They say nothing in life is free. Well, that certainly applies to dental implants. If you need more than one or two of these tooth implants, you may have to take out a second mortgage on your house or raid your child’s college fund to cover the expense! Let’s try to understand why dental implant surgery is so expensive and how to find low cost dental implants.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a small screw which is surgically inserted into the jawbone to substitute for the decayed or missing tooth’s natural root. It is used to replace a missing tooth. This screw is made of titanium because titanium is one of the few materials that will be accepted by the body. After the screw is implanted, the bone must be allowed to grow around it, to create a stable anchor. Once this occurs, another component is placed (called an abutment) to support a crown. The abutment is also usually made of titanium or very sturdy plastic and the crown will usually be made of porcelain.
Dental implants are very durable and, with proper care, can last a lifetime. The stigma of dentures makes implants seem like the perfect solution. But why are they so expensive? And is it possible to find affordable dental implants?
The High Cost of Dental Implants
Basic tooth implants can cost $1,250 to $3,000 each, but the cost can escalate to ten times those amounts if the case is complex, if there is a need to replace more than one tooth, if bone grafting is necessary, and if other restorative work is required. These costs plus the costs of the surgery, anesthesia, and the crowns that come after healing all add to the total cost.
Dentists argue that dental implant surgery demands a team of highly trained professionals and none of those specialists come cheap. Dentists have to go through extensive training to learn how to do implants. The titanium is expensive as are CT scans that give the dentist a better view of how things are going than more affordable x-rays.
How Do I Find Cheap Dental Implants?
It’s hard to believe you will find them free, but here are some suggestions for finding affordable dental implants. Just remember, caveat emptor (buyer beware). Do your research, know your options, compare prices, and you may find affordable dental implants to fit within your budget.
- Get a second opinion – Different dentists will have different ideas about what you need and the costs could be very different. Maybe you don’t need as many tooth implants as the first dentist suggested. Fewer implants could save you money.
- Find an implant clinic – Dentists who do dental implant surgery once in a while will probably incur higher costs. Clinics that are dedicated to dental implants may be a much more cost effective option.
- Go out to the suburbs – Things are always more expensive in the middle of the city. Ask friends for recommendations and travel out to the suburbs for cheap dental implants.
- Check your local dental school – You may find that faculty members supervise while their students provide cheap dental implants and other discounted dental work as part of their dental school curriculum.
- Investigate “same-day” implants – This may be a good way to get more affordable dental implants. “Same-day” implants are a reasonably new offering where the titanium post and temporary tooth are placed into the jawbone all at once in a single visit. There are some restrictions on chewing certain foods, but you may have your permanent tooth in place in 30 days whereas the traditional tooth implant process may take 6 to 8 months.
- Take a dental tour – There are many clinics in other parts of the world – Europe, Asia, South America, Australia – that do much more affordable dental implants. Many of these dentists are equally well-trained but the lower cost of living in these countries enables them to offer cheap dental implants. And even with the added cost of travel back and forth, the total costs can be substantially lower. Search the internet for “dental tours” or “foreign dental care” to see what may be available.
No matter which option you choose to find cheap dental implants, do careful research, ask for references, check credentials, etc. You may end up with high-priced dental implants for a very reasonable price.