Over the past several years, dental implants have evolved into a comfortable, streamlined, successful way to replace your missing teeth. And what was once out of reach for most middle-class Americans has now become a streamlined and “gold standard” for smile restoration. But how can you know whether or not you’re personally able to afford dental implants?
Even though dental implants do require a bit more of an investment up front, the most important thing to know is that they’re designed to last a lifetime. When you compare them to more conventional tooth replacement solutions, implants offer a more promising return on investment. The real question to ask might not be, “Can I afford dental implants”, but actually, how can you afford not to get them?
Still, the investment in implant therapy is one that requires a bit of planning, question-and-answer sessions, and even knowing who to choose as your provider. Here are some important things to remember when it comes to being able to afford dental implants and invest in a smile solution that enhances both your appearance as well as your quality of life.
Figure Out How Many Dental Implants You Need
When you have missing teeth, getting dental implants doesn’t necessarily mean requiring a “1 for 1” treatment. Yes, if there’s a specific tooth in one area of your mouth that’s missing, you’ll need an individual implant in that location. But if you have a row or 3-4 teeth that are missing, you can use a pair of implants to support a multi-tooth dental bridge (essentially using two implants to replace four teeth.)
The integrity of dental implants means they can safely and predictably bear the weight of multiple teeth. That’s why full-arch rehabilitation can involve as few as four implants per arch. That’s right. Four strategically placed implants in your upper or lower jaw may be all that you need to permanently support a fixed, hybrid restoration. Some people may need 5-6 per arch, but that’s still replacing up to 14 teeth at a time. As surprising as it sounds, it’s completely safe and predictable.
You won’t know how many dental implants you need for certain until you visit your dentist for a consultation. After a brief visit and assessment of your unique oral anatomy, our Raleigh dentist can give you an idea of how many implants you should get and the types of restorations that fit your circumstances. When possible, we try to provide you with more than one option. Although that’s not always possible, we know that most people need to have a variety of choices to afford dental implants.
Afford Dental Implants by Selecting the Best Restoration
Dental implants are just the “root” portion of your new “teeth.” To complete the smile transformation and tooth replacement, you’ll need a restoration to go on top of them. One of the significant variables in whether or not you can afford dental implants is the type of restoration that you choose or need.
For instance, a single porcelain crown that’s placed on an implant will have a set price, as will a full arch overdenture. But one will have a lower “per tooth cost” (the overdenture) than the other (the crown.) Much of it depends on how many teeth are being restored, the type of material your restoration is made from, and any additional aesthetic steps taken by the lab. Another common implant restoration is a fixed bridge. Like crowns, bridges are usually made from some type of ceramic.
Full arch prosthetics potentially have the widest cost variable. If you’re getting an acrylic overdenture (that’s removable) you will obviously be paying less than a more aesthetic, fixed device like an “All-on-4” prosthesis.
Here’s the great news: dental implants are one of the most long-lasting tooth replacement treatments available. When you invest in implant therapy, you know you’re getting the best return on investment possible. That alone plays a huge role in deciding whether you can truly afford dental implants.
Ask Your Dentist if You Need Additional Treatments
Replacing missing teeth with dental implants isn’t always the same step-by-step process. Some people may not have enough bone support and require additional grafting to establish a healthy foundation before the implant can be installed. Or if the implant is being installed in place of an upper back tooth, you might need a “sinus lift” to raise the lining of your sinus cavity so that the implant doesn’t rub against it.
Sedation is another “add on” you’ll want to consider. Although sedation dentistry isn’t mandatory for implant therapy, some people just like to know that they can tune everything out during their appointment. The varying levels of sedation are fixed at different price ranges, with some extremely affordable while others require bringing in an additional specialist. Communicating your concerns ahead of time can help you plan for exactly what costs to incur.
Something else a lot of people don’t think about is additional tooth extractions (before implants are placed) or interim prosthetics while your mouth heals. Or if you’re placing an implant in your “smile zone”, you might want to whiten the surrounding teeth first so that a brighter shade of porcelain can be used for the implant crown.
Even if you can easily afford dental implants, it’s extras like these that can slightly raise the cost of your overall treatment plan.
Use Insurance, Financing to Afford Dental Implants
Does dental insurance cover dental implants? It will depend on your particular insurance policy. Most people can use their existing insurance coverage to make it easier to afford dental implants, even if the entire procedure itself isn’t completely covered.
When you call your dentist, just be sure to have a copy of your insurance card on hand. They may need to collect the information from you over the phone or will simply call it in when you arrive for a consultation. Their financial coordinators will get a breakdown of what your insurance covers, any deductibles involved, and what allowable amounts are included. From there, they’ll work the math onto your dentists’ recommended care plan, making it easier to see whether or not you can afford dental implants or alternative treatments.
Financing is another great way to afford dental implants. Dental financing can be used as a standalone service or incorporated with your existing insurance coverage. In most cases, you can get same-day approval and 0% or low-interest rates that easily fit into your monthly budget. The best part is you can get started on treatment as soon as you’re ready. A down payment may not even be required.
Choose an Experienced Implant Dentist
The personal experience and training of your implant dentist are extremely important. If you look for “cheap” or “budget” dental implants, you run the risk of lower quality materials placed in a hasty method. To protect the cost of your investment, it’s essential that you select an implant dentist with years of hands-on experience and additional post-graduate training.
Do you necessarily need to see a specialist, such as an oral surgeon or periodontist? Not necessarily. A highly trained general dentist can make it easier for you to afford dental implants if you have a fairly straightforward case. Their personal experience with cases similar to your own makes implant therapy accessible for a wider range of people without any extra dental referrals.
When you select an experienced implant dentist, you know that they will have worked with a wide variety of patient cases. From single tooth replacement to full mouth reconstruction, their hands-on interactions over the years will provide them with extra guidance about what works best for their patients. You can count on a more skilled provider to treat you like family, performing therapies that they would only recommend on their own smiles or the best of friends. And better yet, you can count on seasoned implant dentists to be honest with you when there’s a better option out there.
Ask for a Complimentary Consultation
One of the easiest ways to find out if you can afford dental implants is to book a free screening or consultation with our Raleigh dentist. Since not everyone qualifies for implants or doesn’t necessarily know which type of implant restoration they need, a complimentary visit can answer a lot of your questions.
During implant consultations, we discuss your specific goals, pressing oral health needs, what type of budget you’re trying to work with, and the different choices (if applicable) you have to work with. Such pressure-free visits make it easier to truly find out if you can afford dental implants and whether or not they’re right for you. The more information you have about the process and costs involved, the more comfortable you’ll feel about if implants are truly right for you.
You Can Afford Dental Implants in Raleigh
Thinking about dental implants? Looking to replace your missing teeth or uncomfortable denture? Call Raleigh Dental Arts today to request a zero-pressure consultation.