This is a question that we get EVERY day, and to get absolute clarity, I think it is important to understand the process for getting dental "implants" before I answer.
When most people ask about the cost for dental implants, they are really asking how much it costs to get an actual TOOTH in their mouth, not just for the implant itself. The implant is similar to the root of a tooth, and you need something to go on TOP of the implant in order to actually use it.
As you can see above, there are 3 components required to restore an individual implant to a tooth: the implant itself (bottom), the abutment (middle) and the crown (top).
The cost for the dental implant placement and surgery will vary, depending on the difficulty of the surgery. Generally, the first phase including dental implant placement will cost anywhere from $1700-2200 dollars. If you lost your tooth a long time ago, it is not uncommon that you will need additional grafting procedures which may drive the cost of the "implant" surgery higher. Implants need bone width and height to be placed in the body; if you don't have enough bone because it has resorbed away, you may require grafting or alternative techniques with mini dental implants.
I HAVE AN IMPLANT? WHAT ABOUT MY TOOTH?
Now that you have a dental implant, you still need to get something on it. Most offices will take an impression and pour a mold, which will replicate where your tooth is on a model.
Once we have a model, the dental laboratory will take and design your abutment and tooth. Abutments come in two varieties, stock (premade) and custom. In OUR office, we use custom abutments only. Stock abutments are "pre made" and not specific to a patient. They are generally shaped like a cylinder and not like a tooth. I'll be frank: I don't use them because they can cause many long term problems with implants, including leakage, problems with the implant crown coming off and bone loss around implants.
Custom abutments, which are designed for YOUR mouth and YOUR specific situation cost generally around $550-800 dollars, depending on the design and case specifics.
Now that the lab has fabricated the abutment, we can finally put a crown on the abutment and you have your "tooth" at last. The cost of the crown for your implant may be anywhere from $1200-$1600, in general.
CUSTOM ABUTMENTS AND IMPLANT CROWNS
Getting body parts replaced isn't going to be cheap, but fortunately, a tooth is the least expensive body part you can replace. The total time frame from missing tooth to replacement can be anywhere from 3 months to 9 months and the approximate total cost is summarized below. If you are getting more than one implant and more than one tooth replaced at a time, often times we can reduce our time and I will also reduce the overall cost of the process at our office.
Total Cost Per "Tooth
FOR SECURING PARTIALS OR DENTURES
Many patients with multiple missing teeth or that are GOING to have multiple missing teeth are outstanding candidates for dental implants as well. Dental implants don't always just "replace a tooth", but can be used to secure a denture, bridge, partial or other device in someone's mouth.
If you suffer from ill fitting dentures or partials, the number one way to increase their fit is by attaching them to dental implants. An example video is shown below for a full lower denture on FOUR dental implants- TWO dental implants are the minimal option.
If you are going to get a lower denture, I would STRONGLY suggest that you consider getting at minimal, two lower dental implants. Lower dentures are notorious for not fitting well due to the anatomy of the body, but their fit and your satisfaction can be greatly improved by simply having two dental implants placed.
The total cost for implants in these situations can often be lowered because we can place the implants at the same time as the removal of the teeth. This lowers the surgical costs and can get you a much better fitting denture when the implants heal in ~3 months.
Total Cost, 2 Dental Implants Attached to Denture
Denture Attachment Abutment
Some patients want to keep a removable device, but want maximum fit and retention. For them, a splinted bar with a denture fitted over is an optimal solution. The bar adds cost, but also maximizes the fit of the denture so that it does not touch the gums heavily, relieving pressure and irritation of the prosthetic.
Overdenture and Supporting Bar
Overdenture Bar, In Addition to Implants
FIXED (NON REMOVABLE) OPTIONS FOR MANY TEETH
For some people having something removable is not an option. They need a replacement for their teeth, but it needs to stay fixed in place. Or maybe you have something removable, but you are tired of it and want to get something better. We also have a solution for this. This treatment has many names and techniques, such as "All on Four", "Teeth in a Day", "Fixed Dentures", "Fixed Implant Bridges". One example video is shown below.
This option is the most expensive, but it is by far the most comfortable and cosmetic solution for people replacing all of their teeth on the top or the bottom. The total cost for such a treatment, including all surgeries, implants, extractions, temporary bridges, will run between $17,000-$25,000 per arch (upper or lower). This treatment option is reserved for those that need the most discrete and turnkey solution for total tooth replacement.
Four to Six Dental Implants and "Fixed" Bridge/Prosthesis"
$21000-$25,000 Per Arch
WHICH LEVEL OF SEDATION IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
This is the second most common question I get asked, besides how much will it cost.
The first question I ask in response is, "how much dental anxiety do you have?" Everyone is a little different in this area; some people are very frightened and some people have very little anxiety in the dental chair.
Overall, dental implant placement is almost always LESS uncomfortable than the extraction because you don't leave with a hole in your mouth. The dental implant is placed and the gums are sutured back into place the day of the surgery, which allows the body to heal faster.
However, some people want sedation, which I do recommend in general, and we offer different levels of sedation depending on your desires. For all techinques, we still use local anesthesia (Lidocaine/"Novocaine") to numb the area entirely.
I want to be put to sleep
Best Sedation Technique
Local Anesthesia Only (Numbing)
Nitrous Oxide ("Laughing Gas")
Oral Sedation + Nitrous Oxide
IV Sedation* (*Referral to Oral Surgeon)
If you take multiple medications for anxiety or have a past history of narcotic, alcohol or other drug abuse, lower levels of sedations may not be as effective for you and you may require IV sedation to have any affects.
HOW IN THE WORLD CAN I PAY FOR ALL THIS?
Most patients don't whip out a wad of cash and pay for all this upfront (but you are welcome to do so if you choose!) We accept all major credit cards, cash and checks.
Many patients choose a financing option to pay for their treatment over time. We frequently use CareCredit Financing for many patients, which can break down the payments over 6,12, or 18+ months if needed. CareCredit has interest free and interest based financing options which we are more than happy to help you apply for.
In addition, one advantage of implants in our office is that the costs for all phases are not due upfront, only as we progress. For example, you can pay for the implant upon placement, then 3+ months later when it is ready to "get a tooth on it", you can pay for the abutment and crown at that time. If you need more time to pay for the implant or abutment/crown, you can continue to wait. Letting the implant heal for 3 months or 6 months, generally does not cause any harm and gives you time to save up for the restoration.
Click link above to go to the Care Credit Website
WILL MY INSURANCE COVER MY DENTAL IMPLANT?
In some cases, insurance companies can cover up to half of the cost of dental implants and their parts. This is mostly dependent on which coverage option and which insurance company and plan your employer (or yourself) chose. If you have questions, feel free to give our office a call and one of our team members can help you understand your plan and benefits better.
SUMMARY OF IMPLANT COSTS
The chart below summarizes the costs of dental implants in general. If you skipped to this from the top and are confused, I advise going back to review your specific situation, because your personal needs and dental condition will affect which option will work best for you.
I hope that this review of dental implants has helped you in making a decision for your healthcare. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at the office or send us an email to email@example.com with any questions.
Jay Littlefield, DDS