Can I Afford Dental Implants?
The decision to replace missing teeth with dental implants is not only an excellent investment in your oral health and appearance; it’s an investment in your “happiness factor” and your mental health. Dental implant therapy – a lifelong investment in your smile – is more than just a solution for tooth restoration; it can vastly improve your quality of life.
When beginning the decision-making process about whether or not to explore dental implant therapy, the topic of cost will inevitably come up. Many patients begin the process assuming that the cost will be too high, but in reality, it might be surprising to learn just how affordable dental implants can be, especially when you factor in their long-term cost-effectiveness and quality of life improvement.
Dental implant treatments are customised for each patient’s specific needs, so total costs will vary. No two patients will have the same treatment plan or final cost. Your dental professional will be able to give you a cost estimate after examining you and determining the solution that’s best suited to your unique needs. They’ll explain all of the costs involved including the surgery, the lab work, the prosthesis itself, and your dentist and dental technician’s fees. Total cost also depends on how many dental implants are needed, where they are located, and the patient’s bone health. A full evaluation by an experienced dental implant expert is the best way to ensure that you are getting an accurate cost estimate for quality work.
Weighing the Alternatives
At first glance, the cost of dentures or removable bridges may appear to be less expensive than dental implants. However, when you factor in the total cost of these options, they can actually run much higher than dental implants, for several reasons:
- Initial vs. total costs. Their initial price doesn’t include the cost of replacing dentures or bridges, which may be necessary as often as every 5 to 15 years, or even more if they are lost, damaged, or broken. You must also take into account necessary ongoing maintenance costs, such as fixatives and adhesives. Dental implants are designed to last for many years, and for some, a lifetime.
- Convenience costs. Unlike natural teeth or dental implants, dentures need to be removed every day for proper cleaning, which can be a time-consuming process.
- Health costs. Because dental implants are anchored into bone, they securely transmit chewing forces to the jawbone, which helps to maintain a healthy jaw and preserve facial structure.
- Social costs. Dentures can slip or click when you chew, laugh, talk or kiss.
- Emotional costs. Dental implants restore self-confidence and reduce the stress and embarrassment of living with missing teeth.
Once you become aware of all of these factors, it becomes clear that dental implants are truly cost-competitive with other tooth replacement options over the long term. And when you also factor in quality of life and long-term oral health, dental implants clearly rank as the higher-value alternative.
What About Insurance?
Insurance coverage can be determined based on your unique treatment plan. Your dental professional will help you determine if your treatment will be covered. If it’s determined that insurance won’t cover your procedure, speak with your dentist about what options may be available. Many dental practices now offer financing and payment plans that can be paid off over time. It’s always worth a call to your insurance company to discuss whether or not your particular situation might be covered. Heath care savings plans are also another avenue to investigate for ways to finance dental implant therapy.
Replacing missing teeth with dental implants is an excellent investment in oral health and appearance, and dental implant therapy is now considered to be the standard of care for missing teeth. Although beginning the process can feel overwhelming and confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. The best way to get started is to contact your dentist directly and ask about suitable options that fit your unique needs.