At Lawson Dentistry, there’s a question I get all the time: How much do dental implants really cost?
The question is simple — the answer is anything but.
That’s because there are so many cost factors involved in receiving a dental implant, like the severity of the tooth loss, whether other treatments are needed, and the location of the dental implant.
If you just want to see a dollar amount, here it is:
Including a dental implant, dental crown, and all other treatment costs, you can expect to pay $5000 to $6000 to restore a single damaged or missing tooth.
If you want to understand precisely what you’ll be paying for (and how you can potentially save), read on.
Why the price you see may not tell the whole story
If you’ve already started researching the cost of dental implants, the $5000-$6000 range might seem unusually high.
It’s true — sometimes you’ll see dental implants being advertised for between $1000-$2000, and in some cases even in the hundreds of dollars. In those cases, there’s a very high likelihood that you’re only seeing part of the total amount you’ll end up paying.
Those prices are designed to get you “in the door”, so to speak. They might only be for the physical dental implant itself and not include any of the accompanying treatments, or only apply to exceptionally basic cases that very few people actually have.
What should you expect?
For a typical single tooth implant, you can expect the cost to be roughly $2000 for the titanium root replacement and another $3000 for the parts necessary to crown the implant.
Should you need multiple implants and a prosthesis to rehabilitate a full arch (either your upper or lower jaw), the cost would likely range from $15,000 to $30,000 per arch.
Dental implants are an investment
Pricing is important, absolutely. With that being said, for something as important to your life as a tooth replacement, quality is too.
When I talk to patients about dental implants as an investment, I often compare them to the cost of purchasing a vehicle. Many people spend much more than the cost of a dental implant on a vehicle that will spend most of its time in a garage and won’t be kept for more than a decade.
By contrast, a dental implant is something that you’ll use and appreciate each day for decades. Much like a prosthetic limb or a joint replacement, it’s a surgically placed prosthesis that provides long-term restoration of function, allowing you to speak, chew, and smile normally again.
Before those benefits can be enjoyed, however, there’s a process. There’s planning to ensure safe, secure implantation; there’s artistry which goes into sourcing high quality materials and sculpting a well-fitted, lifelike prosthesis; and there are many appointments to restore facial support, smile comfort, and function.
Together with the implant materials themselves, that’s what you’re investing in: high-quality care that enables you to enjoy a healthier, more comfortable life for years to come.
So, when you’re looking around for a dental implant provider, keep those age-old wisdoms in mind – you get what you pay for, and if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
How your oral health affects the cost of a dental implant treatment
Everyone’s mouth is different, and that can affect the requirements of their dental implant treatment. Like laying the foundation for a sturdy building, your replacement tooth may need pre-treatment before it can be securely placed.
In my experience, the three most common pre-treatments for dental implants are:
A dental implant doesn’t always replace a tooth that’s already missing. If a tooth is rotting, decayed, or irreparably broken, a dental implant can be used to replace it, but only after the remains of the tooth have been extracted.
Having enough bone mass is essential for a successful dental implant placement. Without it, the implant can’t securely fuse to the jaw and will eventually fail. Using natural or synthetic bone, grafting ensures the implant site has enough bone for a successful placement.
Severe gum disease can prevent you from receiving a dental implant. While it can’t be cured, it can be treated and brought back to a manageable level that’ll allow you to receive your dental implant without compromising its likelihood of success.
Which added treatment costs you can expect to see
This is a key area to watch. Depending on how the dental office has set up their billing, you may be able to see (and compare) how much you’re paying for each part of the treatment.
To be clear: in most cases that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to pick and choose what you want to pay for. Rather, paying attention to the breakdown of your bill can give you an idea of how much you’re paying for comparable items.
Once you know that, you’ll be in a better position to talk to each dentist about the value that you’re getting for what you’re being quoted.
Dental implants aren’t all the same. There are different structural types, different materials, and different brands, and each of those differences can affect the price.
Unless it’s for a specific health reason, like metal sensitivity, you won’t be able to pick and choose which dental implant you receive; the dentist will make that decision based on their experience and your health needs.
However, the area where you usually do have more control is the crown (tooth part) of your dental implant.
Dental crowns are available in a variety of materials like ceramic, porcelain, gold, silver, and other metal alloys, and you may be able to manage the cost of your dental implant by choosing a more economical material.
Scans & Exams
An x-ray is an x-ray…except when it isn’t.
As you compare dental implant treatment estimates from different dental offices, you might notice that offices charge different amounts for things like scans and exams — up to twice as much in some cases.
That’s not (necessarily) a cash grab. As dental technology improves, dental offices spend thousands on equipment that delivers faster results and greater precision.
Why should you care? Because those qualities translate into patient benefits like safer scans, less-invasive surgery, lower risk of complications, quicker healing, and – ultimately – better treatment results.
As a patient, you can (and should!) speak with each dental implant provider to understand why they charge what they do for scans and exams. You might find that the higher cost is a luxury premium — or that it’s money well spent for better health and peace of mind.
While initial consultations are almost always complimentary, you may see charges for adjustments or other follow up appointments once your dental implant has been placed.
Some dentists include a certain number of follow-up appointments in the cost of the treatment, and some may even offer free lifetime adjustments as long as you’re a regular patient with them.
The cost of follow-up appointments can add up very quickly, so knowing that you need to pay attention to this seemingly small line item will help you do a better job of comparing the value you get from each provider.
Insurance and financing: can they help you save?
They can — although they can also very easily end up costing you more if you aren’t careful about calculating your total costs.
Let’s start by looking at insurance:
Paying for dental implants with insurance
If you have coverage, check it
If you already have a dental plan, start by checking what kind of dental implant coverage, if any, your dental plan provides.
Many plans don’t cover dental implants, and even the ones that do typically only cover 25% to 50% of the total cost.
Don’t forget about long-term costs
If you don’t already have a dental plan, or you’re thinking about opting into a higher tier of coverage that includes dental implants, this is where you need to be extra careful.
Firstly, it’s common for plans to deny coverage on “pre-existing conditions”, so if you’ve already lost a tooth, those plans won’t help you save at all.
Secondly, the monthly premium for plans that include dental implants is usually significantly higher compared to plans that don’t have coverage. That means, if you’re being cautious about getting coverage “just in case”, those higher monthly premiums may end up costing you more than what you end up saving on your dental implant.
Paying for dental implants with dental financing
Dental financing can be an incredible way of stretching out the cost of a dental implant and making it manageable on a budget.
The key is your interest rate.
On approved credit, providers like CareCredit let you pay for your dental implant treatment over 2 years at a 0% interest rate. If you’re eligible for it and looking to make the cost more manageable, this is one of the best options available to you.
Once the interest rates start going up, though, it’s a different story.
With a treatment that costs in the thousands of dollars, high interest rates spread over multiple years can end up costing you hundreds to even thousands of dollars more in interest.
At that point, if you can, you’re better off trying to get a loan or line of credit from your bank or another lender at a lower interest rate.
How to find out exactly what your dental implant will cost
Roll up your sleeves, start scheduling consultations, and be ready to ask questions and crunch numbers — that’s the only way.
If you feel like you don’t know where to start, I’d be happy to be the first dentist on your list.
I stand by everything I’ve written here, so you can be sure that I’ll be ready to answer all of your questions, explain how I bring value to your dental implant treatment, and help you become a more educated patient.
Ready to chat? You can set up an appointment with me here at Lawson Dentistry by using our online contact form or by phone at (515) 278-4366.