Dental implants are an amazing technology where an artificial tooth can look, feel and act just like a natural tooth.
There are many cases where dental implants can improve the quality of life for people with missing teeth, whether they only need a single implant, or the implants will be used for a bridge or implant-retained dentures.
For many, one of the reasons they may put off seeing this treatment is concerns about the cost of dental implants. Though these procedures will vary depending on the patient’s situation and amount of work that needs to be done, we tried to get a general idea of what someone might expect to pay for a dental implant.
Here’s what the dentists had to say:
Implant dentistry, in which a titanium root replacement becomes a part of the jaw and able to support a crown that will act like a tooth fixed into the mouth, is a wonderful option to help replace missing teeth. They can either take the place of traditional dentures or partial dentures that come in and out, or can stabilize a denture to allow more confident eating. The investment for dental implants is very dependent on the situation. Some people have sufficient bone to place a dental implant and others require special procedures to augment the gum and bone first. In some cases, the sinus may even need repositioned to allow for implant placement. Special x-rays or scans may be done to visualize the area to plan the ideal situation. Sometimes, only a single implant may be needed, but other times, multiple special types may be placed.
Implants can be made of different materials—while most are made of titanium, some have special coatings or millings to allow for better healing. Many can be shaped differently. Some are very precise with an individual serial number for traceability and others may be more of a standard manufacturing. The doctor that places the implant will know what would work best in each individual situation and may favor a particular type that they have good experience with. After the implant is placed and integrated into the bone, it is uncovered if that wasn’t able to be done at the first visit, and either a healing cap or an abutment, a special support to allow a crown to be placed, will be placed on the implant. Some implant systems can be more costly than others and the cost of each part added to the overall cost of the implant.
Because each situation is different, and may vary by the amount of bone, the health of the patient, the challenge of the surgery and restoration, and the types and numbers of implants that need to be placed, as well as geography and the experience of the dentist placing the implants, it is very difficult to give a price for an implant. It is best to go to a dentist that you trust that has been recommended to you and let them diagnose your situation and give an accurate estimate based on your situation.
Fees for dental implants, like any fee in dentistry, are determined by many factors. Overhead factors (cost of implant components and training for implants, materials, and supplies used, dental staff wages, facility, etc.) vary from dental office to dental office and are a major factor in dental fees. The training and skillset of the dentist placing the implants also play a role in fee determination typically. The brand of implant being placed is also a major contributor to fee development. If grafting procedures, such as bone graft or skin grafts, are necessary at the time of the implant, that can also significantly affect the implant fee. Once the implant is placed, then the fees for the restorative phase vary dramatically based on the type of materials used, the brand of the implant, whether or not implant parts need to be custom made or can be ordered stock from the implant manufacturer, and the laboratory involved in the restorations. Therefore, it is impossible to accurately and ethically answer this question. Anyone advertising a specific fee for dental implants should always be questioned about what is included for that fee.
When considering implants we need to look at the big picture. We need to assess the overall oral health of the patient. Are there other teeth that could become a problem soon? Is there any untreated gingival and or bone disease? Is the bone where the implant will be placed in good condition, or is there enough bone? Some areas of the mouth may not be good locations for an implant and only a 3-D scan will tell us that. Is the sinus in the way, thus requiring additional surgery? We like to start with a 3D scan to determine whether an implant would be feasible. I then give the patients their alternative options and approximate cost. Generally, an implant will cost between $4,000 and $5,000.
As having a dental implant placed is a surgical procedure, and may require bone or other tissue grafts, the cost for the patient isn’t insignificant, and can clearly vary based on the health of the individual’s mouth, and whether or not there is enough bone to support an implant. As such, some people may be tempted to hold off on the procedure. However, when teeth are missing, jaw bone tends to recede, meaning less bone structure could be available for dental implants if the patient waits.
Is waiting too long to get dental implants a big problem? In our next blog on this topic, we’ll follow up with the dentists for their thoughts. Be sure to check back for their responses!