But why are dental implants expensive?
Dental implants can be costly because they take time, and the procedure may include a few dental appointments. While the initial procedure only takes one to three hours, healing time might last up to three to six months.
Aside from the complexity of the process, you also need to consider the different implant materials used and additional procedures (e.g., bone grafting and sinus lift) that might be required during the entire process.
It’s worth noting, though, that the cost of dental implants might only look expensive on the surface. But if you consider its long-term benefits and its edge over other alternatives, the expenses can be justified.
When deciding whether to get implants, think of it as a lifetime investment.
In case your medical condition or overall dental needs necessitate a tooth implant placement, here’s a guide to help you keep that piggy bank safe and sound.
If you have dental insurance and are unsure whether it will cover your treatment or not, the more you have to stick around.
In the following, we’ll discuss everything you need about dental implant costs, insurance coverage, and related financing options.
What’s In This Article?
How much do dental implants cost?
A single tooth implant (not per procedure) can cost around $1,500 to $3,000. Plus, the materials used in the procedure are priced at about $750 - $2000 for the abutment (the part that attaches the crown to the implant) and $800 - $3000 for the crowns.
Again, we’re only talking about the price per implant and the material cost. If you include the expenses on additional procedures (e.g., tooth extraction), regular dental visits, or pre-op and post-op care, the overall treatment cost for a single tooth implant can reach up to $3000 to $5000.
On the other hand, full-mouth dental implants can cost around $45,000 to $90,000. Since there are different approaches to full-mouth dental implants, prices may still be lower or higher.
For instance, these so-called all-on-4 dental implants or hybrid dentures are priced around $24,000 to $50,000.
An All-on-4 implant comprises a denture plate connected to four titanium implant posts strategically placed along an arch and inserted into the upper and lower jawbone. Its purpose is to restore bite functionality and teeth appearance.
These facts might be a hard pill to swallow. Still, given the effectiveness and reliability of dental implants, they can offer more bang for your buck.
It’s also worth noting that there are factors determining the cost of dental implants. And learning these factors can help you better understand why you’re paying such a hefty price.
Factors affecting dental implant cost
When you think about your dental implant procedure and its cost, imagine you’re investing in a real estate property.
Some critical factors that may determine your property’s value are its location, the materials used to build the infrastructure, and the type of property (residential or commercial).
Apply the analogy to dental implants, and you'll better understand how much you'd pay for a typical procedure. That said, here are the three main factors that may impact the total cost of dental implant surgery.
There are several reasons why the cost of dental implants can vary in every US state. Some of the factors that contribute to the variation in cost include:
Cost of living - states with a higher cost of living tend to have higher prices for dental services.
Competition - as basic economic theory demonstrates, lower prices can result from firms competing for customers. Similarly, insufficient competition can result in dominant businesses using their market power to charge higher fees.
State regulations - Each state in the US has its own rules and licensing requirements for dental practitioners. These regulations can impact the cost of dental implants as providers may need to invest more in meeting regulatory requirements, which can increase their prices.
With dental costs continuously spiking a record high all over the United States, some patients resort to a trend called dental tourism. It's touring or traveling to countries offering cheaper yet quality dental services.
According to Medical Travel Market, the world’s top dental tourism destinations in 2022 are:
Dental Implant Materials
Dental implants comprise three essential parts: the implant, abutment, and crown. And each piece plays a vital role in the procedure’s success. Implant materials also have varying costs that may impact the overall pricing of dental treatment.
The fixture or the implant post is a cylindrical screw implanted into the patient’s jawbone that will act as an artificial tooth root. Implant posts can be titanium or zirconia (ceramic implant) due to their biocompatibility or property to be compatible with living tissue.
Manufacturing zirconia can cost higher than titanium; thus, zirconia implants can be pricier. Nevertheless, both materials are non-toxic and can maintain the health of the gums around the implant.
You also have the crown that is attached to the abutment. While various material options are available for an implant crown, such as porcelain or metal, zirconia is the most recommended. It is, however, the most expensive material.
Lastly, the abutment resembles a tiny metal-colored tooth sticking out of the gum tissues. The abutment isn't screwed into the implant post until the root integrates with the jawbone.
Typical abutment materials include titanium, surgical-grade stainless steel, cast gold, zirconia, and polyether ether ketone (PEEK). Abutments in the US can average around $700 - $2000.
Considering the costs of implant materials alone, you already have a few thousand dollars to pay on top of the initial consultation and other professional fees.
The Type of Implant and Additional Procedures Involved
No two dental implants are equal. And every dental implant type has its unique purpose, complexity, and design. The more complex the surgery is and the greater the number of procedures involved, the higher the dental implant costs can be.
For instance, a dentist might perform a sinus lift or a bone graft to provide a strong platform upon which a dental implant will be placed. One common reason dentists may require a bone graft or sinus lift is because of the deterioration in the jawbone or gum tissue often caused by tooth loss.
The average cost of a sinus lift or open surgery can be between $1500 and $3000 for one side and $3000 to $5000 on both sides.
There’s another less invasive technique called the osteotome method. It is performed to place implants into the maxillary bone without drilling or creating an opening into the jawbone. Instead, a dentist places the material through a tooth socket and attaches an implant with a healing cap right after it.
Osteotome sinus lifts can cost between $900 to $2000.
These prices can change due to factors such as the severity of bone loss and the type of sinus lift or bone grafting material to use. In such a case, consulting a qualified prosthodontist or oral surgeon is essential.
With the knowledge of all said factors, you can manage your expectations, explore other options, and ultimately plan and budget wisely.
That said, let's discuss the possible tooth implant financing options you can leverage as you proceed with your treatment.
Financing Options for Dental Implants
The cost of a dental implant can be prohibitive if you’re looking for an efficient and long-lasting tooth replacement method. That's why it's crucial to find a payment plan that will fit your budget and allow you to stick with your long-term dental goals.
The good news is that plenty of financing options are available to help you save money while getting the dental care you need.
Some standard financing options include private insurance plans, medical credit cards or dental loans, personal membership, or government assistance programs.
Dental Insurance Coverage
Patients frequently ask whether their dental insurance will cover the cost of their dental implants. Our answer is twofold:
Yes, if replacing the missing teeth is critical to your health and general well-being, your insurance provider might cover the procedure.
And no, if the purpose of the implant procedure is purely cosmetic or medically unnecessary.
Regardless of the reason, it’s essential to review your insurance policy. Before your treatment, you can ask your insurance company the following questions:
- What percentage of the procedure does the policy cover?
- What is my annual maximum out-of-pocket cost?
- Do I need a referral before receiving dental implants?
- Are there “waiting periods” before insurance benefits are available?
- What are the “Exclusions” and “Special Conditions” of the policy?
We understand that getting clear answers about what's covered by health insurance and dental coverage can be confusing. But by communicating your concerns to your insurance company and dentist, you can make knowledgeable choices, prevent unforeseen expenses, and optimize the benefits you are entitled to.
Medical Credit Cards or Dental Loans
Medical credit cards offer affordable ways to finance dental expenses, provided timely payments are made. Special financing options include "No interest if paid in full" or reduced-interest rates for a certain period.
On the other hand, a dental loan is like any other form of loan requiring a certain amount of money from a lender or financing institution to finance costly dental procedures, such as dental implants. It is also considered a personal loan requiring a predetermined schedule repayment.
With dental loans and credit cards, you can often pay for dental procedures with no upfront costs, allowing you to receive the care you need without worrying about a large initial payment.
While dental loans and credit cards can provide access to funds for dental procedures and offer flexible repayment terms, there are also potential downsides to consider, such as:
- High-interest rates
- Annual and late fees
- Limited options
- Potential for debt
Some dental institutions offer personal memberships allowing patients to pay a monthly or annual subscription for preventative care and discounts on other treatments like dental implants.
For instance, United Dental Care's plan gives its members a 15% discount on dental implants and 25% off on dental fillings, tooth extractions, inlays and onlays, and dental crowns. And that’s just for $39 a month. Their personal and business membership plans have no maximums, deductibles, or even waiting periods.
Dental care memberships can provide more flexibility in scheduling appointments, as they may not have the same restrictions as traditional insurance plans.
Health Reimbursement Accounts
If you’re employed, ask your employer if they support a Health Reimbursement Account or HRA.
An HRA is a type of health plan employers sponsor for their employees. They set aside money (the HRA) for health care costs, including dental care. Employees can use their health reimbursement accounts to help pay for eligible medical expenses.
Keep in mind, though, that dental implants are only eligible for reimbursement under HRA, if used for dental disease treatments.
Need Implants? Consult Our Dentist
Don't let the cost of dental implants serve as a significant roadblock to achieving that perfect new smile because a well-functioning set of teeth and a healthy mouth can be valuable assets.
Here are some words of advice:
You should never carry the burden of paying for a dental procedure that can lead you to debt. You can still go for cheaper, yet still effective tooth replacement options such as dental bridges, dental crowns, or dentures.
But if your dentist indeed recommends an implant, you have various payment options to choose from and help you minimize your expenses or save money.
The key here is to talk openly with your dentist so they can understand your current financial situation and offer alternatives.
At Culver City Dentist United Dental Care, we can work with you to create a treatment plan that will fit your budget and help you achieve your desired results.
We want to ensure everyone has access to quality dental care, and we are here to help you every step of the way. Your oral health is our responsibility.
Book a free consultation now or reach us by visiting our dental office at 3909 South Sepulveda Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90230.