The High Cost of Dental Implants: Understanding the Factors

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Anyone who has missing teeth understands how this affects their lives. They are embarrassed to smile or talk and may also have difficulty chewing and speaking properly. There are a few tooth replacement options, but dental implants are one of the most popular because they’re durable and long-lasting.
 

If you are considering a dental implant procedure to replace missing teeth, one of the things that might be holding you back is the cost. Dental implants have become increasingly popular over recent years, but many wonder what makes them so expensive.

This blog post will dive into why dental implants are more costly than alternative treatments such as dentures or bridges and explore all the factors contributing to an implant price tag. We will also discuss ways to save on dental implant procedures and alternative treatment options. Read on for all your questions about dental implants to be answered!

handsome happy young man sitting in medical dentist center.  

How Much Is a Dental Implant?

The cost of dental implants varies, but here’s an estimate of the prices of each type of implant treatment:

  • Single dental implant: Starts from \$4,000 to \$6,000 per implant

  • Implant-supported bridge: Anywhere from $6700-$20,500. This range includes two dental implants spanning three to four teeth.

  • Implant-supported dentures: Start at $4,900 and range between $15,000 to $18,000 for complete dentures

  • All-on-four dental implants: Range between $23,000 to $27,000 per upper or lower arch of teeth

These amounts can go higher or lower depending on a few factors. Your dentist will give you a more accurate estimate during your initial consultation. They can determine the number of implants you need, the type, and any associated treatments you might need.

Why Are Dental Implants Expensive?

Dental implants can be costly due to the following reasons:

  • The treatment requires surgery.
    The placement of a dental implant requires minor surgery. The gums will be incised to expose the jawbone and embed the dental implant. This procedure requires using surgical equipment and other implant machines to help your dentist precisely position your implant.

  • The treatment requires anesthesia.
    Since the procedure is quite invasive, local anaesthesia is needed to manage pain and discomfort. In some cases, sedatives or general anaesthesia are given to patients with severe dental anxiety or more complex health condition.

  • The treatment requires expertise and experience.
    Dental implant placement is a complex procedure that requires a high level of expertise and experience. Dentists who provide this service have gone through additional training and education to become proficient in the placement of dental implants. This additional training and experience allow them to provide high-quality treatments, which ultimately benefit the patient in the long term. 

  • Specialised materials are used.
    Dental implants are usually made from titanium, a biocompatible material that fuses with your jawbone and rarely causes complications. Titanium doesn’t corrode, rust, or break down easily, which is why it’s the ideal material for this procedure. However, due to its excellent properties, titanium can be expensive compared to other metals used in prosthetics.

  • Additional treatments may be needed.
    Aside from the implant placement procedure, you may also need additional treatments. If you have insufficient jawbone to support the dental implants, bone grafting may be needed. Similarly,  a sinus lift may be needed to make room for the proper placement of the implants in the upper jaw. These procedures are necessary for the success of the treatment, and they incur additional costs that further increase the total expenses of dental implant placement.

  • The recovery period is long, requiring several dental follow-ups.
    After the implant procedure, your dentist will need to monitor your healing process. This means that you’ll have to attend several follow-up sessions to monitor the progress of healing and osseointegration. Each appointment requires additional expenses for the clinic and dentist’s fees.

What Factors Influence the Cost of Implants?

After hearing the answer to the question “how much are dental implants,” you may want to know the factors influencing your total expenses. Here are some of them:

  • The number of implants you need.
    The more implants you require, the higher your expense will be. 

  • The material used.
    The implant price can vary depending on the type and brand of the material used. Titanium is a popular choice, but your expenses may increase significantly if you use other materials, like zirconia, which is more costly.

  • The complexity of your case.
    If a patient has a pre-existing condition, such as periodontal disease, or requires a bone graft to provide a stable foundation for the implant, the procedure will likely be more complex and, therefore, more expensive.

  • The location of the dental clinic.
    Dental clinics in urban areas may charge more for their services than those in more rural areas, and practices in certain parts of the country may have higher costs of living and higher overhead expenses, which can drive up the cost of dental implants.

  • Your dentist.
    The experience and qualifications of the dental professional performing the procedure is an important consideration when it comes to the cost of dental implants. More experienced and highly trained dental professionals may charge more for their services, but they may also offer higher expertise and better outcomes.

  • Whether or not you have a dental health fund.
    If you have a health fund that pays a portion of your total cost, your out-of-pocket expenses will be lower.

Are There Additional Procedures Needed for Dental Implants?

In some cases, you need to undergo some dental treatments to be able to receive dental implants. These are:

  • Tooth extraction.
    If the tooth to be replaced by the implant is still present, you need to have it extracted before placing the dental implant.

  • Tooth cleaning.
    Your dentist must thoroughly clean your remaining natural teeth before placing the implant to prevent infection or other oral health issues.

  • Dental filling.
    If you have a tooth that is decayed, your dentist must put a filling on this tooth before proceeding with the implant treatment. Reducing any dental infection can also reduce the risk of dental implant infection after the treatment.

  • Bone grafting.
    You may require this procedure if your jawbone lacks enough density and healthy tissue to anchor the implant. It involves using bone from another part of your body (or a donor’s) to create a stable foundation for implants.

  • Sinus lift.
    Patients who have a low sinus floor can benefit from this procedure. It’s done by adding new bone material between the sinuses and upper jaw to make more room for implants.

All these treatments require additional costs that further increase the total expenses of dental implant placement.

How Much Do These Procedures Cost?

Here’s a list of the estimated cost of these additional procedures:

  • Tooth extraction: Up to $600 per tooth
  • Tooth cleaning: Can cost up to $333 
  • Dental filling: A simple filling can cost up to $275, while a more complex filling may cost up to $488. 
  • Bone grafting: Around $2,500 to $3,000
  • Sinus lift: Around $5,000 to $10,000

To get a more accurate estimate, visit your dentist for a thorough assessment.

Are Dental Implants Covered by Health Funds?

Some private health fund companies pay a portion of the cost of dental implants if it’s part of the patient’s policy. However, the cover and extent may vary depending on your plan. You can check with your health fund provider for more details.

Are There Ways to Save on Dental Implant Procedures?

If you don’t have health funds that can help cover a part of your total expenses, here are some ways how to cut costs:

  • Compare costs.
    Get quotes from different dentists in your locale and compare prices before you decide. They might not give you an exact price until you’ve had a consultation, but you can still ask for estimates.

  • Look for clinics and dentists with specials or discounts.
    Some dental providers have ongoing promotions to help you save money on procedures like implants. They also partner with third-party payment providers to make treatments more affordable.

  • Ask your dentist about payment plans.
    You can also inquire if they offer instalment payment plans or other financing options so you can spread out the cost over a period of time. Many offer weekly, monthly, or other payment plans to make treatments more accessible.

  • Check out health fund packages.
    Consider getting a health fund that covers dental treatments, like implants. This is under a supplemental policy covering “extras.”

Are There Alternatives to Dental Implants?

If dental implants are not an option for you, the following dental procedures can be considered as alternatives:

  • Removable partial or complete dentures.
    These are removable prosthetic devices that replace missing teeth. They may not be as durable and long-lasting as implants, but they can still help restore your smile.

  • Fixed bridges.
    This involves attaching a replacement tooth to surrounding teeth for support. It’s more economical than getting an implant, but it doesn’t last as long. Also, your dentist needs to grind the healthy natural teeth for bridge placement.

  • Resin-bonded bridge.
    This involves attaching the replacement tooth with resin instead of grinding the adjacent teeth. The resin bond is placed behind the teeth to secure the false tooth in position. This is less invasive and can be reversed if needed.

Final Thoughts

Dental implants are an excellent restoration procedure for missing teeth and can significantly improve oral health. But, this dental treatment is costly, reaching up to thousands of dollars, depending on your situation. It’s always a good idea to check with your dentist first how much dental implants are since it varies. Inquire about payment plans or other ways to save on the treatment they offer. You may also ask your health fund provider about the cover they provide.

If you are considering getting this surgical procedure, we can help you determine if you are a good candidate and give you a more accurate quote for the total cost.

Ellen Stirling Dental is a modern clinic equipped with state-of-the-art dental technology to help us provide you with quality dental care services, including dental implant surgery. Our team comprises dental professionals with years of experience performing this treatment. We will take x-rays and other tests to assess your oral condition during your consultation. We will also discuss why dental implants are expensive so that you can make an informed decision on whether to go through with the treatment. Ultimately, we will inform you about our flexible payment plan options if you don’t have a health fund to help you pay for your treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Dental implants offer a wide range of benefits to people who suffer a loss of teeth. One of these is their ability to restore your teeth’s function, including how you chew and speak. Dental implants can also improve your appearance by preventing facial sagging and give you more confidence when smiling by closing teeth gaps. In addition, they help prevent bone loss and encourage bone growth as they stimulate bone cells. Lastly, dental implants are a long-term treatment that helps prevent other teeth from shifting or moving out of their natural positions, improving oral health.

This depends on your situation and your body’s ability to recover. Generally, a dental implant can take around 6-12 months to complete the entire procedure. The duration may vary, especially if additional procedures are needed.

The lifespan of your dental implants depends on how well you maintain them. On average, they last up to 10 to 15 years, but their lifespan can be extended until 25 years if you take care of them properly.

The number of dental implants needed to replace a whole arch of teeth can vary depending on the individual case. Usually, a minimum of four to six implants are required to support a full arch of replacement teeth. However, the actual number of implants needed can depend on several factors, such as the quality and density of the jawbone, the type of implant chosen, and the number of teeth being replaced. To get a more accurate answer to this question, have a thorough assessment with a dental professional.

Dr. Rachit Shah

Author

Dr. Rachit Shah

Dr. Rachit Shah has a caring and holistic approach to your healthcare. He brings a gentle and modern approach to dentistry; one aimed to create a painless and anxiety-free experience whilst using conservative methods to create long-lasting and highly aesthetic smiles.

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