Updated: Jan 19
As far as dental restorative procedures go, dental implants rank near the top in terms of complexity and cost.
While many patients balk at the price tags for this treatment, these expenses seem fully justified when you consider how much they can benefit your oral health. A properly placed implant will help to prevent bone loss in the surrounding jawbone and preserve the overall stability and strength of your bite. With proper maintenance, you can expect these medical devices to last a lifetime.
The costs of dental implant surgery should also be examined in light of the effort that goes into ensuring that the replacement tooth is seamlessly integrated into your existing teeth.
Small Margin for Error
Unlike bridges and removable crowns, dental implants are designed to fix permanently into the jawbone. This process is not without risks as there are nerves, blood vessels, sinuses, and other structural elements that must be accommodated during the placement of the orthodontic appliance.
To add to these inherent difficulties, the actual surgical area is generally no larger than a couple of millimetres in width, which means that even a slight misjudgement can lead to an unsuccessful application. Of course, correcting such a mistake would require substantial expenditure and would likely lead to permanent removal of bone matter from the jaw. As you might imagine, both the dentists and patients generally prefer to avoid such issues.
Most dentists will go through extensive training and additional certifications to ensure the accuracy and longevity of their dental implants. If the practitioner lacks the necessary expertise, then they may advise the patient to visit an orthodontic surgeon who will carry out the actual removal and replace the tooth. In both cases, you will have to pay more for a specialist.
A significant amount of work goes into the implant surgery.
During initial sessions, the dentist will take an X-Ray or CT scan of the patient’s mouth, to evaluate the condition of their gums, jawbone, and teeth.
After this, they will take a complete impression of the teeth and gums. At this stage, the dentist will be able to give an estimate on the length and cost of the surgery.
A mold is created from the impression. This mold is used to determine the size and shape of the screw that will be driven into the jawbone as well as the permanent crown which will be placed on top.
The screw consists of a piece precisely crafted pure titanium, while the crown is generally made from porcelain-fused metal or ceramic elements that are cast from a 3-D model to ensure optimal quality and effectiveness.
During a follow up session, the dentist will drill a hole into the surgical and insert the implant. However, they may need to extract one or more teeth to make room for the screw which will add further expense and complexity to the surgery.
If the dentist feels that their patient does not have enough bone matter to support an implant, then they will need to perform an additional bone graft prior to the implant placement. During this process, the dentist will place small pieces of organic or synthetic bone matter into the implant cavity. It will generally take a couple of months for your bone to regenerate sufficient amounts of matter for the surgery.
After the implant is placed. Over the next several months, a natural process known as osseointegration occurs in which the titanium screw is integrated into the existing bone structure.
Once the gum has fully healed, an abutment (connecting component) is screwed into the implant. Initially, a temporary crown is placed on this connector.
Finally, the temporary crown is taken out and replaced with a permanent crown that is fixed into position.
Pricing Breakdown for Implant Surgery
A standard single tooth dental implant generally costs between $1800 and $2500, depending on the materials used. However, the dentist may choose to apply a mini-implant instead. This smaller-sized screw is generally used to support supporting teeth or to hold a larger removable denture in place. Mini-implants cost anywhere from $300 to $900.
If the dentist decides that several tooth implants are needed, then the cost of surgery can rise to upwards of $10,000. A full set of implant-supported dentures may cost you anywhere up to $90,000 although the average price of these surgeries is generally estimated at around $35,000. A full upper or lower teeth replacement will usually cost around half that amount. Again, the more implants required, the higher the cost of surgery.
Dental imagery can cost anywhere from $25 to $200 depending on the detail and complexity of the scan.
The cost of the bone graft will depend largely on where the material is sourced from and the amount required.
For small and medium-sized grafts, bone granules are placed into the implant site, while a larger block of bone may be required if extensive bone loss is noted. If there is significant bone loss in the upper jaw, then a sinus lift may be needed, which will involve raising the sinus membrane, inserting bone matter, and sealing the incision.
In terms of the materials used, a bone matter from a human donor, a cow, or even a synthetic source will generally cost around $200 to $1200. If the bone matter is sourced from your own body, then the process will involve two surgical sites and anesthetics which will raise the total cost of grafting to up to $3000.
Again, the cost of the dental crown will depend on the materials used.
At the bottom-end an aesthetically pleasing but fragile resin crown can cost as little as $300 while a durable but visually disruptive metal crown can cost anywhere from $500 to $1000 depending on the specific types of metal used.
At the top-end a natural-looking ceramic or porcelain crown can cost you up to $3000 per tooth and adding a durable metal base will add another couple of hundred dollars to that estimate.
The cost of tooth extraction will be based on the complexity of the removal. Removing a single, fully-erupted tooth can cost no more than $75 to $300, although wisdom teeth tend to require more attention.
More complicated surgeries involving the excavation of the tooth and anesthetics can raise those prices to anywhere up to $600.
Other Factors to Consider
Location – If you are located in an area where medical treatment is higher than average then you may find yourself paying more for dental implants. The supply costs of materials will also affect the final tally.
Insurance – While dental implants are generally not covered under insurance plans, things are starting to change and an increasing number of providers are offering partial coverage for certain aspects of the dental implant procedure.
Dentist’s Expertise – As mentioned previously, a more qualified dentist will generally command a higher fee.
Complexity of Procedure – The number of teeth replaced, level of bone loss, and the overall stability of your oral environment will play a big part in how much the dental implant costs.
Learn more about our services and about dental implants.