Cosmetic Dentistry Cost
The Price of Cosmetic Dentistry
I’ve added this section simply because there were so many people asking for it! The cost of cosmetic dentistry vary tremendously, depending on several factors:
1. Geographic location. The dentist must pay overhead, meaning that rent, utilities, and so on in some areas are much higher than others. Dentists’ offices at the heart of major cities need to pay a lot of rent or have an expensive lease on the building, which is passed on to the patient as higher costs. Rural areas have lower rents and lower dentistry costs.
2. Dentist’s education. In order to offer excellent services, a modern dentist needs to obtain a lot of high quality continuing education to keep abreast of trends. Tuition costs are high, travel may be necessary, and the office needs to be closed while the dentist is learning. Well-educated cosmetic dentistry costdentists therefore tend to be more expensive.
3. Material quality. There are indeed some dentists who buy low-grade material, such as dentures, implants, or porcelain crowns. This saves money, but gives you a dental device that is sure to fail quickly and perform poorly.
4. Staff professionalism. The doctor can’t do everything, and he or she needs skilled staff to assist in many areas. Well-trained, professional staffs are required for good dental outcomes, but of course must be paid more and thus increase dentistry costs.
5. Lab quality. Dentists can use restorations crafted by skilled local technicians (obviously my choice) or outsource to Chinese or African laboratories that are cheap but inferior.
6. Office technology. Advanced dentistry unquestionably requires updated technology, including diagnostic, laboratory, and treatment equipment.
There are two other warnings that you should bear in mind. First, if your dentist’s fees are considerably lower than the ranges given here, you might want to seriously question the cosmetic dentistry expertise of your dentist. It is extremely difficult for a dentist to provide beautiful cosmetic makeovers for fees much lower than the ones posted here. Second, don’t assume that because your dentist’s fees are within or higher than this range that their work will necessarily be of high quality. We know of ugly and incompetent cosmetic dentistry where very high fees were charged.
The Expense of Cosmetic Dentistry
- The cost of porcelain veneers varies from about $980 to $2,500 per tooth, depending on the factors above.
- The cost of all-porcelain crowns is about the same as the cost of porcelain veneers.
- White fillings for back teeth are priced according to the number of surfaces covered. For a one-surface filling, fees range from $140 to $250. For three surfaces, the range is $280 to $500. Please remember that dental insurance may cover only silver-mercury (amalgam) fillings, and may reduce reimbursement amounts when white fillings are used. However, this practice is becoming less common as white fillings become more mainstream.
- Bonding a front tooth incurs even more unpredictable costs, as the amount of time, size, and expertise required is considerably more varied. You can expect to pay anywhere from $400 to $800 per tooth.
- Invisalign invisible braces and six month braces range from $4,000 to $7,700 for a complete set, depending not on expertise, but the estimated time needed to complete the case.
What Goes Into Cosmetic Dentistry Costs
It is one thing to see what the costs of specific dental procedures, and another matter entirely to understand why they are priced as they are. Learning a few basic facts about cosmetic dentistry costs and practices is a wise move for anyone contemplating them.
You are placed in a difficult position as a consumer of cosmetic dentistry procedures because you are not legally protected from substandard work, as long as the failure is purely esthetic. Cosmetic dentistry is not a legally distinct specialty, even though it requires great expertise. Therefore, if you receive low quality esthetic dental work, your legal recourse is limited to challenging the work from a functional perspective. Your work will be judged by the general dentistry’s standards of quality, not the subjective artistry of the result from a cosmetic perspective.
In short, if your teeth are ugly but functional, you will receive no recompense. Only if your teeth are damaged, unable to chew, etc. will the judgment be in your favor. Therefore, if you choose a dentist because their fees are low, you generally have no recourse if the work fails to meet your esthetic expectations.
Another thing to be mindful of is that an expert cosmetic dentist is someone who has spent many hours away from the office, receiving continuing education. Not only are the course fees high, but also costs of so much lost work time is much higher. The dentist usually has to travel to remote cities to obtain this training, with all the costs, risks, and inconvenience involved. Naturally, the cosmetic dentist will want to be compensated for this tremendous outlay by charging more for their procedures than would a general dentist.
Dental insurance plans are designed to provide you with a basic standard of general dental care. While many cosmetic dentistry procedures are covered by dental insurance plans, they are only covered at a functional level. The insurance company is prepared to help you pay for a crown to physically protect your tooth, but will not pay the extra cost needed to make it beautiful.
Furthermore, some dental insurance plans maintain lists of dentists called “preferred providers,” or “network dentists,” who are willing to discount their fees in order to receive referrals from the insurance company. Don’t expect any expert cosmetic dentists to agree to these insurance company terms.
Finally, expensive materials, extra time and effort on the part of the cosmetic dentist, and the use of high tech, leading edge cosmetic dental labs are all factored into the fee, too. Bearing all this in mind, it is quite surprising how affordable good quality cosmetic dentistry really is!