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When a tooth is extracted or congenitally missing, you want to replace that tooth for function, cosmetics, and comfort. Dental implants are essentially a biocompatible screw anchored into the jawbone, attached to abutment posts and a natural looking crown. The result of a dental implant is the most natural and comfortable replacement for an actual tooth.
An implant also provides a strong foundation for fixed and removable prosthetics. An implant screw must be made from a biocompatible material for high success rates, or the bone could reject it and osseointegration will fail. Most implants are made from titanium because it is corrosion resistant, stable, and lightweight.
There are different types of dental implants depending on your bone condition, dentist treating you, and treatment cost. An individual treatment plan will address your needs and review your process, post-care, and cost.
A single dental implant is ideal when one tooth is missing and you want to replace it for esthetics, comfort, and function. Single dental implants will require a single crown that connects to the implant screw. Treatment can span up to 6 months depending on your medical and dental history and if you require any bone grafting for additional support. A patient should have healthy gums and strong bones to support and sustain a dental implant.
The average cost of a single tooth implant can range from $3,000 to $4,000. Remember, there may be additional costs for necessary bone grafting, the dental abutment, and crown, which can cost up to $2,000.
A dental bridge is a wonderful option for many because it is an aesthetic and permanent solution for several missing teeth. A bridge helps restore function by preventing other teeth from moving, allows for proper eating and speaking, and gives a natural aesthetic to a smile. It functions by an implant acting as an anchor for the bridge instead of a natural tooth.
An implant-supported bridge can be costly depending on the size of the dental bridge and number of implants needed. Typically, an implant-supported bridge can start at $5,000 and cost up to $16,000 for more complicated and longer bridges.
Missing teeth means some type of restorative replacement, whether that is a removable partial or denture. A dental implant provides more stability and security from a removable appliance and greater comfort. For those who fear an appliance from slipping, you may be a candidate for an implant supported partial or full denture. This will ensure greater stability and more comfort while eating and speaking.
An implant-retained denture can help replace missing teeth, but also help support the jaw bone and maintain a youthful appearance. For many people, it is more comfortable and stable for the denture to rest on the implants while not putting excessive pressure on the gums.
If you are planning for an implant-retained denture, it can cost anywhere from $12,000 to $30,000 depending on the quality of the denture, the number and type of implants, and the dentist’s location.
An alternative to an implant-retained denture is a 3-on-6 implant which is essentially 3 individual dental bridges attached to six dental implants. It is beneficial for patients who are opting for a permanent and esthetic solution. Since there are little to no acrylic “gums”, the 3-on-6 gives a natural appearance when the dental crowns sit against the gums. The type of implant functions well because it distributes biting forces equally among the 3 bridges.
3 on 6 implants can range from $10,000 to $15,000 per arch in cost.
This type of implant is recommended when a patient is looking for a secure solution to missing lower teeth. Four implants are used for an entire upper or lower jaw (or both arches). This type of overdenture is a permanent restoration, but can be removed for cleaning and clinical examinations at dental visits. It is a single unit that may feel bulky because of excess acrylic used. It is generally less expensive than individual implants.
The average cost per arch ranges $15,000 to $20,000. There is usually a wide cost range for several reasons, including:
Traditionally, insurance will not fully cover dental implants because they are considered a cosmetic procedure and not a necessity. While dental insurance will rarely cover an implant, they will typically cover related costs like radiographs, dental extractions, and portions of less expensive treatment options like removable and fixed appliances.
Fortunately, there are several finance options for those without any dental insurance to help achieve that perfect smile. Many dental discount plans offer major savings on expensive dental treatment. This means that dentists that participate with these savings plans will provide high quality service for reduced fees. Care Credit and Lending Club offers a payment service similar to a credit card used for medical and dental treatment and helps finance costly services not covered by insurance.
Many dental universities have student run programs that offer affordable care provided by dental residents and students under the supervision of experienced dentists. Lastly, many dental offices will work with patients on flexible payment plans to help offset the expensive cost of implants.
Luckily for many people, there are plenty of ways to help make dental implants affordable. With enough research, you can find popular and reputable financing solutions to afford your dental treatment.