Dental Implants Cost & Insurance: Single & Full Mouth
Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents
- Dental Implant Insurance Coverage
- What Are Dental Implants
- Are Dental Implants Necessary
- Single Implant vs. Full Denture
Insurance Should Cover Part of Your Dental Implant Procedure
Each implant is a little bit different, so the cost can vary. Since implants are most often used for medically necessary reasons, your dental insurance should cover part of the cost.
Even with insurance coverage, the upfront cost can appear prohibitive. The full cost of replacing one tooth, including the crown, the dental implant, associated checkups, and surgical costs, can range from $3,000 to $4,500. A full set of permanent, fixed dentures can cost between $20,000 to $45,000.
Dental insurance may cover 50 to 80 percent of the cost of a dental implant and replacement tooth, depending on the insurance plan you have. Covering half the cost of a major procedure like this is common, and that half tends to cover x-rays, consultations, bone grafts, and anesthesia, along with the implant itself.
Even though they are expensive, they are usually worth the investment. Dental implants are one of the best options to restore your smile, especially if you are missing teeth or will need to have a tooth removed. They do not click, and once your jaw and gums have healed, they do not hurt or cause a lisp.
They have health benefits for your gums and jawbone that other dental devices do not offer. They can last for decades with proper care, so you will rarely think about your dental implant once you have it.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are devices that fit into your gums and jawbone to support a structure like a bridge, denture, or crown. The implant is a post, typically made from titanium, which anchors the replacement tooth similarly to the root structures of natural teeth. If you lose one or more teeth, your dentist will likely recommend placing an implant and fit you for a crown, bridge, or denture to replace the missing natural teeth.
According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, more than 3 million Americans have dental implants, and about 500,000 people will receive a dental implant for the first time every year. While many people have teeth extracted and not replaced, this can cause bone loss in the jaw. This increases stress and shifting on other teeth.
An implant can support replacement teeth so that you retain a natural, healthy smile. In fact, many dentists are beginning to prefer using dental implants to attach partial or full dentures because it reduces discomfort, sliding, and bone loss.
Are Dental Implants Medically Necessary?
Although some people can get dental implants for cosmetic reasons only, this is extremely rare. It is unlikely that your dentist will recommend this treatment.
However, if you have a tooth that is damaged beyond repair and must be extracted, they are likely to recommend an implant for medical reasons. Implants reduce the risk of your teeth shifting and your bone losing mass, which keeps your mouth healthier overall.
Many dentists are trained in implant dentistry, but AAID recommends that you ask your dentist about their training and experience if you need a dental implant. You can also ask for referrals from your dentist. Use your dental insurance to investigate other practitioners with implant experience for a second option.
- Endosteal: This is the most common type of dental implant. It is embedded into the jawbone to support an artificial crown, a bridge, or a partial denture.
- Subperiosteal: This type of dental implant sits on top of the jawbone, surrounded by gum tissue. Dentists may choose this type of dental implant for people who have lost bone mass in part of their jawbone already or who do not have strong jawbone tissue. There may be other repair and support surgeries associated with this implant.
A Single Implant vs. A Full Denture
Implants also differ based on the number of teeth the implant is replacing.
Many adults in the U.S. have one tooth removed, an injury that leads to loss of a tooth, or a root canal that is extensive enough that they need a dental implant to help hold a crown in place. More dentists prefer a dental implant with a crown to replace a missing tooth, compared to the other option, which is a tooth-supported fixed bridge.
The bridge requires grinding down surrounding teeth to ensure the device fits properly. A dental implant and crown allow the dentist to shape the tooth as much like your original tooth as possible, without disturbing the surrounding teeth.
It is also common for many people to lose several teeth, and implants can provide a stabilizing point for a bridge that replaces the missing teeth. The implants also replace part of the root structure that natural teeth would have anchoring them in the gums and jaw.
Increasingly, dentists recommend dental implants and bridges rather than a fixed bridge or removable partial denture. This is because these other devices do not anchor to the jaw and can slide, leading to bone loss and gum irritation.
Tor those missing all their teeth, dental implants can be used to secure full bridges or full dentures, which improves the fit of these devices on top of the gums. They are both more comfortable, which can ease your mind, and more supported, which can help keep your mouth healthy for a long time.
Your dentist will not put implants in for every single missing tooth. Instead, they will put in two, three, or four implants, which will anchor the denture. You may have removable dentures you can fit onto these implants yourself, or you can have permanent dentures, which only your dentist can replace.
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