One of the most popular tooth replacement methods among dental patients today is the dental implant. Once you learn more about this remarkable technology and its advantages, you’ll understand exactly why so many patients and dentists alike are choosing implants to replace missing teeth. Having said that, you should know that implants can be costly. And while most dental insurance policies will pay for at least a portion of the cost, chances are that you’ll still need to pay a certain amount out-of-pocket. In this article, we answer the question, “What are the most affordable dental implants?” Hopefully, with the information we provide below along with a consultation from your dentist, you can determine whether or not dental implants are the right choice for you.
What You Need to Know about Dental Implants
Some Advantages of Dental Implants
Unlike some other tooth replacement options, such as dentures and dental bridges, an implant is considered to be a permanent solution to missing teeth. That’s because the implant is literally a part of the jawbone, so the crown on top isn’t going anywhere. But the permanent nature of implants is only one advantage. Here are some of the other benefits of dental implants:
- Implants don’t require any special care. If you have a removable bridge, a partial denture or a full set of dentures, you’ll need to take out the appliance before going to bed at night and make sure that it’s soaking in a cleaning solution. Implants, on the other hand, can be properly cared for simply by brushing and flossing as you normally would
- Implants look and feel just like natural teeth. The dentist or oral surgeon can create the crown to exactly match the shade of your other teeth, which makes it virtually impossible for anyone else to tell the difference between an implant and a natural tooth. Better still, people with implants report that they actually feel completely natural as well.
- Implants are incredibly strong and durable. Unlike other tooth replacement options that only provide between 25 and 50 percent of the biting force of a natural tooth, a dental implant typically provides between 80 and 100 percent of the bite force of a natural tooth. That means that you can enjoy whatever foods you normally would. And implants usually last for several decades and can even last for the lifetime of the patient if properly cared for.
- Implants help to preserve bone density in the jawbone. All bone tissue needs stimulation in order to stay healthy. Tooth replacement appliances that sit on top of the gums (such as bridges and dentures) don’t stimulate the jawbone. But a dental implant provides the stimulation needed to keep the bone density at a healthy level.
The Cost of Dental Implants
As you can imagine, this kind of technology comes with a price tag. That’s not surprising when you consider that the initial insertion of the implant is oral surgery, and that patients need to make periodic trips back to the dentist as the implant continues to fuse to the jawbone. Although the price varies greatly depending on the materials used, the complexity of the procedure, and the fees of the dentist and/or oral surgeon, generally speaking you can expect to pay somewhere between $1,000 and $4,500 per implant. As we mentioned earlier, a good dental insurance policy may cover a portion of the cost. But there are other ways to find more affordable implants.
- Dental discount plans – Rather than paying a monthly premium for an insurance policy, you’ll pay a single annual fee for a dental discount plan. And while it’s true that not every dental practice accepts these plans, those who do offer reduced rates to members. In fact, you can expect to receive discounts ranging from 20 to 50 percent on most dental costs.
- Dental payment plans offered by your dentist – Some dentists offer payment plans to their patients who do not have dental insurance. Typically, this involves making payments over a period of several months. While not all dentists provide payment plans, those who do are usually quite flexible with the payment amounts and the amount of time the patients will be paying them.
- Dentistry schools – If you choose to get your implant through a university dental program, you’ll certainly be able to save on the cost of the implant. In fact, most dental school offer patients as much as 50 percent savings over a regular dental practice. Just keep in mind that it will be a dental student performing your implant procedure, and that does come with a certain amount of risk.
- Special discounts offered by dentists – It’s quite common for dentists to offer “specials” for certain dental procedures in an effort to bring in new patients to the practice. Because the cost of implants can be a bit high compared to other dental procedures, special prices on dental implants are fairly common.
If you’re still wondering what the most affordable dental implants are, we can sum it up in two words: it depends. If you require a simple and straightforward implant procedure, you might pay as little as $1,000. If your situation is more complicated – for example, if your jawbone is weak and you require a bone graft before getting an implant – then the cost will be much higher. The best place to start is by contacting your dentist and scheduling a consultation and an oral exam. Your dentist can assess your current oral health and tell you whether or not you are a good candidate for a dental implant. After that, you can discuss what the procedure would cost and any payment plans, discounts, or other options that might help to lower the cost.