The vast majority of people in need of tooth replacement have multiple options.
Dental implants and dentures are the most common treatments that people select.
In this guide, we will go in-depth about the cost of dental implants. You will find a surprisingly wide price range. But as long as you continue reading, you will also find all of the best ways to save money on dental implants.
To set a foundation, we’ll start with pricing information based on the different types of dental implants you may need.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
“Hard costs” first:
What should you expect to pay for dental implants total?
A single-tooth dental implant costs $1,000-3,000. The cost of the abutment and crown adds $500-3,000. So, the cost of a full dental implant is $1,500-6,000 in total.
This is the average out-of-pocket price without the help of dental insurance or discount plans. This estimate includes some associated costs (like the initial consultation), but your total costs may be even higher if circumstance dictate.
If you need to replace multiple teeth, the costs only go up. There are also different types of dental implants. Depending on your tooth replacement needs, they may all be an option.
A dental implant with an attached crown is the most common way to replace a single missing tooth.
Multiple Tooth Implant Cost
Multiple implants become an option when a patient is missing more than one tooth.
Generally, multiple tooth implants cost $3,000 to $30,000 (or more). Replacing two to four teeth with multiple tooth implants might cost $6,000-10,000—though this estimate would be based on decent quality and normal circumstances (relatively low associated costs).
This procedure is typically performed for patients that have teeth on either side of the open area. It also requires a healthy gum line to hold the implants in place.
The number of implants you need depends partially on the number of teeth needing replacement. Location of the missing teeth plays a role as well. You don’t necessarily need individual implants for each tooth if they are adjacent to each other.
Dental implant costs really soar when you need multiple teeth replaced multiple locations.
Implant supported dentures become a better option as the number of missing teeth begin to climb.
Implant Supported Denture Cost
Nowadays, many people who need dentures opt for implant-supported ones.
A full set of implant supported dentures costs $7,000-90,000, with an average cost of about $34,000. Installing a single plate (top or bottom) usually costs $3,500-30,000.
Unlike traditional dentures, implant supported dentures are stable without the need for adhesives. They make a great option for those who are missing several teeth in a row. However, you may need to have many teeth removed before all of the necessary implants can be added. This is one place the associated costs pile onto the total.
These kinds of dentures are becoming more and more common, especially on the lower jaw where it is more difficult to create a gumline fit. In the future, you may see the price of this type get closer to average dentures costs.
The denture plates themselves aren’t much different from normal ones. It’s all of the associated procedures that really start to add to the total bill.
Truthfully, the extra fees associated with dental implants aren’t as high as more involved dental procedures (where an implant may be an associated cost itself).
But that doesn’t mean they are free of them.
Most any dental procedure may have consultation fees ($50-200), X-rays ($25-250), or various forms of anesthesia ($50 to $500 per hour). If required, tooth extractions can add $50-900 to the total cost.
Getting this information while doing research will help you compare quotes. Noticing on the bill may actually infuriate you. Associated costs are a great point for negotiation, so be sure you understand exactly what you’re being charged for.
After all—the more info you have, the better your chance at:
Making Dental Implants More Affordable
If you’re looking to avoid that 5-figure bill, there are a few things you can do.
Let’s start with what our government will (or will not) help with.
Dental Assistance Through Government Programs
The price of healthcare in America is unbelievably high—dental care included.
Though we have Medicare and Medicaid to help manage the costs, dental health is rarely consider high priority. Still, you may not be out of luck if you need dental implants.
Medicare is a federally funded program providing health insurance that is designed for the elderly and people with disabilities. If you qualify, you probably already know.
You might also know that Medicare does not cover most dental work, including implants.
However, it may be able to help lower out-of-pocket hospital expenses or any inpatient healthcare costs in the event of a dental-related emergency.
When you use Medicare for this reason, it typically won’t cover the actual expense of the dental procedure, but it can assist with the other aspects that are not directly linked to dental work. It may also assist with certain types of dental services in the event that you are hospitalized due to an emergency or an accident.
Medicare on its own is not the place for assistance with the cost of your implants. Yet you can find some “Medigap” (Medicare Advantage) plans offered through private companies that may provide some forms of dental coverage.
The specific plans will vary depending on your location. You should do research into what types of dental plans are being offered as a Medicare add-on in your area.
Medicaid is another health insurance program offered by the government. It is income based, making it suitable for people of all ages. Eligibility requirements factor in age, disability, pregnancy, and other factors.
Medicaid has a wider scope than Medicare. However, it is jointly funded by the federal government and the states and therefore differs from state to state. Depending on where you live, some benefits are mandatory and others are optional. Yet, dental coverage almost always falls under “optional”.
Do your own research to find out what Medicaid covers in your state. Medicaid generally sticks to “emergency” and “medically necessary” treatments. This means that coverage often comes down to the interpretation of medical and legal definitions.
If the treatment is for a child, for instance, those definitions may be stretched a bit further. CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) is a children’s health care coverage plan that is offered through Medicaid. Those with children may also qualify for this type of coverage as well.
If you have questions about Medicare or Medicaid, you can reach them by telephone at 1-800-MEDICARE. They will be able to let you know what is available to you based on your location and income level.
If you don’t qualify for such programs, it’s ok. There’s no need to depend on the government to get the dental care you need.
As of 2013, 126 million US citizens were without dental insurance. The main reason is because most standard health insurance plans don’t include dental insurance.
Instead, you have to find it as standalone coverage.
Purchased this way, dental insurance can seem very expensive. That’s probably why a great number of Americans pass on dental coverage altogether.
Still, their thinking is faulty. No time is that more obvious than when you’re forced to look into root canal cost s or denture costs . And given the standard American diet, such bills are likely to become more than more common over time.
We’ve shown you the out-of-pocket costs of dental implant procedures. Perhaps you see how dental insurance might really benefit anyone whose tooth replacement isn’t covered by Medicaid or Medicare (the majority of us).
We recommend trusted providers such as Delta Dental, Care Credit and Humana. Still, it may be difficult to find a plan that will cover large implant procedures. Annual maximums for most dental insurance plans don’t exceed $1,500.
If you want a dental insurance plan that will help you with the cost of dental implants, you’ll need to hunt for it carefully.
Dental insurance is the standard way to reduce dental costs. But for dental implants, you may require more help footing the bill.
Dental Discount Plans
We kind of feel sorry for those who need expensive dental work and have never heard of these.
Finding a discount dental plan that will help pay for the cost of dental implants is easy.
Instead of premiums and a $1,000-1,500 yearly limit, these programs offer members a discounted rate with no yearly limit. That means if you get 10% off, you get 10% off on $500 or $50,000.
Luckily for you, some plans offer discounts of up to 60% on some procedures. You can pretty much find any plan nearly custom-made for your needs.
This makes it easy to know whether or not your plan is saving you money over the long term—something much harder to do with dental insurance.
More likely than not, you’ll find your membership to be a good investment.
Dental schools are a great way to find dental care for a reduced rate.
Yes, you will be training or test material. But any procedure done by a student would come with a sizable discount. You may also find space in a postgraduate or faculty clinic for a lesser discount.
Finding an opening in your area can be a bit tough unless you’re willing join a waiting list. You may also do well to look for associated services separately.
Making more calls will likely lead you to better results. Willingness to commute a couple hours might help as well.
Speaking of commuting.
Dental Implants Overseas
Taking a trip to another country may cut $1,000s off the cost of dental implants.
Whether it sounds outlandish to you or not, “medical tourism” is a real thing. You may have heard of star athletes going overseas for controversial procedures. This is different.
Factors like exchange rates (the dollar is strong), differences in education, and a variety of other factors affect pricing. Many dental procedures have been around for a long time and are relatively simple. It’s no surprise many of them are the most common procedures people travel for.
According to MEDIGO, dental implants start at around $600 in Mexico. Some countries in Europe are even lower than that. Obviously, you have to factor in travel. But that’s not necessarily a negative.
Your other consideration is quality. You’ll need to the research to find a provider you trust at a price that makes it worth it to you.
This may seem like a lot of work and a lot of risk. Maybe it’s true. If you’re serious about saving money on dental implants, there’s still more you can do.
Other Organizations that Might Help
This group is digging kind of deep.
There is value here, but you may have to hunt for it. A variety of things turn up when you think outside the box.
You may also have access to other local programs. Contact all relevant health departments and take a look at this directory of State Oral Health Programs from the ASTDD.
Final Tips on Lowering Dental Implant Costs
Despite all of the organizations that might help you save money on dental implants, you are the one with the most power to lower your dental implant costs.
Your willingness to do research and your ability to utilize it in the right way are the main keys.
Our closing advice focuses on these things.
Research your location. Location makes a disproportionate effect in dental pricing. Practices in prime locations charge more because they can. Target blue collar neighborhoods or smaller cities in your area. Be willing to travel an hour or two away and you might end up saving several hundred dollars (including gas).
Look for desperation. You can expect some groups to be more eager to get clients than others. New dentists always need business. Those with outdated marketing (old websites and other indicators) are also good targets. You might even go for practices with poor publicity or trying to heal a negative reputation.
Cash is king. Cash lubricates all business transactions. In this case, part of the reason has to do with fees that dentists have to pay to credit card and insurance companies in order to accept them as payment methods. It also provides a lot of built-in flexibility. Be sure you ask for discounts when paying cash; don’t assume it will be given.
Be flexible. You may end up finding the perfect dentist to create your implants and another solution for cheap X-rays and extraction. Depending on your associated costs and what is available locally, a piecemeal solution may work very well for you. On the other hand, you might be better off bundling all services with one professional.
Negotiate for your price. Step up to the plate and work those prices. If you’ve put in an honest effort with the research, you should have plenty of leverage. You’ll get a lot of honesty, when you demonstrate that you know what different things should cost, how much the competition is charging, and where the pressure points are.
Apply all of these strategies together. Take notes every time to talk to a dentist on the phone or have an official consultation. Notice the patterns and use them to influence you get treated by your local dentists.
If you take all of the strategies to heart, you’re guaranteed to save money on dental implants.
Costs are certainly high. But if you do your due diligence, you might be able to find a way to bring the price down to something easier on your budget.
If not, you might want to look into some of the more naturally-affordable tooth replacement options on the market.