Cost of Dental Implants & Restoration

Cost of Dental Implants & Restoration

The first fundamental in understanding the costs of dental implant treatment is that there are two separate parts of the treatment—surgical and restorative. In fact, for the highest level of care, two different specialists are typically involved. The surgical treatment is performed by an oral surgeon, the restorative treatment by a restorative dentist.

Some people make the mistake of trying to compare the cost of an implant crown with the cost of a simple crown on a tooth. This ignores the cost of the surgery. In actuality, the cost of an implant crown is about four times the cost of an ordinary crown. It would be more in line to compare it with the cost of the other option for single tooth replacement—a dental bridge—which costs three times as much as a crown. This makes replacing a single tooth with a dental implant a little more expensive than replacing it with a bridge.

Dental implant costs can vary widely from case to case. We’ll try to be helpful here, to help you budget for this expense. They include the fee for the actual implant fixture, plus the crown, bridge, or denture that is attached to it. These are two separate procedures, and the fees are quoted separately.

Please be careful about price shopping for this service. If you get the cheapest implants, but then they only last for three years instead of twenty years, have you really saved any money? A good periodontist is meticulous in his technique with this procedure and with everything he does, in order to give you the most comfortable and longest-lasting dental implants possible. He attends two hundred hours worth of continuing education courses each year in order to keep abreast of the latest techniques and to constantly refine his skills. Shortcuts may start out being cheap, but they cost much more over the long run.

At  the best Dental implant office in Austin, the cost of placing the implant root form can vary from about $1500 to $3000, depending on the situation. This fee is for the surgery alone and doesn’t include the restorative cost of actually placing the implant. If bone grafts are required, there will be extra cost for that. If one tooth is missing, only one fixture will be required. If many teeth are missing, there could be considerable variation in the number of fixtures needed, depending on the situation and your preferences.

Placing a crown on top of the implant fixture will cost an additional $1500 to $3000, depending on the material used and any special requirements. If several teeth are missing, a crown unit may be required for each missing tooth. Placing a denture that is stabilized by implants, or doing a hybrid restoration or complete implant reconstruction can be considerably more complicated. Costs here can go into the tens of thousands of dollars.

You may get some help from dental insurance for implants. However, most insurance plans provide for benefits based on the least expensive treatment option for your case. So you may get some benefits, but don’t expect a generous response from your insurance company. If you remember that they’re in business to maximize their profits you can avoid frustration in dealing with them.

And finally, beware of hunting for bargains here. If you later have problems with your dental implant treatment, those problems can be very serious, even leading to a complete inability to eat properly, loss of bone or mouth structure, or other serious problems. For a better understanding of dental implant costs, please see our cheap dental implants page.

Full Mouth Dental Implants Cost

Complete restoration of your mouth with dental implants can be very complex and can become quite costly. The mouth is a complex structure. Not counting wisdom teeth, there are twenty-eight individual teeth. They need to be designed to be aesthetically appealing. There are also complex chewing motions in multiple directions and the individual teeth have to be shaped to fit into those motions. There are two complicated temporo-mandibular joints that control the parameters of these motions, and measurements need to be taken of the distance between them, and their slopes and inclinations in various planes of motion in order to duplicate those motions on an engineering instrument so that a harmonious bite can be created.

The mouth is an organ of the body, and it is a rather important organ. The health of the entire body depends upon the ability of the mouth to process the proper foods. There are many cases where the absence of functioning teeth has been the precipitating factor in total body decline.

Besides this, the mouth performs a vital communication function.

The fee for complete reconstruction of the mouth will vary considerably from case to case. Some cases require bone grafting, some don’t. Some patients elect to have the most stable and most expensive options available, some choose more economical approaches. When you receive your estimate for your case, we suggest that you compare it to the costs of restoring other organs in your body. Here is a list of the costs of various organ replacements:

  • Kidney Transplant – $259,000
  • Liver Transplant – $523,400
  • Cornea Transplant – $20,700
  • Bone Marrow Transplant – $676,800
  • Intestine Transplant – $1,121,800

(Source – Milliman Survey)

Investment in Dental Restoration Vs Life Expectancy

Also, when you consider the cost of restoring your mouth, consider the number of years you plan to enjoy it. Besides the medical necessity of adequate nutrition, there is an enjoyment factor. What is it worth for you to be able to maintain your health by eating adequately plus to be able to enjoy your food for the rest of your life? That is a way to consider your investment in an understandable framework. Statistics show that, at the time of retirement, males can expect to live to the age of approximately 82, females to approximately age 85. You may want to base your evaluation of the cost on the number of meals you expect to enjoy.

Cheap Dental Implants

Dental implant fixtures are expensive for the dentist, and dentists have a strong temptation to search for cheap dental implants. There are some things that you, as a consumer, need to be aware of to help you obtain the best care and the best value for your money.

There are about two hundred companies making these fixtures. But only six of these have published juried research about the fixtures they make, to prove that they are safe and effective. Published research is required to obtain ADA (American Dental Association) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval.

But research is expensive. And making implant fixtures to the precision tolerances and with the high-quality materials required for long-term service in the mouth is also expensive. The result is that there is a great cost discrepancy among the various fixtures that are sold to dentists. A dentist can buy a “generic” fixture, made in the Philippines, for example, for $3 to $5. The name brand equivalent of the same fixture will cost one hundred times as much—from $300 to $500.

You can see the temptation for the dentist. But quality-conscious dentists will insist on using only name-brand fixtures.

The use of cheap dental implants that do not meet FDA or American Dental Association standards leads to various problems, including loose implants, dental implant infection, and ultimate dental implant failure. The picture to the right shows a fixture retrieved from an implant failure case. The screw, which wasn’t manufactured to the strict tolerances required by the FDA, became loose. This caused it to accumulate oral debris and ultimately to become infected. The patient had to repeat the surgery and have new fixtures placed.

Another problem of cheap dental implants, besides the milling standards, is the metal they are made of. If the fixtures aren’t of a high quality, they can have toxic metal impurities in them. See our page about toxic dental implants for more information on this issue.

The bottom line for you as a consumer: Beware of searching for cheap dental implants. What you think is a bargain now may be very costly for you in the long run.

For information about the very best quality available in dental implant care, please see our best San Antonio dental implants list. There is a great deal of information posted there, as well as photos of his work and testimonials from grateful patients.

Dental Implants and Insurance

You could easily become frustrated with insurance coverage for dental implants if you expect too much from the insurance company. But if you remember that the company is in business to make money, you will find the issue easier to deal with.

The dental insurance company needs to compete, and it does this by trying to offer a satisfactory plan to the employer for a competitive price. Since dental implants are not needed by a majority of people, there isn’t much incentive for the company to offer generous coverage. It’s hard to sell that kind of plan to an employer.

What they do is, when you are missing teeth, they will pay benefits for the least expensive treatment option. So, let’s say you’re missing several teeth on the upper arch. The least expensive way to treat that would be with a removable partial denture. Well, you don’t want that because it means you have to wear hardware in your mouth, and it moves when you chew, and it is hard on the teeth it attaches to. You feel they should cover dental implants because that is clearly a superior treatment. But they aren’t a charitable organization and what is “best” for you isn’t their concern. They’re in business to make money for their shareholders, and it doesn’t make sense for them to pay thousands of dollars for a treatment when they can pay a few hundred.

So if you can move away from the entitlement mentality and into the “you get what you pay for” mentality, you’ll be much less frustrated and will be content for any help you can get from your dental insurance for implants.

Plus, be aware that all dental insurance plans will have an annual cap on the amount they will pay, and that this annual cap is set pretty low–around one or two thousand dollars. Again, this is to keep the plan economical for the employer.

Thus, since your dental implant costs will be mostly or all out-of-pocket, you need to be especially careful about your choice of an implant dentist. Since insurance won’t pick up the bill if mistakes are made, make sure your dentist is one who will do it right the first time. See our page about choosing the best implant dentist for tips.

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