Dental implants are the top-of-the-line when it comes to natural and functional replacements for missing teeth, but that excellence can come with a hefty price tag. Replacing missing teeth can have a positive effect on your health, appearance, and self-confidence for years to come, so we think it’s a worthwhile investment no matter what, but here’s a breakdown of the costs.
So why are implants so expensive? For one thing, comparing pricing for dental implants isn’t like comparing pricing for a new car. Dental implants are not simply objects, they’re also service in the form of dental treatment. Looking at dental implant pricing is more like shopping around for a custom deck for your backyard. The cost is going to depend on the time commitment and skill of the carpenter, the materials chosen and the condition of the location where the deck needs to be built.
Let’s Start With the Materials
While the dental implant itself may look like a bolt or a screw, it is not something you could pick up at your neighborhood hardware store. Dental implants are made from titanium alloy. This durable kind of metal is biocompatible and bonds with bone (in a process called “osseointegration”). This is what helps the implant anchor securely in your jawbone, just like a natural tooth’s root would. The exact formulations of titanium alloy used in dental implants today are the result of years of clinical studies and trials. Some types are more expensive than others (just like different types of wood would affect the cost of timber for your backyard deck).
The second part of an implant is the crown. This is the part that looks like an actual tooth at is visible above your gumline. These crowns just like regular dental crowns used to treat decayed or broken teeth. They are made from special kinds of ceramic or porcelain that are made to look and feel like your natural teeth.
Time and Skill
Luckily, as the popularity of dental implants has risen, so have the numbers of dentists who have become trained in dental implant placement. Many dentists already have years of experience placing dental implants to create long-lasting smiles. But compared with other procedures, dental implant treatment isn’t the quickest. Most of the time, the procedure takes a few appointments to complete, usually with healing time required between appointments. The cost of dental implants includes the time commitment of the dentist and the dental staff. Just like for your backyard deck, you have to expect to pay the craftsperson and any assistants for their time.
The ease with which dental implants are placed depends on your specific oral condition. The treatment planning process will involve x-rays and scans to give the dentist a precise idea of what’s where in your mouth. For example, some people who have been missing a tooth for a long time have started to lose thickness in their jaw. When this happens, bone grafting may be required to build the bone back up before an implant is placed. Think of it like this: a deck on a steep hill would need more support than a deck on a flat lawn, and that extra support costs a little more in time and materials.
No worthwhile investment in your health should ever be considered too expensive. And no other tooth replacement option compares to the durability, usability, and comfort of dental implants. They’re the only treatment that can truly make you feel like you have your teeth back!