When reviewing and comparing costs for dental implants, it’s important to consider that dental implants are “medical devices” which require a larger team of dental professionals and that the placement of dental implants is both art and science. You are, in fact, buying a service rather than a product – a service that can change your life and give you permanent teeth that will last a lifetime.
What’s Included in Dental Implant Costs?
Initial Consultation. The the first time you meet with your doctor is extremely important. Much of the planning for the rest of the treatment will be done during the first consultation. The dentist will assess the health of the teeth and jaw bone. You will also need diagnostic CBCT 3 dimensional imaging during this visit. CBCT scans are absolutely necessary for this procedure, and you may not want to trust a professional who will do an implant without them.
Surgery. After the initial consultation, you are scheduled for surgery where the dentist will place the actual dental implants and the new teeth are fitted and adjusted. While these won’t be your final restorations, you will leave our offices after this visit with beautiful, fixed, functional teeth.
Follow-Up Appointment. After 3-6 months, when the implants are fused to the natural bone, the dentist will make new impressions of your mouth and prepare a final, stronger, permanent set of teeth adjusted to a perfect fit. This helps ensure that the teeth will last for decades, and provide maximum support, beauty, and function to the patient.
Specialist Care. Dental implants are very technically demanding and highly specialized procedures which require extensive training on your dentists part. Implant surgery can be done by a periodontist or an oral surgeon. These dentists have the training and experience to ensure you achieve the optimal outcome. Prosthodontists are dentists who specialize in dental implant restorations and have years of experience in making your new smile.
Sedation Dentistry. Being sedated while you have dental work completed brings with it many benefits. Your anxiety will be relieved, you will be less aware or totally unaware of the procedure being carried out and your fear will be a thing of the past. Learn more about our Sedation Dentistry.
Bone Grafts. Patients who have lost a lot of bone may also require bone grafts. Bone grafts are performed in a separate procedure, several months before the implant is placed, and will require several months to heal and for the graft to fuse into the regular bone. This extra procedure will, of course, mean additional costs. This also means you won’t be able to have the procedure done in one trip, since the graft will take time to grow into the bone and you need to allow tissues to heal.
Material. The type of material used in the crown can make a big difference. Crowns made of resin are the most affordable, but don’t look nearly as natural as ceramic crowns or porcelain crowns. Porcelain and ceramic also tend to be stronger, which is another reason they’re preferred for visible teeth. Resin crowns are also much less durable and will need to be replaced much sooner than other materials.
Teeth Location. Which teeth are being replaced also influences the cost of treatment. Front teeth are much harder for the surgeon to work on and require more skill to make the implant look like a natural tooth. As a rule, visible teeth tend to be more expensive, and the surgery tends to be longer.
Dental Implants Are More Cost Effective in the Long Run
While more expensive than dentures, dental implants are the more cost-effective option for dental restoration, and provide a more natural, secure, longer-lasting solution. Other options, such as a tooth-supported bridge, have a limited lifespan and must be replaced. The American Dental Association reports that the average bridge must be replaced every 10.1 years. However, clinical studies have shown that implant-supported crowns (like we’re discussing here) are effective at 20+ years in 95% of cases. This study shows a 98.8% 10-year survival rate of dental implants, which means the implants will almost certainly outlast bridges. Other studies have shown the effectiveness of dental implants in the shorter term. This Swedish study showed a 98.2% survival rate of the implant (Not for patients; there were no fatalities reported in the study!) over 32 months with the immediately loaded implants. Implants may be more expensive up-front, but over time their superior value and lifespan mean you’ll be saving money in the long run.