Are Dental Implants Affordable?
Patients with unhealthy, missing, or damaged teeth opt for dental implants. However, some patients may be taken aback by the price of dental implants. The upfront costs of dental implants seem justified when you take into account the fact that they last for decades (and longer) after installation.
Let's take a look at key reasons why dental implants cost the way they do.
The Cost of Materials
Experts suggest that the best material for dental implants is titanium on account of its strength, durability, and resistance to corrosion. Perhaps more importantly, titanium can easily osseointegrate and become united with the patient's mouth. The body doesn't recognize titanium as a foreign object, allowing it to fuse with the jawbone.
Moreover, the body usually cannot tell the difference between the tooth roots and implants, which essentially halts the degradation of the jawbone and gums once the implant is placed. Manufacturing durable and long-lasting titanium comes with a higher price tag.
The only problem with titanium is that it can be fairly expensive to procure. The price of titanium is always in a state of flux, much like gold and silver, and can directly impact the cost of dental implants.
An Implant Restoration Lasts Longer
Dental implants last much longer than your average dental restorative procedures. The implant post itself and the abutment can last for over 20 years if they are well maintained. The crown (the part that sits over the implant) may require replacement once every 15 years because of wear and tear. This means that in the long run, dental implants cost a lot less than other procedures.
The problem with low-cost procedures is that they often don't last very long and are usually disposable. It is important to weigh the price of dental implant procedures with their overall longevity.
Dentists Have to Ensure Your Compatibility with the Procedure
Unlike other procedures, dental implants require prior examinations to determine if the patient is eligible. Dentists will require a full examination of the mouth to reveal the overall facial bone structure, teeth placement, and other features of the face. This is usually done with several tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and other examinations - all of which can add to the cost.
Dentists use these tests to create a 3D image of the patient's face. The tests are also used to create customized dental implants so that they align with the patient's specific facial features for maximum compatibility.
Finally, the examinations also reveal overall jawbone health. Dental implants require a sufficient amount of bone mass for support. Without adequate jawbone, the patient will simply not be able to support dental implants and may require a bone graft. The only problem is that bone grafts are an expensive surgical procedure that requires their own set of tests and examinations.
The Use of General Anesthetic
The prospect of having someone drill into their jawbone can make anyone nervous. This is why many patients opt for general anesthetic for a dental implant procedure; this means they will be asleep during the entire procedure to minimize pain or discomfort.
Administering general anesthetic is more expensive because it requires the presence of an anesthesiologist who will stay with the dentist throughout the entire surgery.
Location of the Teeth
Tooth placement can be a challenge for dentists to navigate. Front teeth can be much more difficult for dentists to work with and require more skill as well as a sense of artistry to make the implant look as natural as real teeth. In other words, visible teeth are more difficult to work with and can be expensive, which explains why the surgery is also longer.
The Importance of Expertise and Specialization
Oral surgeons who specialize in dental implants have to spend years studying surgical residency to become certified. This additional expertise allows them to perform various types of facial and dental surgery in addition to dental implants. For obvious reasons, it is difficult and time-consuming for oral surgeons to acquire certification, which explains why dental implants come at a higher cost.
It Requires a Multidisciplinary Team
Oral surgeons who perform dental implants require fairly expensive equipment with an office and a team to provide care. They will also hire qualified staff and train them to assist with patient care and running the office. This means that they have to pay the costs for salaries, utilities, rent, and taxes based on where they live.
Don't Wait Until Dental Implants Get Cheaper
It's tempting to wait for dentures with dental implants to get cheaper before you make an appointment. But this is a bad idea because missing teeth create problems that go beyond aesthetics. For one, if your tooth goes missing for too long, the surrounding teeth will shift around in the mouth. This can lead to problems with speaking and chewing. It can also lead to teeth alignment issues.
Dental problems should be addressed on a priority basis because they can lead to an expensive bill if you wait too long, not to mention the pain and discomfort they are causing in your mouth.
Should I Get Dental Implants?
We recommend consulting with experts such as Dr. Kenneth O'Brien and Dr. Mohit Joshi to help you determine if dental implants are a good choice for you. It is understandable that the cost may be intimidating to many patients, but it is worth booking an appointment with our dentists to see if the procedure is right for you. Call our friendly staff at (815) 624-3269.