Dental Implants Affordability & Cost
Dental Implants – Price of Dental Implant & Alternatives
I put this section in simply because there were so many people asking for it! The cost of dental implants vary tremendously and depend on several factors:
1. Geographic location—large metropolitan areas with higher overhead structures are more expensive, rural areas tend to be less. (Unfortunately most the experienced dental implant dentists tend to be in busier areas!)
2. Quality and the amount of continuing education the Dr. has invested varies a lot!. This education can be very expensive both in tuition cost, travel cost, and cost of closing the office (cost of lost production).
3. Quality of the materials used. Yes—some offices unfortunately do buy cheap implants. I can actually buy these from China with who knows what quality!
4. Quality of the staff—the Dr. can’t do everything. He/she needs skilled staff to assist in many areas.
5. Quality of the laboratory services. Again—we can actually outsource to China or Africa for laboratory, or get restoration crafted by skilled local technicians (obviously my choice)
6. Quality of the facility and office technology—Advanced dentistry unquestionably requires updated technology both in term of diagnostic equipment, laboratory equipment, and treatment equipment
With these very general statements, I can say that in the Chicago area the per implant cost is typically $2000 to 3200 per implant. The abutments and crowns or bridges that go over the implant cost from $1200 to $2200 per tooth restored. There may be additional costs for diagnostic x-rays, study models, etc.. Also—the surrounding teeth and gums need to be healthy or you are simply wasting your money. Also, remember the greater longevity, cleanliness, and safety of implants vs. removable appliances. A “courtesy” is often available for larger cases.
Expense and Financing of Dental Implants
With all these factors determining the cost of dental implants, and with such a wide variation in the final cost how can we make dental implants more affordable. Several ways to make dental implant therapy affordable are available:
- Stage the treatment. Not all steps need to completed at once, and some treatment needs to be “spread out” for proper healing!
- Don’t compromise quality of materials or the laboratory used. ”Penny wise and pound foolish?”
- Dental financing with dental finance companies.
- How about 12 months of interest free payments?
NOTE: Due to the wide range of factors affecting cost we do offer a low cost exam option ($27.00) that includes the 3D bone scan.
The decision to replace missing teeth with a bridge or implant is relatively simple. The two different procedures have practically identical prices for an area missing just one tooth. If a large number of teeth are missing, partial dentures are the least expensive option (with a $2,000 ballpark estimate for Chicago). Remember, though, that partial dentures have numerous drawbacks, including low lifespan of the fixture (about 5 to 7 years), increased food impaction and halitosis, and probable compromising of the surrounding teeth.
Cost of Dental Implants–Factors Affecting
Making a decision about replacing uncomfortable dentures with an implant alternative involves weighing a number of factors, including:
1. Amount of bone loss.
2. Desire for esthetics and improvement of facial tone (remember that dentures cause muscle loss and sunken cheeks).
3. Current dental anatomy (smile line, opposing teeth, bruxism/clenching, arch form, etc.).
4. Need and desire for no plastic on the roof of the mouth.
5. Need and desire for the ability to taste food, eliminate food impaction, and not worry about loose dentures.
6. Amount of halitosis (bad breath) and sore gum problems.
7. Financial ability (more on affordability and financing later).
One patient compared the costs of various treatment options using car prices as an analogy:
“Dentures would be like buying a rusted-out wreck. Mini-implants are equivalent to buying a used car. Implant retained dentures are like purchasing an inexpensive car. Implant support overdentures are the same as buying a nice car. And both All-on-Four and implant supported bridges are like buying a topline luxury automobile.”
This analogy, of course, is very broad, and again, the treatment plan depends largely on the individual. An additional consideration is where a patient can begin within the scope of a longer-range treatment plan. For example, a patient may be able to start out with an implant-retained denture, then convert to an implant-supported denture a year later
“But I’m Too Old!”—Quality of Life Issues Dental Implants
Finally, if you think you are too old to consider the alternatives to dentures, consider these statistics. At age 65, a woman has a 40% chance of living another 25 years, a 19% chance of living another 30 years, and a nearly 10% chance of living to age 100! Quality of life plays an enormous role in how you actually live your life.
Let me share a story with you about one of my patients.
Quality of Life or Price – a True Story
One of my more memorable patients was a 92 year woman named Olga. She was in good but not excellent health, being very thin and a little frail, but had a great spirit.
Olga’s complaint was that she could not chew food properly and that her dentures fell out when speaking. Having experienced “old-fashioned” dentistry for her entire life, she now wanted dental implants to restore some of her lost function.
We placed two implants in her upper jaw, and three in her lower jaw to “fasten down” her dentures.
Olga lived to be 3 weeks short of age 96 and moved hundreds of miles from the office. Her daughter came into the office and thanked us “for giving her mother’s life back.” She said that after having the implants placed, her mother regained some of her lost weight and vigor. Proper nutrition and the ability to eat good foods works wonders! Also, her daughter noticed that her mother smiled and laughed more, since she didn’t need to worry about her dentures flying out.
Mostly, her daughter said she was so delighted that her mother could enjoy the last few years being comfortable, eating healthy foods, and being happy again!