That Million Dollar Smile: Breaking Down the Cost of Dental Implants
Losing a tooth can wreak havoc on your self-confidence and appearance. This is what's involved in the cost of dental implants and why they're worth every cent.
Losing a tooth is a stressful experience, and it's easy to think it's your fault. That depends a lot on specific circumstances. But there are also risk factors that make tooth loss more likely, including being male, smoking, and having diabetes.
After losing a tooth, you've got a few options. By far the best one is dental implants.
Figuring out the cost of dental implants can be confusing and frustrating. Keep reading to find more clarity on dental implants' prices.
The Cost of a Dental Implant
First off, you should know this: getting a dental implant is not like getting a cavity filled. Any dentist can fill a cavity. Not any dentist can give you a dental implant.
Dental implants cost so much in part because the dentist is performing a type of oral surgery. It's not the type of thing that can be done in one session either.
Instead, it takes months. It can even take a year or more, depending on your dentist's schedule and the time required for your mouth to heal between treatments.
That extra time can benefit both your mouth and your pocketbook. A single implant can easily cost between $2,000 and $3,000, if not more.
Why Are Dental Implants So Expensive?
That above price is before insurance. Unfortunately, most dental insurance plans will only help a little with the cost of dental implants.
You can expect your dental insurance to cover 50 percent of restorative services. So if a dental implant is $2,500, does that mean your insurance will cover $1,250?
Probably not. Many plans cap the amount covered each year.
If that amount is $1,000, then that's the most help you'll get in a year. And that's assuming you haven't used any part of that $1,000 for other dental procedures.
If you're experiencing a sense of sticker shock, you're not alone. The price is daunting. But you can take comfort in this: dental implants get built to last.
How Dental Implants Work
The first part of a dental implant is, well, implanted in your jaw. This part will look like a screw.
But it's not any screw. No, dental implants use a titanium alloy. It's supposed to mimic a real tooth's root.
That part goes below your gum line. Seeing this on X-ray can be surreal, as it looks like you've got a screw from the hardware store planted in your jaw.
You need good bone quality for the implant to attach. Some people are lucky to have thick jaw bones already. If you don't, you'll need to factor in the added expense of a bone graft.
The second part is a porcelain or ceramic crown. This is the part that looks like a tooth. In fact, it looks so much like a tooth that no one will be able to tell it's not "real."
Understanding the Cost of Dental Implants
The cost of dental implants is prohibitive to many people. Some may have to wait years before they can save up enough money to replace a lost tooth. Others may never have enough funds.
That's true of many modern health costs. If you can pay for the cost of a dental implant, count yourself lucky. And make sure to floss.
Want to know more about health care costs? Check out our health archives.