How much will it cost?
There is no hiding the fact that dental implants are expensive. Single tooth dental implant treatments range from $1500 to $7500. When attempting to explain why they are so expensive it is necessary to understand that the consumer is not buying a product but rather a service. It is very easy to forget this fact when price shopping. Dental implants are “medical devices” implanted into living tissue. This living tissue also is home to nerves, blood vessels and sinuses. The placement of dental implants is both art and science.
A dental implant has the potential to last a lifetime. This is a fantastic potential when the implant is positioned well. Unfortunately, if the implant is poorly positioned this can begin a horrible nightmare for many years to come. Because the oral cavity is such a small surgical environment as little as a two millimeter error can be the difference between success and failure. The removal of a poorly placed implant is difficult, bone destroying and expensive. Who performs your dental implant treatment directly affects your chances of success. Studies have proven that “experience” does positively affect the outcome of dental implant treatment.
The cost of purchasing the materials varies wildly in the industry. This directly affects the retail price for the consumer. Good practices balance supply cost with results. A quality-oriented practitioner will use the least expensive system he or she can find that still routinely yields great results. Unfortunately, most of the time, there is little correlation between consumer cost and quality. Offices base their prices on a variety of factors which include: supply cost, laboratory cost, regional averages, treatment difficulty and ego.
When one considers all of the above factors, cost seems a little less important. Beware those practices that are on either extreme. There is little justification for those practices charging in excess of $2000 for the implant, or $2000 for the crown. Unless bone grafting is necessary, there is no justifying a single implant restoration where cost approaches $5000. Conversely, those practices where the implant is $1000 and the crown is $1000 should also raise concern. At these prices, one can only consider this an attempt to be a high volume office. This is one procedure that requires education, patience and caution. It cannot be done in a rush, on a high volume basis.
While there is no dental implant specialty there are specialties that have unique training that directly benefit the dental implant patient. Prosthodontics is an American Dental Association (ADA) recognized specialty that requires three additional years of advanced training in dental implants, crowns, bridges and dentures. Within the American College of Prosthodontists there is a subgroup of 375 private practice members who have earned their Board Certification. Finding a board certified prosthodontist is one important step in giving oneself a good chance for successful dental implant treatment.
How much do dental implants cost?
This is a question that can only be answered by first making it more specific, and therefore, initially more complicated. In getting the answer, you will learn more about your actual needs, and be able to make a more accurate assessment of what the true costs will be.
A dental implant is simply a titanium device implanted in the jaw bone to support, or attach, an artificial tooth or teeth. The cost of implant treatment depends on many individual factors including:
- The quality, amount, and location of bone: If there is adequate bone width and height in the area that the implant is needed, there will be no additional costs. Commonly though, bone is missing or deficient in shape or size where a tooth has been removed. Bone grafting may be a possibility, and can cost between several hundred to many thousands of dollars.
- The number of teeth that need to be replaced and the type of artificial teeth that will be used: Individual cemented crowns, screw retained crowns or fixed bridges, removable (snap on) bridges or complete dentures stabilized by implants. A single implant crown may cost between $1,000 and $3,000. Implant bridges replacing several or many teeth range from $3,500 to $25,000. Removable bridges are often less costly than fixed ones.
- The type of implant(s) that will be appropriate: Standard implants are usually 3 to 6 millimeters in diameter and 6 to 14 millimeters in length. They are designed to accept a variety of abutments to customize the connection to many types of teeth. They typically cost between $1800 and $2500 per fixture. “Mini” implants are around 2 millimeters in diameter and can sometimes be used to support very small individual teeth, or combined in a group to support a removable denture. These do not allow for any type of abutment change and thus are limited in the number of applications. They cost in the range of $300 to $900 per fixture.
- The number of implants needed to support these teeth.
Will my insurance pay for my implants?
Generally, dental implants are not covered by dental insurance. However, more companies are covering dental implants today than they did ten years ago. In many cases, your insurance can help pay for the teeth that are placed on the dental implants, if not the implants themselves. You can call your dental insurance provider and ask if dental implants are a covered procedure.
Will it hurt?
Most dental implant procedures involve less discomfort than a tooth extraction. When we see patients for follow up visits, most of them tell us how surprised they were with how little discomfort they had! (TRUE!) Our office is equipped with doctors and a staff trained to safely provide conventional methods of anesthesia as well as a variety of intravenous sedation anesthesia options. Operative procedures will seem both pleasant and brief when effective local and IV anesthesia is chosen.
How long will it take?
Implant treatments range from the immediate replacement of an extracted tooth to over six months when jaw surgery and bone grafting is needed. The average treatment is three to six months. Most of the time required to complete implant treatment is taken up just waiting for the bone to fuse completely with the implant. This usually takes a few months and goes on below the gum line without any feeling or awareness. In more complex cases treatment may be longer.
Will I be without my teeth?
During the initial healing period, dentures or partials can be worn over the implants while they mature. The temporary teeth will be made prior to the removal of the existing teeth in cases where tooth removal and implant replacement is required.
Are dental implants as strong as natural teeth?
Yes. In many cases, implants are actually considered stronger than natural teeth and provide full functionality. After treatment, patients will be able to enjoy all of their favorite foods while benefiting from healthy, aesthetically-pleasing prosthetic replacement teeth.
What are the benefits of implant dentistry?
- Enhanced ability to chew your food.
- Replace removable full and partial dentures with fixed bridgework.
- Improved appearance.
- Increase in self-confidence.
- Prevent further bone loss.
How successful are dental implants?
Implants have been successfully placed since the 1950's. With ongoing technological advancements and more durable implant materials, ten-year success rates have been reported at 93 percent or better.
Is treatment available for failed implants?
Although implant failure is considered rare, it can occur. In these cases, the failed implant can be replaced with another.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
Anyone who is healthy enough to undergo a tooth extraction is likely a suitable candidate for dental implants. However, these are certain contraindications that may complicate or prohibit implant treatment. Patients with certain conditions, such as chronic diseases, heavy smoking or alcohol abuse may not be candidates for implants. Your doctor will determine whether or not this treatment is right for you after a complete physical exam and evaluation of your medical history.
Is age a factor?
No, there are no age restrictions for dental implants.