Dental implants are small, screw-like metal posts placed on your jaw bone through minor surgery. They provide a strong foundation for replacement teeth, such as dental crowns, bridges, or dentures. However, the price of dental implants is relatively high due to several factors. If you are missing one or more teeth and are planning to have this treatment, it’s essential to understand the cost considerations.
This blog post will answer the question of why dental implants are expensive. It will also discuss if health funds cover the procedure.
- 1 What Does a Dental Implant Procedure Entail?
- 2 How Much Does It Cost to Have Dental Implants?
- 3 What Makes Dental Implants Expensive?
- 4 Does Medicare Cover Dental Implants?
- 5 Can I Use My Health Fund to Pay for My Dental Implant?
- 6 What Other Payment Plans Are Available for Patients Without Health Funds?
- 7 Are Dental Implants Worth the Cost?
- 8 Final Thoughts
- 9 Frequently Asked Questions
What Does a Dental Implant Procedure Entail?
Here are the steps you can expect during dental implant surgery:
- First, your dentist or oral surgeon will administer local anaesthesia to numb the area so you don’t feel any pain or discomfort. Some patients may feel pressure during the procedure, but it should not be painful. Some patients who fear injection or more complex cases that need longer time or additional procedures may be put to sleep.
- Your dentist will then cut an incision on your gums to access the bone underneath and place the tooth implant or titanium screw. Once your dentist has accessed the bone, a small hole is drilled, and the titanium post is inserted.
- The gum incision will be sutured to allow healing. Your dentist may recommend temporary dentures to be worn during the healing process.
- Before you leave their dental clinic, your dentist will give you aftercare instructions for faster healing and to avoid potential complications. They will also schedule a few follow-up checkups to monitor your progress while you recover. This also allows them to check and address problems before they worsen.
How Much Does It Cost to Have Dental Implants?
The dental implant cost differs depending on a few factors, but the average cost ranges from \$4,000 to \$6,000 per tooth or single implant. Always ask your dentist for a more accurate estimate.
Below are the factors affecting the price of dental implants:
- Your location and dentist.
In most cases, the dental implant cost in major cities is higher than in smaller towns because of rent, staff salaries, and other overhead costs. It’s also possible that more experienced dentists charge more for their services as they have undergone more specialised training.
- The number of implants being placed.
The price of dental implants increases if you need to get more than one implant due to the additional time and materials required for multiple placements.
- Types of Implant Used.
Several types of dental implants are available in the market. Titanium-based implants are the most common and durable, and they cost less. However, zirconia implants are more expensive and more biocompatible.
- Additional procedures required.
Depending on your teeth and jawbone condition, additional procedures like tooth extraction, sinus lifts, or bone grafts may be needed to increase your chances of a successful implant. This can add more to your overall dental implant cost.
- Dental health fund.
Not all private health funds cover dental implant surgery, as it is considered a cosmetic dental procedure. However, some health funds may cover part of the cost if the implant is necessary for medical reasons. This also depends on your health fund provider and coverage level.
What Makes Dental Implants Expensive?
Below are some of the major reasons why dental implants are expensive:
Dental implants are often made of titanium, a hard and strong metal that is biocompatible. It is also resistant to corrosion and wear and tear, making it a long-lasting option for missing teeth compared to other dental procedures.
- Expertise and time.
Implant dentistry is a specialised field that requires additional training. It also takes more time than other dental procedures, from diagnosis to treatment planning, placement and follow-ups. Note that the recovery time after surgery can last up to three to six months or even more.
- Labour costs.
Dental implant surgeries require specialised dental equipment and instruments, which can add to the cost. The dentist and their team also spend several hours on this surgical procedure, so they charge accordingly for their services. Plus, they use anaesthetics or sedatives to make the procedure easier and more comfortable for the patient.
- Additional Procedures.
If there are pre-existing conditions like tooth decay or bone loss, additional treatments or procedures may be necessary before the actual dental implant surgery, resulting in additional costs. For example, if your decayed tooth is still present, your dentist will perform a tooth extraction to remove it. You may also undergo bone grafting treatment if you don’t have enough bone density to support the dental implant.
- Follow-up checkups.
Regular follow-up visits are also necessary to monitor your progress and check for any signs of infection or complications after the surgery. The dentist will assess your teeth and jawbone during the visit, so they charge accordingly. These are all necessary to increase the success rate of your implants.
Does Medicare Cover Dental Implants?
Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t cover dental implants or most dental procedures. However, it can pay for some dental treatments for eligible children and adults. For example, a child who is 2 to 17 years old from a family already receiving benefits from the Australian government can have dental checkups, fillings, and root canals. Medicare pays $1,000 over two consecutive years for these treatments.
Can I Use My Health Fund to Pay for My Dental Implant?
Not all private health fund providers cover dental implants, as the treatment is considered a cosmetic procedure. Thankfully, some health fund companies offer coverage for a portion of the cost of an implant if it is medically necessary. You should check with your provider to know what they will cover and whether you need to pay extra out-of-pocket costs.
What Other Payment Plans Are Available for Patients Without Health Funds?
If you don’t have health funds to help pay for tooth implants, there are other ways to lessen the financial burden. Many dental clinics offer a wide range of flexible payment options through third-party institutions that you can pay on a weekly or monthly basis, such as:
Most companies require you to go through an approval process, and patients must meet certain criteria to be eligible. They may look at your credit score, income, and tax debt history. You can also apply for a loan or use your credit card to help cover the implant prices.
Are Dental Implants Worth the Cost?
While the upfront cost is high, it may be worth it for those who have one or more missing teeth and want to experience the following benefits:
- Restored teeth function.
Dental implants are designed to look, feel, and function like natural teeth. They also help you chew, bite, and speak without difficulty.
- Improved appearance.
Missing teeth for a long time causes a patient to have a sunken face. Dental implants restore cheek and lip support, which leads to an improved appearance.
- Improved self-confidence.
You can achieve a more beautiful smile with restored teeth. This way, you will no longer feel embarrassed about your appearance. It will boost your self-esteem and make it easier for you to converse with others.
- Prevent bone loss.
Implants are placed directly into the jawbone and fuse with your natural bone, providing stimulation like real tooth roots. This helps retain the structure of your facial bones and prevents further deterioration or bone loss.
- Durable and can last for many years. Compared to other tooth replacement options like dental bridges or removable dentures, dental implants can last up to 25 years with proper care.
A dental implant is a popular dental restoration option for people who have lost their teeth and want to improve their confidence and restore their teeth functions. However, implant treatment is relatively expensive because it requires surgery, a long recovery, specialised equipment and materials, and expertise. For many, the benefits outweigh the cost, and it’s worth the investment in oral health. If you can’t afford to pay for your implants upfront, there are several payment options that you can explore.
You can call us to book an initial consultation and learn more about dental implants procedure and the available financing options.
Timberlands Dental Care is a modern facility that uses state-of-the-art technology to help us provide efficient and quality treatments. Our team of dental professionals are knowledgeable and experienced in performing these procedures. During your implant consultation, one of the dentists will assess your oral health to see if you are a good candidate. If you are, they will explain the procedure and give you an estimated cost of implants based on your assessment. They will also discuss our clinic’s convenient payment plans if you don’t have health funds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Single dental implants and conventional dental bridges are artificial teeth used to replace a single tooth. Dental implants are more durable and long-lasting than traditional dental bridges. Also, they do not require the two teeth on either side of the missing tooth to be trimmed, which is required in dental bridge treatment. This way, dental implants help conserve natural teeth. Teeth implants also encourage bone growth by stimulating the jawbone, which keeps it healthy and strong.
Most patients don’t need general anaesthesia during dental implant surgery. Instead, dentists often use local anaesthetics to numb the area. However, if you have dental anxiety or your case is complex, you may need to be sedated. Be sure to talk to your dental surgeon about any concerns or questions about anaesthetics before the procedure.
A few months after your dental implant placement, you can return to eating whatever you want when the surgical site is completely healed. However, you may want to avoid hard, crunchy, chewy, and sticky foods, as these can damage dental implants. You also want to avoid sugary foods and beverages since these can contribute to dental decay and gum disease in your natural teeth.
If you have a tight budget or are not a good candidate for dental implants, other treatment options exist, such as bridges and conventional dentures (full or partial dentures). However, it’s worth noting that these are not as long-lasting as implants and may require more maintenance, though they are generally more affordable.