strong foundation for replacement teeth custom made to match your natural teeth.
With a success rate of close to 98%, as well as the capability (with appropriate care) of lasting a lifetime, they provide an extremely valuable option for those seeking help for the problem of missing teeth due to disease or injury.
There is no question that the cost of dental implants can be prohibitive. This is for several reasons, which will be outlined later in this article. First, let’s go over the benefits of them, so you can have that information handy when making a final decision.
- A prettier/more handsome smile = self-confidence. No more embarrassment over gaps of missing teeth is a huge selling point. No one likes to feel like they can’t say “cheese!” when smiling for a photo, for one thing. Dental implants feel and look exactly like your own teeth, they are designed that way. What’s more, they are permanent!
- Comfort. There are few things more painful and/or irritating than discomfort inside the mouth. It interferes with daily living and enjoyment. Once you have dental implants, they are a part of you, just like natural teeth! You don’t have to deal with messy, awkward dentures.
- Ease while eating. Having missing teeth or using dentures can make eating difficult and even painful. Since dental implants are just like your natural teeth, you have no problems eating anything you wish, with no discomfort!
- Lifetime durability. Once you have your dental implants, you are set! They last a lifetime.
- Oral health benefits. Because implants don’t require alterations to other teeth, your other teeth are left in place, and this is proven to increase long-term oral health.
How much do dental implants cost?
In general, a single tooth dental implant can range in cost from roughly $2000 to $8000, and those involving more teeth or implant bridges can cost up to $25,000 – depending on many factors.
For specifics, only your dental provider can give you a solid estimate, based on your individual needs and situation. However, working with the above parameters, we can cover some of the factors involved when coming up with a price tag.
Some of these considerations include:
- How many teeth that need replacing
- The type of artificial teeth used (snap-on bridges, fixed bridges, individual cemented crowns, screw retained crowns, etc.)
- Whether or not the bridges are removable
- Type of implant used – standard diameter range between 3 to 6 millimeters, and length between 6 to 14 millimeters. “Mini implants” – used for smaller individual teeth, are usually about 2 millimeters in diameter
- Number of implants needed for support of the teeth
- Bone quality. If bone is deficient or even missing, bone grafting is usually necessary, and this adds to cost considerably.
Why are dental implants expensive?
There are several justifiable reasons for the costs involved with dental implants. One of the first things to consider is that you aren’t just purchasing a “product,” per se, but a service that requires highly specialized training and education. The surgery involved is extraordinarily specialized, because not only are you having a medical device implanted into your living tissue, the oral surgeon is working with an area filled with blood vessels, nerves and sinuses.
Suffice to say you don’t want to try a “cheap” route when dealing with this kind of scenario! If you have this surgery performed at a cheap rate, buyer beware, because if your implant is not positioned precisely right, you will be dealing with a horrible outcome that will cause untold years of pain and discomfort.
Having a poorly placed implant removed is extremely expensive, and destroys bone in the process.
The area the oral surgeon is working with for a successful dental implant is incredibly tiny, with zero room for error. If the placement is off even by a millimeter, the resulting failure can be catastrophic.
Therefore, you will want to have an oral surgeon with impeccable qualifications and experience. This does indeed add up in terms of cost, but is ultimately worth it.
What about insurance?
Unfortunately, dental implants are not covered by dental insurance. It never hurts to check with your general medical health care plan to see if you qualify based on the cause of your tooth loss.
Finding the right oral surgeon
The American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes prosthodontics, which is the area of dentistry dealing with dental prosthetics, as one of nine specialties. This specialty requires 3 years of additional, advanced training in dental implants and other specialties.
Within that group, there are nearly 400 private practices with Board Certification. Choosing a board certified prosthodontist is a huge step toward ensuring a positive, lifelong lasting outcome with your dental implant.