How to get affordable dental implants without breaking the bank?

Kevin Rivera

Written by Kevin Rivera RDH

Dental implants are said to be the most durable method of restoring missing teeth. It's not surprising, then, that they belong to the priciest procedures performed by dentists.

We’ve spent many hours researching how to make this lifetime investment affordable. The guide below will give you the best ways to reduce the cost of your new teeth or even show you how to get a new smile for free.

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Low-cost dental implants

Full arch dental implants

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

There are many ways to make artificial tooth roots more affordable. Some methods can be combined to optimize costs even further. It’s best to look into several options.

Search for a budget-friendly dentist

It is possible to reach a great specialist who can perform dental implant placement at a reasonable price. Going with an expert also saves you the cost of fixing complications. Those may arise if you don’t do a thorough background check. More experience equals a higher success rate.

If you feel overwhelmed by the number of offers, or if you simply want to save time, we are here to help. Authority Dental has a huge database of the most affordable dental implant dentists. We can easily set up an appointment with a budget-friendly dentist near you.

We take into account your insurance and preferred form of payment. If you can’t pay in cash, we will assist with financing. That way you can optimize costs even further. Our service is 100% free and available 24/7. Click here to get started.

Join a savings plan

Dental discount plans are a convenient alternative or addition to insurance policies. You can use them alongside your coverage when your yearly limit is reached. This, however, is at the discretion of the dentist performing the job.

Plans help save on all types of dental costs, including dental implant surgery. There are no conditions for coverage. As long as you are a good candidate for implants, it doesn’t matter what your reason for getting implants is. They can be medically necessary or purely cosmetic.

So how do dental plans work? Members pay a monthly or yearly fee. There are over 100,000 dentists enrolled, you just have to find one in your area. Then you get to enjoy reductions of 10%-60% on anything you need or want done in your mouth.

The plan is active as soon as you sign up. There are no waiting periods. No yearly caps will slow you down either. You can have all the work done in one year and all bills will be discounted.

Use your insurance

Insurance is the most well-known way to reduce healthcare costs. Some policies offer even more preferential rates when you have dental work done at affiliating offices. Still, insurance plans have many cons.

Although 'dental insurance that covers implants' is becoming more and more popular, such policies usually have strict requirements. Most often, it is all about proving that implants are medically necessary in your case and that there is no other cheaper option for treatment.

A dentist can issue such a statement and you will have to contact your provider yourself. What's more, if a tooth was missing before the policy was active, you might not receive coverage for replacement.

There is also likely going to be a waiting period before your treatment can start. Annual caps most often top off at around $1,500. This means the implant process might have to be stretched out over several years.

Being insured, your best bet is to have the policy cover associated procedures and treatments such as sinus lift surgery, extractions or X-rays. The dental implant procedure has many steps, so this can realistically lower the total cost of dental implants.

Travel abroad

You can travel to Central American countries such as Mexico for affordable dental implants. This can save you about half the cost of the surgery and associated procedures. Add the costs of journey and accommodation to your implant budget.

Make sure to do your research as regards the practice and the chosen cheap dentist. Look at reviews and opinions online. This is vital in saving you unnecessary pain and trouble. Remember, if anything goes wrong, you will have to return to the same location to have it fixed or pay even more to make adjustments in the US. Finding a specialist who will solve problems with implants done in another country may also be a challenge.

Dental tourism makes the most sense in two situations. The first is when you’re getting same-day implants, as you won’t have to make multiple trips. You might also be able to arrange having the whole process done over several days.

The second group of patients that can benefit from this are those who live close to the border. Hotel and high travel costs can be avoided, making implants even more affordable.

Check your local dental schools

Students need patients for their training. Most of the time, they offer dental care at about half the cost due to lack of expertise, so it’s a great way to cover procedures associated with dental implants for low-income patients.

Don’t worry, everything takes place under the watchful eye of a team of licensed professionals, so there is no extra risk to your health or life. The only downside is that the process might take longer. Each step has to be graded.

It’s best to get in touch with schools near you. While you have a bigger chance of finding one in a large city, smaller colleges might have shorter waiting lists. You can check whether a given dental school performs dental implants or associated procedures with the ADA search tool. Contact the office and ask for details. They are sure to answer all of your questions.

You may come across information that dental schools even make implants at no cost. We contacted them and, according to our research, you can't get completely free dental implants from schools.

Make use of tax deductions

Use your FSA funds to finance dental implants. This money is both tax-deductible and before taxes, so you can use those savings to lower your overall costs. Write a check or pay with a debit card directly to your dentist.

The important thing is to use the money you transfer to that account before the end of the year. Unlike your HSA, FSA does not guarantee rollover. So if you don’t spend those savings, you forfeit them.

You get to keep your HSA funds at the end of the year, but in order to have this account you must have a high deductible savings plan. You can ask your employer or the HR department for details.

Get an implant-supported set of teeth

Methods like the All-On-4 allow patients to have 2 or 4 rods implanted in the jaw bone. They restore an entire arch by supporting bridges. Depending on the condition of your mouth, these solutions could be great alternatives to getting multiple implants.

Richard Hattaway

Richard Hattaway, DDS

Sometimes it is more cost-effective to remove teeth that could otherwise be saved with alternative treatment options. The amount of time and money invested does not play out to have the longest predictable prognosis, however.

The dentist positions rods in such a way that they will be able to hold all of the teeth on the top or bottom. There is some maintenance, as the prosthesis may need to be replaced after a while. Still, this is a durable solution lasting 10-15 years. And you pay for a smaller amount of implants, making the dental work more affordable.

Hunt for discounts

You may be able to find cheaper or even free dental work at your local community center. Use this search engine to learn what the center in your area is offering and how much it might cost. Choose your state and reach out by phone or email.

Some locations are picky about who they cater to. They may only perform procedures on the elderly or veterans and others limit themselves to those with a low income.

Several tribal clinics offer implants at a reduced price to Native American patients. You may even be able to get financial help from their tribe to cover associated costs. You can explore this directory or manually look by state.

Consider federal and state programs

Federal and state programs may help finance associated procedures or help you get other restorations such as dentures for free. It is unlikely that they cover the dental implant procedure itself, unless under very particular circumstances.

Medicare and Medicaid are great examples of such initiatives.

Medicaid helps the underpaid in paying for medical expenses. It works differently in every state. Most commonly, younger people receive more coverage with lower copays than adults and your implant needs to be medically necessary.

Medicare, on the other hand, is a national medical insurance program meant for those who are over 65 or who suffer from certain diseases or disabilities. There are a few programs but not all include dental care let alone dental implant treatment, so make sure to check the fine print.

Free dental implants

Multiple single implants on lower arch

Picture by Authority Dental under CC 2.0 license

Due to the fact that implants are treated as cosmetic treatment both by dental and insurance specialists, getting a full refund is practically impossible. Nonetheless, it is always worth considering the potential options.

Free dental implant programs for disabled, seniors, and low-income patients

The following programs are mainly based on volunteer dentists and labs, catering to those who need dental work most. Some target specific social groups, so it’s important to check what kind of candidates they are looking for. Patients receive treatment free of charge.

Donated Dental Services

Donated Dental Services is a program endorsed by many respected associations, including the ADA. They are funded by the Dental Lifeline Network and provide free comprehensive services. Those are targeted at the elderly, disabled, medically fragile, and veterans.

Taking part in the program does not automatically mean you will receive implants. The decision as to what treatment is best is always made by the surgeons performing the procedure. You can apply via post or online.

Here is what the process looks like:

  • Find your state and click on the application link.
  • Fill out every section to the best of your ability. Attach proof of disability if you have one.
  • Wait for a response. If you qualify, you will be put on a waiting list. If not, you will receive a letter of denial. This step could take several months, as there are many factors to consider.
  • You will be contacted by DDS to go over your application and be matched with a volunteer dentist.
  • He or she will determine your eligibility and what procedures to go ahead with.

Give Back a Smile

Give Back a Smile is an organization that provides dental care to those who have been affected by domestic and/or sexual violence and have suffered mouth or teeth injuries. They are funded by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) Charitable Foundation.

  • Funded by: American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) Charitable Foundation
  • Eligibility: adult survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence
  • Website: www.givebackasmile.com
  • E-mail address: [email protected]
  • Phone number: 800.543.9220

There is a $20 application fee. This can be exchanged for 10 hours of social work, making the treatment completely free. It is decided during a preliminary examination what kind of dental work is needed, which might be implants.

Volunteers of GBaS do not treat any issues caused by neglect (such as cavities and gum disease) or fix any previous dental work. They focus on injuries to the smile zone, which took place at least a year ago. Exceptions are made if the abuser is in prison, jail, or deceased.

The applicant must also fulfill several requirements. This includes meeting with at least one of the following:

  • a domestic violence/sexual assault advocate,
  • case manager,
  • counselor,
  • faith leader,
  • therapist, or
  • doctor with experience in counseling survivors of domestic violence/sexual assault.

Here is what the application process looks like:

  • Download the form or call 800.772.4227 and one will be mailed to you.
  • Fill it out and send it to: Mailing to Give Back a Smile, 402 West Wilson St, Madison, WI 53703
  • You can also fax it to 888.488.688.
  • If you qualify, you will be informed by mail. You will be referred to a volunteer dentist if there is one within 200 miles of you. It is your responsibility to schedule a consultation.
  • He or she will decide on your final eligibility and propose a treatment plan.
Allan Seidman

Allan Seidman, DDS

I donate all in-office materials and time and ask the dental laboratories I use to donate all labwork. No cost to patient at all, other than any transportation required to get to my office. Patients are vetted through the organizations.

Free dental implants from clinical trials

Clinical trials are tests during which dentists practice new techniques and drugs.

Specialists may experiment with new materials or a new type of crown, abutment, or bridge. This means the procedure comes with a certain degree of risk, but the job is done by experienced practitioners. Candidates can get cheap or even free implants in return.

In order to find current clinical trials, use this search engine by ClinicalTrials.gov or this one by Patientwing.com. It is best to schedule a consultation or ask the person managing the program directly whether you are a candidate and to get an estimate.

Explore state and county dental societies

Local dental societies are a great place to find information on pro bono dental implants, other dental work, and clinical trials. Most societies have their own foundations. They help them fund grants for other non-profits and clinics. These, in turn, often offer free treatment to the less fortunate and other social groups.

You can use the ADA search tool to find contact information. Select your state and your local dental society. You can look through their page to see if anyone is currently funding any implant programs in your area.

FAQ

Is it possible to get dental implants under $500?

You have to be extremely lucky to get even a single dental implant at this price. The best option is to try dental tourism, local dental schools, or clinical trials. Methods such as using retirement funds, dental plans, or insurance are not likely to lower the dental implant cost that much.

If you are set on this budget, consider dental implant alternatives.

What is the most affordable price for dental implants?

According to our research, the cheapest dental implants in the US start at $3,500. Keep in mind, you still have to consider associated costs such as X-rays and possibly bone grafting.

Authority Dental can help you find an affordable and trusted dental implant dentist near you. This is 100% free, done for you service. Call now and talk with our friendly support team. We're available 24/7, every day.

Which country is the cheapest for dental implants?

Many Central and South American as well as several Eastern European countries offer implants at rates 50-75% lower than in the USA. In particular, Mexico, Costa Rica, Thailand, Hungary, Turkey, and Poland are known for affordable tooth implant procedures.

America holds the highest average price for dental implants.

References

  1. American dental Association search tool - ADA
  2. Find Health Care: Indian Health Services - IHS
  3. HRSA Data Warehouse: Find a Health Center - HRSA
  4. Search for Dental Programs - CODA
  5. Dental Lifeline Network official website - DLN
  6. Dental Lifeline Network State Programs - DLN
  7. Give Back a Smile program official website - Give Back a Smile
  8. Give Back a Smile application form - Give Back a Smile
  9. ClinicalTrials.gov - ClinicalTrials.gov
  10. Dental Implants Trials - PatientWing