Dental Implants Cost
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The average cost of placing a single dental implant, not including the cost of a restoration (the crown, bridge, or denture), ranges from $1,800 CAD ($1,600 USD) to $2,500 CAD ($2,200 USD). Some practices will lower the cost per implant to between $1,500 CAD ($1,300 USD) and $2,000 CAD ($1,800 USD) in more extensive cases requiring multiple implants. The total cost of rebuilding a patient's smile with implants differs dramatically from case to case because no two patients' needs are the same. For example, a single tooth replaced with one implant and one crown can cost from $3,600 CAD ($3,200 USD) to $5,000 CAD ($4,400 USD). On the other hand, full mouth reconstruction involving the replacement of each individual tooth with an implant and a crown can cost from $50,000 CAD ($44,000 USD) to $100,000 CAD ($88,500 USD).
The only way to gain a clear understanding of what it will cost to restore your smile with dental implants is to consult with an experienced, reputable dentist.
Dental Implants: The Evolution of a Landmark Dental Treatment
Modern dental implants are essentially threaded titanium posts that resemble wood screws. They are inserted in a pilot hole drilled into the jaw, and over the course of several months, they become permanently fused to the bone in a process called osseointegration. It's hard to say when the first attempt to replace lost tooth roots with a metal post occurred. Scientists believe a 2,000-year-old skull containing a single wrought-iron tooth found in a Gallo-Roman cemetery south of Paris may be the earliest known example.
Orthopedic surgeon Per-Ingvar Brånemark discovered osseointegration in 1952 while conducting research at Cambridge University
Orthopedic surgeon Per-Ingvar Brånemark discovered osseointegration in 1952 while conducting research at Cambridge University. Brånemark was studying bone regeneration using titanium optic chambers implanted in the femurs of rabbits. When he tried to remove the optic chambers, he found he couldn't - the bone had fused to the titanium.
He first explored using this discovery to improve knee and hip surgery, but his focus shifted to dental applications because tooth loss was very common, and offered more opportunities for research. In 1965, Brånemark placed his first dental implant into a human patient. Commercialization of implants began in the late 1970s, and the treatment has grown to become regarded as the very best way to replace missing tooth roots. Replacing tooth roots has become a vital treatment as the average adult over the age of 50 has lost nine permanent teeth, and one in four adults over the age of 74 are missing all of their teeth on one or both arches.
Choosing a Dentist
Dental implants have a 95 percent success rate and over 450,000 dental implants are placed every year. As with medical procedures of all kinds, your dentist's experience and the location of the practice can make a huge difference in the cost and success of treatment. As a general rule, doctors with more experience and a reputation for delivering excellent results will charge more than doctors who are relatively new in the field. At the same time, doctors practicing in cities with a high cost of living or high median income tend to cost more than those practicing in less economically robust cities.
There are some cost principles that are unique to dentists offering dental implants. Dental implants require different training and experience to execute different stages of treatment. For example, not all dentists are oral surgeons or prosthodontists. A 2007 survey showed that only 12.3 percent of general dentists had placed dental implants the year before. If your dentist has to refer you to other practices to carry out certain stages of treatment, you can expect to pay more than you would at a practice that offers every stage of treatment under one roof. However, if a dentist must refer you to an oral surgeon, and that dentist is known for coordinating treatment plans that provide better results than a competing all-in-one practice, it could justify the extra expense.
In the end, your choice should come down to your comfort level with the dentist, as well as his or her credentials, reputation, and track record. If you feel certain that a more expensive practice is more likely to deliver the results you want, it can be more economical to budget for that extra cost rather than compromising your goals and possibly requiring costly revision treatment in the future. Cost should not be the only factor in choosing your dentist to place your implants. Would you go to the cheapest heart surgeon to have your open heart surgery?
Preparing Your Smile for Dental Implants
Detailed planning is key in ensuring the success of your treatment. Today, dentists frequently use digital X-rays or 3D imaging to evaluate the health of your jawbone and determine the best possible placement of your implants. This analysis is usually included in the total cost of surgery. I personally use an i-CAT® cone beam scanner to conduct this evaluation. An i-CAT® scan can cost $200 CAD ($170 USD) to $250 CAD ($220 USD) per implant, and this is usually factored into the estimated total cost of treatment.
In the absence of tooth roots, the jawbone will eventually begin to atrophy, or shrink. If x-rays reveal that the patient does not have adequate jaw bone mass to support a dental implant, a bone graft may be necessary, and this will increase the overall cost of treatment. During this surgery, your dentist will use bone tissue harvested from another area of your body, or donor tissue, to augment the jaw. Bone grafting surgery can cost between $700 CAD ($600 USD) and $3,000 CAD ($2,600 USD).
X-rays may also reveal that a patient's sinuses lay too close to the optimal implant placement site. In this case, a sinus lift may become necessary. A sinus lift supplements bone tissue at the top of your jaw, essentially lifting the sinuses into a position that makes room for the implant, without compromising sinus function. A sinus lift can cost between between $500 CAD ($440 USD) and $3,000 CAD ($2,600 USD).
The Cost of a Dental Implant
The cost of a single traditional implant - not including surgery or any other expenses - can range from $300 CAD ($260 USD) to $500 CAD ($440 USD). There are more than 200 companies in the world that supply the parts and components used in dental implants placement. I generally use hardware from one of the three biggest companies simply because they are the most likely to be around many years down the road if a patient happens to need a replacement. You should ask your implant dentist what type of implant her or she provides so you can have some assurance that a replacement will be available if you need it. Otherwise, you will have to have your old implant removed, the area will need a bone graft, and a new implant will have to be placed. This would be an unnecessary expense, not to mention another surgery.
In addition to traditional dental implants, some dentists place mini dental implants. These implants have a smaller diameter, and tend to be less expensive than their traditional counterparts. Many dentists are able to place and restore these implants in a single day, requiring no temporary restoration or healing time. They are often used as solution for patients who have experienced jawbone atrophy, but do not wish to undergo a bone graft. While they certainly can serve this purpose, and initially save patients the expense of a bone graft and other expenses, I don't personally recommend them. In fact, I believe they could actually cost the patient much more money in the long run.
When it comes to implants, width is more crucial than length
When it comes to implants, width is more crucial than length. Wider implants have more surface area, and therefore, more strength. Therefore, it could be reasoned that a traditional implant is less likely to fail than a mini implant. Natural teeth are longer and wider than mini implants, and this is important to withstand the forces of occlusion or bite.
"Patients will hear commercials on the radio that say a dentist can place a dental implant and restore it in the same day," John F. Weston, D.D.S., owner and director of Scripps Center for Dental Care in San Diego, said. "Most of the time, what's happening is that a patient receives a mini dental implant that is not designed to last long-term. It is important to understand that mini implants are not the same as osseointegrated implants. Traditional implants require recovery for several months. When a patient sees an advertised price for a really low fee, it's usually an immediate type of implant, which is not appropriate for everyone."
The Compromise in Supporting More Restorations with Fewer Implants
There are several implant placement techniques in which just two to four implants and special accompanying hardware can support full-arch dentures. I offer the LOCATOR® Implant Attachment, which supports a removable denture. This specialized device fits onto as few as two implants. It can support a snap-on denture, also known as an overdenture. The LOCATOR® - itself costs about $150 CAD ($130 USD). Another option for conservative implant placement and full-arch restoration is a bar system attached to four implants to support the denture. This lab cost of the bar alone is about $2,500 CAD ($2,200 USD).
These solutions offer attractive advantages. The total cost of restoring your smile using either of these methods is obviously less than the cost placing 6 to 8 dental implants. It can also eliminate the immediate need for a bone graft. However, patients must understand that these solutions only restore about 75 to 80 percent of your functionality, meaning it will still feel a bit awkward to chew and speak. On the other hand, using more implants can give you back 99 percent of that functionality.
Another crucial benefit of using more implants is bone retention. Implants are the only restorative solution that can actually stop the bone atrophy that occurs over time following tooth loss. By investing in your smile with six to eight implants, you can save yourself the complications - and expenses - that can accompany continued bone atrophy. Bone loss or atrophy affects your facial appearance. Shrinkage of the face will make you look older. Implants will help prevent this bone atrophy.
Depending upon the complexity of your case, you may receive only local anesthesia, which eliminates pain, or receive oral conscious, nitrous oxide, or IV sedation, which can provide the additional benefit of deep relaxation or near-sleep.
Typically, I am able to perform implant surgery using only local anesthesia
Typically, I am able to perform implant surgery using only local anesthesia. If you do require further sedation, your surgeon, a certified nurse anesthetist, or an anesthesiologist can provide it for an increased cost. In general, patients should expect to pay about $1,000 CAD ($80 USD) for anesthesia during implant surgery. Typically, placing an implant is a lot easier than taking a tooth out, and in the postoperative healing phase, the discomfort is also a lot less eventful. This is why most implant surgeries can be completed with only local anesthesia.
Immediately following your surgery, you will wear a healing collar, which can cost $50 CAD ($45 USD) to $90 CAD ($80 USD). This device will facilitate the healing of your gums around the implant. You will also be fitted with a temporary restoration:
- A temporary crown and abutment can cost $300 CAD ($260 USD) to $400 CAD ($350 USD).
- An Essix® tray, which is similar to an Invisalign® mouthpiece, can cost $200 CAD ($180 USD) to $300 CAD ($260 USD).
- A flipper (lightweight removable denture) can cost $500 CAD ($440 USD) to $600 CAD ($530 USD).
Your implants cannot be restored with a permanent crown, bridge, or denture until they have fully healed. The process of osseointegration can take up to six months, so it is important that you are comfortable with your temporary restoration. A quality restoration can also serve as a test prosthesis, so if you have any issues with the way it feels, fits, or looks, this type of information can be beneficial in the creation of your permanent restoration.
The Cost of Abutments and Restorations
In addition to the cost of your dental implants, you will need to consider the cost of your abutments. These zirconium or titanium components attach to the top of implants, serving as the point of connection with your restoration. Titanium abutments can cost about $200 CAD ($180 USD), while zirconia (white in color) can cost about $400 CAD ($350 USD).
The size, customization level, and type of materials used in your restoration all affect its final cost. A dental crown can be crafted from zirconia, IPS e.max® (a very durable type of lithium disilicate), or porcelain. Depending on the material, this can range in cost from $1,600 CAD ($1,400 USD) to $2,500 CAD ($2,200 USD).
Standard implant-supported dentures can cost between $2,000 CAD ($1,800 USD) and $4,000 CAD ($3,500 USD) per arch. There are new premium options as well, such as full dentures with e.max® crowns and a zirconia base that simulates gum tissue. While this option can cost as much as $2,000 CAD ($1,800 USD), it offers the most realistic appearance and outstanding durability.
Once your implants have been placed, they will need to be cleaned regularly. Just like your natural teeth, your implants and restorations can accumulate plaque and tartar, and require ongoing professional care in order to maintain your oral health. Yearly hygienic costs for implants can cost from $2,000 CAD ($1,800 USD) to $3,000 CAD ($2,600 USD).
Financing Your Dental Implants
In rare instances, insurance plans will cover part of a dental implant procedure. They never cover the entire procedure. Anyone considering this solution should expect to pay something out of pocket. Fortunately, there are financing options available for patients who do not have the cash on hand, allowing them to place the cost of treatment within their budgets.
Many dentists offer their own financing plans, or work with third-party financing companies. These plans offer low-interest payment options that can phase your repayment in affordable monthly increments.
Why Invest in Dental Implants?
Dental implants are the very best solution for replacing missing teeth, offering many unique benefits that can make them a wise investment in your quality of life:
- Restored Function - Dental implants provide the best support for dentures and crowns, keeping your restorations firmly in place as you eat and speak.
- Durability - With proper care, dental implants can provide you with a lifetime of outstanding support.
- Preservation of the Jawbone - Implants are the only dental restoration solution that can halt the atrophy of the jawbone following tooth loss.
- Personal Confidence - Your implants can allow you to share a smile, speak, and enjoy a good laugh without worrying that your dentures will slip out of place.
Make the Most of Your Investment
The cost of restoring your smile with dental implants can be intimidating, especially when you consider that most, if not all, of the cost must be paid out of pocket. However, it is important to consider the value of a fully functional smile. The fact is that no other solution can restore the degree of functionality that is possible with dental implants, and it is the only solution that can prevent bone atrophy. If you choose to explore the possibility of having implants placed, you can make the most of your investment by researching multiple doctors in your area, and meeting with several to determine who provides the best results. By taking the time to thoroughly explore your options, you can experience life-changing benefits with dental implants.
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