Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Paying for Pricey Dental Implants

For many people, dental implants are the best solution for replacing missing teeth. Removable dentures rest on the gum line and bridges use adjacent teeth as anchors. Dental implants, on the other hand, are a long-term solution because they’re surgically adhered to the jawbone. This procedure doesn’t come cheap, though.

Why are Dental Implants so Much More Expensive?

When it comes to dental implants – and other types of teeth replacement – you get what you pay for. Since dental implants are a better solution than bridges and dentures, they cost more, too. Bridges often lead to weakened and decaying anchor teeth. Dentures don’t always fit perfectly and they can interfere with taste. Dental implants don’t have any of these problems.

My Dentist Doesn’t Usually Charge a Lot, Though

Right, but you may not be having the work done by your regular dentist. While some dentists may be willing to do the work, many will refer you to an oral surgeon, a prosthodontist or a periodontist. That can cost you upwards of $3,000 just for one tooth.

While you may think that you can just find a dentist who’ll do the surgery for cheaper, you may need a professional who’s specially trained. Also, if the implant is going in close to a sinus cavity or a nerve, you don’t want to cut any corners.

I Can Get Generic Medication. Can’t I Get Generic Implants?

You can, but they may not be reliable, even though they’re cheaper. The dental implants with the highest success rate – 90% or higher – are the ones made by the original manufacturer in Sweden. While there are a few other generic dental implants on the market, they haven’t been thoroughly studied and the success rate may not be dependable enough. Make sure to ask your dentist which dental implants they’ve worked with and the success rates they’ve seen.

Are There Any Discounts Available?

Absolutely, and finding them is one of the best ways to save money on dental implants. Discount plans like the ones from Brighter.com and DentalPlans.com charge between $80 and $99 per year, but you’ll see between 15% and 25% off your dental implants. Since implants are so pricey, the discount can really make a difference.

You may also be able to get quality implants at a bargain price by visiting an oral surgery school. This isn’t a good option for everyone, but if your dentist feels that you’re a good candidate, research schools through the American Dental Association. Students will be closely supervised and in an advanced stage of their studies, so the risk isn’t as high as you may think.

Won’t My Insurance Cover the Procedure?

Chances are that your insurance doesn’t cover dental implants. However, if you have a pre-tax flexible spending account through your employer, you can tap into that to pay the bill. Most of the time, dental implants are done in two parts: putting the implant in and covering it with a crown approximately three months later. Ideally, you should plan the first part of the procedure for the end of the year and the second half for the beginning of the next year. That way, you can use double the amount of the account.

Janine McDonald is an avid blogger and contributor to Precisionperio.net, a leading periodontist offering dental implants in Houston TX .


  1. Chaun says

    I appreciate your perspective on this matter, especially as it pertains to low cost generic alternatives. While I cannot speak to dental implants in particular, the movement towards high quality low cost alternatives are beginning to gain traction in the US as they pertain to orthopedics- especially in orthopedic trauma where a great deal of products on the market today have not changed nor advanced in many years. Those same products, however, go up in price year over year defying the most basic laws of economics.

    It took years for generic pharmaceuticals to be accepted in the average household due to the same concerns you mention regarding quality. There are many great American based companies (Emerge Medical, Parcus, DeRoyal, OIC, etc) that are reintroducing sustainability to healthcare costs in this great nation with orthopedic implants. I hope for you and for the general populous that there is a dental company not too far behind.

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