If this is your first dental implant, you're in for a surprise. Most people are shocked when they find out how much dental implants cost. Dental implants cost significantly more than just about any other dental procedure. A complete dental implant in the U.S. can cost as little as $2,000, but can easily go up to $5,000 or more per tooth. It's nearly impossible to find a dental implant deal for under $2,000 in the U.S. On the other hand, if you decide to go to a fancy boutique office, you're looking at spending between $5,000 to $10,000 per dental implant. Why do dental implants cost as much as they do? Why can't they just cost as much as a crown or a root canal? Let's take a closer look at the reasons why dental implants cost as much as they do.
Could I get a complete dental implant for $1,000 in the U.S.?
It's impossible to get a complete dental implant for $1,000 or anywhere close to that. In fact, it's very difficult to find a deal on a dental implant deal for $2,000. Be careful with misleading advertisements that claim their dental implant costs just $499 or $599. These low-advertised bargains are for the implant post alone. These prices do not include the full price of the dental implant. You're looking at spending a few thousand dollars more on the remaining implant parts. When inquiring about dental implant prices, be sure to ask for the complete dental implant price. This includes the cost of the implant post, the abutment, and the implant crown.
Could I get a dental implant under $1,000 outside of the U.S.?
Yes. Dental implants cost significantly less outside of the U.S. You could find dental implant deals for as little as a few hundred dollars per tooth if you're willing to travel abroad. This is referred to as dental tourism. It's not unusual for patients desperate for dental work to travel to Mexico, Turkey, India, and other countries where they can receive their dental implant treatment at bargain prices.
There are two major problems when considering dental tourism for dental implant treatment. First, you need to be very careful to find a reliable dental clinic. There are no guarantees that your dental implants are going to last if you choose an incompetent dentist. Paying a bargain price for dental implants that fail in a few years is not a wise idea. The second issue is with regard to the timing of treatment. Dental implant treatment could take several months or a few years. This means that you may have to visit your dentist abroad a handful of times. This poses a big problem if you have to hop on a plane and fly 1,000 miles each time. Therefore, be sure to consider the number of visits that your implant treatment is going to take before undertaking dental tourism.
Important Note: Be sure to note the brand and size of the dental implant that your dentist places inside your mouth. This information is invaluable if your dental implants become problematic years later and you're unable to visit the original treating dentist. Just about no other dentist will touch your dental implants without knowing the exact brand and size of your existing implants.
Have dental implants become more affordable?
Yes, they actually have. Twenty years ago, dental implants were a new technology that was reserved for the rich and famous. Nowadays, just about everyone has one or two dental implants in their mouth. While dental implants are still quite very expensive, their prices have dropped significantly in recent years. Here are some of the reasons why dental implants continue to become more and more affordable:
- More dentists are offering dental implant treatment to their patients and the competition is driving down prices.
- There are now more than 40 different companies that manufacture dental implants. Again, competition has dropped the prices of implant parts and many dentists are passing the savings down to their patients.
- Almost all dentists who offer implants also offer some type of flexible financing options to help their patients afford implant treatment. You can receive your dental implants today and pay an affordable monthly payment until they're paid off. Flexible financing options have allowed many more people to afford their dental implant treatment.
Why are dental implants so expensive?
Despite the fact that dental implant prices have dropped significantly, they are still an expensive item. It's unlikely that dental implant prices are going to become any lower than they currently are. Here are the main reasons why dental implants prices continue to remain at a premium:
- Costly implant parts
- Long treatment times
- Adjunct procedures
- Extent of training
- Lack of insurance coverage
Costly Implant Parts
Almost all dental implants consist of three major parts, which are the implant post, the abutment, and the implant crown. There are other additional parts used throughout the process, which include a cover screw, healing cap, impression copings, analogs, etc. Implant parts are expensive. The cost of these parts can easily add up to several hundred dollars per dental implant. In fact, a full zirconia dental implant can easily set your dentist back $1,000 in parts alone. Full mouth dental implants cases typically cost your dentist over $10,000 in implant parts alone. As you can see, dentists have to charge what they do for dental implants when the parts cost as much as they do.
Long Treatment Times
A typical dental treatment is usually completed in one or two visits, may three or four if there are complications. For example, tooth fillings are typically done in a single visit. A crown typically requires one or two visit, maybe an additional visit if the crown does not fit. The same goes for root canal treatments. On the opposite hand, dental implants require multiple appointments. Implant treatment takes many months, sometimes even years, to complete the work. The average treatment time for a single dental implant from start to finish is about three to nine months. Complex implant treatments, such as all-on-four and full mouth dental implants, easily take a year or longer to complete treatment. The long treatment times is yet another reason why dental implants are so expensive.
You can never get away with just getting a dental implant. The majority of implant treatments require additional procedures. These include tooth extraction, bone grafting, sinus lifts, temporary tooth, etc. These additional procedures can be quite expensive. Sometimes, they cost as much as the dental implant itself, thus doubling your treatment costs. What started off as $2,000 ends up being $5,000 by the time your dentist is done adding additional procedures!
Extent of Training
Dental implants are difficult to perform. Placing dental implants is very difficult and requires lots of surgical experience. Restoring dental implants is very technique sensitive and much more challenging than restoring regular teeth. Most implant dentists spend years and years training and perfecting their implant skills. This additional training costs your dentist hundreds of thousands of dollars. We're not even including the cost of implant equipment, which is another hundred thousand dollars on top of that (a CBCT machine alone costs $50 to $100,000). Naturally, implant dentists have to charge a premium for this skill set that requires decades to perfect.
Lack of Insurance Coverage
Dental insurances have a habit of covering the least expensive treatment. Since dental implants are very expensive, most dental insurance companies have decided not to cover them. Only a handful of the best dental insurance plans actually cover dental implants. The vast majority of them deny your dental implant claim for one reason or another. Plus, the few insurances that cover implant treatment, only one implant at a time. If you want all-on-four, snap-on-dentures, or full mouth implants, you're out of luck! There is also the annual insurance maximum which makes it nearly impossible to use dental insurance for implant treatment. As a result, having dental insurance is rarely ever useful when it comes to dental implants. At the end of the day, almost all patients end up having to pay for their own dental implants with little to no help from their dental insurance plan.
Are dental implants worth it?
The majority of people who have dental implants in their mouths believe that they are absolutely worth it. In fact, most people who start receiving one or two dental implants, go on to receive a handful of implants over their lifetime. There are countless benefits to dental implants over dentures and dental bridges, such as:
- A well-placed dental implant lasts forever
- You can eat, chew, talk, and smile with more confidence
- Dental implants preserve your jawbone
- The implant crown maintains your facial muscles to reduce wrinkling
Of course, there is a small percentage of patients who regret their implant treatment. These are typically individuals that run into numerous issues with their implants and are unable to complete their treatment. Unfortunately, most of these individuals have sought out the least expensive implant bargain. As a result, they ended up with an inexperienced dentist, a cheap implant brand, an incompetent dental lab, etc. It's important to find a skilled and reputable dentist that knows what he or she is doing and not cutting corners. Do some research to find yourself a reliable implant dentist that has performed numerous successful implant treatments. Find yourself a highly qualified implant dentist and you're guaranteed to love your dental implants!