If you have one or more missing teeth, your dentist may recommend dental implants, which both look and feel like your natural teeth. Dental implants are typically more expensive than other types of dental work. This is mainly because implants entail both a dentist and a surgeon, along with several appointments. What's more, most insurance companies don't cover the cost. If you need dental implants, here are some basic cost considerations.
Dental implants entail two main processes. First, your dentist puts in your implant. Then, about six to twelve weeks later, he or she covers the implant with a crown.
If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) at your job, you could split the procedure between the end of one year and the beginning of the following one. By doing so, you can apply two years' worth of your pretax employee spending account to cover a significant portion of the cost.
Consider a Dental Discount Plan
Sign up for a dental discount plan. If you live in a large city, you can usually receive access to a group of dentists who've arranged to provide services for the about same fees as those on an insurance plan. Besides being cheaper than dental HMOs, plan holders can see the costs and discounts before they have their procedures. Unfortunately, dental discount plans aren't usually available for people who live in small towns or remote areas.
Consider Dentistry Schools
You can save a considerable amount of money off the cost by having your procedure done at a school of dentistry. Dental students are closely supervised by experienced dentists, so you don't have to worry about an inferior procedure. Even if you decide to use a professional dentist, these clinics can still give you a good second opinion.
On the other hand, only low-income patients receive top priority for this service, meaning there can be a long waiting list. Also, the hours can at inconvenient times, such as during your work day.
Look for Dental Clinics in Your Area
People with low incomes can take advantage of a free dental clinic. To see if you meet the qualifications for free dental implants, call the dental society in your state. There are both state and local dental associations listed on the American Dental Association website directory. If you do qualify, your state dental society can give you a referral to an orthodontist who can do the procedure either free of charge or at a much lower rate.
Consider the Alternatives
There are some alternatives to dental implants. These main options include bridges or partial dentures, which are particularly good choices for people who still have several doable teeth for supporting a crown or bridge.
- Removable partial dentures—This may be an effective alternative for restoring several teeth. Partial dentures are cheaper, but they look less natural and don't work as well as implants.
- Bridges—They typically last for five to 15 years or longer, provided you take good care of them. In most cases, dental insurance covers a percentage of the cost.
Please don't hesitate to contact your dentist if you have any questions. Perhaps your dentist or orthodontist knows about some new, generic implants that are less expensive. You may be surprised to learn about some cost-saving options.