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Dental Implant Cost Guide

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Dental Implant Cost Guide

If you've ever had a question about dental implants prices, you are not alone. Questions about the price for dental implants is one of the most common questions that the agents at the Dental Insurance Shop receives. Even with a ton of information available online, it is a very difficult task to compare prices for dental implants, or to even get a good estimate for the average cost of dental implants. Many patients seeking a price estimate don't know whether to look for a price per tooth, or whether the cost they are looking at includes the implant, abutment, and crown. We created this guide to Dental Implant Prices to help guide you in your dental cost estimate.

What is the average cost of dental implants?
The average cost of dental implants in the United States is around $5,000. That is the out of pocket cost for the implant itself, the abutment, the crown, and the surgery.

Why are Dental Implants so expensive?
The initial consultation is extremely important. Almost all of the planning for the rest of the treatment will be done during this phase. The dentist will also assess the health of your teeth and jaw bone, which is a very important part of the treatment. When implants fail, it is usually because something was missed in the planning phase. To save money, it's likely you'll be able to combine the initial consultation with the first part of the treatment. Be aware that you will definitely need diagnostic imaging in this visit (likely a panoramic X-ray), which may result in an additional cost. X-rays are absolutely necessary for this procedure, and you don't want to trust a dentist who will do an implant without them.

There are usually two appointments involved in placing dental implants; one to place the implant and then, after a healing period of about 3-to-6 months, another to place the abutment and crown. Some dentists use "immediate load" implants that can have a temporary crown placed immediately after the implant is inserted. You will still need a second appointment for the permanent crown. In some cases, an additional appointment is needed to adjust the implant after the permanent crown is placed.

You are also paying for specialist care. Dental implants fall into the category of restoration dentistry and have their own category of implantology. Implant surgery can be done by a periodontist, an oral surgeon, or a dentist with advanced training in implantology. Because of the specialist training necessary to perform the procedure, the dental professional involved may charge a higher fee than for other services.

Some dentists will require that the patient undergo general anesthetic during the procedure, meaning the patient is asleep for the whole procedure. This is more expensive and requires an anesthesiologist to be present for the entire surgery. Some dentists think this is unnecessary and will perform the procedure using a local anesthetic, meaning the areas they are working on are numbed but the patient is awake. Some patients might be too nervous during the procedure if they are awake, and if this is a problem you should consider asking for a sedative to ease your anxiety if you'll be under local anesthetic.

The implant you are purchasing is made up of three parts: the implant itself, the crown, and the abutment (which attaches the crown to the implant). In many cases, the price a clinic shows you is only the price for the implant which screws into the bone, and doesn't include the abutment and the crown. Make sure you ask for the price for the whole deal, including the surgery, anesthesia, anesthesiologist, and any other fees involved in the surgery.

What if you've lost too much bone in your jaw?
Patients who have lost a lot of bone may also require bone grafts. Bone grafts are performed in a separate procedure, several months before the implant is placed, and will require several months to heal and for the graft to fuse into the regular bone. This extra procedure will, of course, mean additional costs. This also means you won't be able to have the procedure done in one trip, since the graft will take time to grow into the bone and you need to allow tissues to heal.
Although advancements in technology mean implants can be done with less bone than before, poor osseointegration (meaning the implant didn't fuse into the bone very well) is one of the main causes of dental implant failure, so if it is recommended it's an important step to take. Otherwise, you'll probably have to pay to have the implant removed, a graft done, and then the implant redone. Also, if there is significant periodontal disease (disease in the gums or other soft tissues of the mouth), they will need to be completely treated before surgery.

Average cost of a Dental Implant broken down
The average cost of an uncomplicated case breaks down similar to this:

  • The implant itself costs between $1,500 - $2,000
  • The abutment that screws into the implant costs between $250 - $475. (If it needs to be custom fabricated, which is most common with front teeth, if can cost an additional $100 - $200
  • The crown can usually be the most expensive part of the dental implant with costs between $1,000 - $3,000
  • Surgeon fees are typically from $500 if you go to a dental school up to $2,000 at a high end dental office with a very experienced surgeon
  • There may be additional costs if an anesthesiologist is needed
  • Cost of prescriptions if you need any

Are Dental Implants still worth the cost?
Dental implants are the Cadillac of dental restoration. Dental restoration is exactly what it sounds like: the art and science of replacing damaged parts of the mouth. This can involve anything from single teeth, as we are discussing here, to full-mouth restoration like the all-on-4 procedure (which is like a fleet of Cadillacs). They are widely considered the best option for replacing teeth since they are the closest thing to natural teeth. Manufacturers know that dental implants have become the standard of care for dental restoration and invest significant money into research and development for them. They also use extremely high-quality materials, since dental implants are designed to be extremely durable and long-lasting. Therefore, implants can be quite expensive because they are the best treatment option.

Dental implants are reputed to be the most cost-effective option for dental restoration. Other options, such as a tooth-supported bridge, have a limited lifespan and must be replaced. The American Dental Association reports that the average bridge must be replaced every 10.1 years. However, clinical studies have shown that implant-supported crowns (like we're discussing here) are effective at 20+ years in 95% of cases.

Mini Dental Implants are typically covered in the same way regular Dental Implants are when it comes to dental insurance.

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