Are Dental Implants Just for the Rich?

Let’s just come clean right off the bat here.

Dental implants ain’t cheap.

Some of the common reactions we’ve heard from folks when they find out what dental implants cost include:

  • “Too much”
  • “For millionaires only”
  • “The cost of a small house”
  • “After I hit the lottery”
  • “I almost had a heart attack when I found out”

Totally understandable reactions.

In this article, we’re going to address the costs of implants… so you can get a sense of how much they really cost.

AND… if you have one of the reactions above, we’re going to share a few ways to find more affordable dental implants.

What Are Dental Implants For Anyway?

Missing a tooth (or multiple teeth) due to poor oral hygiene, poor nutrition or playing hockey? Whatever the reason, one of the most popular options for tooth replacement is dental implants.

Some of the reasons they’re so popular is they:

  • Look real
  • Are typically a permanent solution
  • Are low maintenance
  • Give you a lot of options to choose from

Why Getting Dental Implant Cost Info is Tricky

While below we give you some good average cost data for getting dental implants in the US, there is no straightforward, one-size-fits-all answer to the question – how much are dental implants?

When you’re talking costs, there are a few factors that go into it.

So let’s unpack this all so you get a better sense of the costs involved.

First, the implant itself. There are a few parts to it…

  • The implant itself. This is the part that’s inserted into your jawbone (this is done under anesthesia during this so you’ll be in your happy place when this happens!).
  • The abutment. This is the part that attaches to the implant using a screw.
  • The restoration/crown. This is the part that actually looks like a tooth.

Each of these have costs associated with them. And the materials used for each will affect pricing.

Also adding to the costs are things like exams, X-rays/CT Scans, all surgical procedures, etc.

With that background info out of the way, let’s get to the much less than million dollar question…

How Much Are Dental Implants?

Average Dental Implant Cost Per Tooth in 2018:  $2000

Cost Range for a Full Set of Dental Implants in 2018: $24,000 – $100,000

As we said at the start, they ain’t cheap.

Also, keep in mind, the $2000 dental implant cost per tooth figure is just for the implant itself.

Once you lump in the costs of restorations/crows and other things mentioned above, it could add another $2000 or so on average. That brings the total for the whole shebang to an average of $4000 for dental implants per tooth in the United States.

5 Low Cost Dental Implant Options

If you look at those numbers and think there’s no way you can afford them, don’t give up hope.

First, a lot of dentists offer payment plans to help spread the costs out over time. That can help make the cost of replacing your missing tooth/teeth more doable.

Even so, here are some other options to look into to try to bring the costs down and make them more affordable…

Shop Around

Even within the same city, you may find the cost for dental implants may vary widely between cosmetic dentists. If you live in a major city, driving an hour or two to a more rural location can result in big savings.

Doing some research and shopping around could literally save you thousands of dollars. So contact a few implant dentists near you to see how much difference there is in their pricing.

Travel Abroad – Dental Tourism

Dental tourism is a big thing these days. Around 1.4 million Americans will travel abroad for health and dental care according to the group Patients Beyond Borders.

The idea here is to travel to a foreign country where the costs of dental procedures are significantly lower than they are in the U.S. And, while you’re at it, take a vacation while you recover!

For dental care, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Thailand are some of the more popular destination for Americans.

Obviously there are some big risks involved with travelling abroad for health or dental care. You have to really do your homework and make sure the provider you choose is trustworthy and reliable.

No matter how much you may save, complications from a procedure gone wrong in another country isn’t worth the price.

Go To Dental School

No, we’re not suggesting you go to dental school so you can perform the dental implant procedure yourself!

What we mean is that you should contact a local dental school to see if they offer discounted procedures.

Having dental school students perform the implant procedure for you could be a win-win situation.

The students get experience doing a dental implant surgery (under the watchful eye of an experienced dentist) and you get implants for a lot less than you’d pay going to a local cosmetic dentist.

This may not be an option for everyone though. Dental schools usually have a wait list for people who want implants. Plus, they also usually only accept a certain number of people and extend the offer only to those with lower annual incomes.

Dental Discount Plans

Dental discount plans may be a good way to go to save on dental implants and other dental procedures.

With these plans you pay a fee to become a member. Then, when you visit one of the dentists that accept the plan, you can save between 10% – 60% on dental treatment costs.

The great thing about dental discount (also called dental savings) plans is they have no co-pays, no health restrictions, and there’s no annual limit on how many times you can use your plan.

Before signing up for a plan, check out their discounts when it comes to dental implants. Savings will vary from plan to plan, but you can expect to save around 20% or so which can add up to a big chunk of change.

Alternative Options

Dental implants are not the only game in town when it comes to replacing lost teeth.

A tooth supported fixed bridge or removable partial dentures are alternatives that can cost much less than implants. They have their drawbacks though (for example, they tend not to last as long as implants) so you’ll have to weigh those against the cost savings.