Will the cost of dental implants go down? That's a common question we're asked here at Healthy Smiles of Staten Island. The truth is, the cost of dental implants has been going down for years. Most people don't realize this because implants are still the most expensive option in the short term. "Short term" is a key phrase to understand here because, in the long run, implants are actually the most cost-effective method of tooth replacement.
Almost all dentists recommend dental implants as the first option for tooth replacement whenever possible. That's because of all tooth replacement methods, implants are the only ones that can prevent and correct bone loss. It's one of the major benefits of dental implants, in fact. Other methods like bridges or dentures only replace the visible portion of missing teeth. They do nothing to address the roots that are no longer in the jaw. When roots are not present in the jaw, it leads to bone loss. That can lead to other issues, so it's important to retain that bone whenever possible.
Before we go any further, let's talk about the cost of dental implants. This is the major sticking point for most patients who opt for bridges or dentures rather than going with implants. If you take a short-term view of things, dental implants can seem like the most expensive option. the cost of dental implants can range from around $3,000.00 for a single replacement to $30,000.00 for a full-mouth replacement.
If you're wincing right now, we understand. Most people don't like to hear those numbers. However, as we've said before, we're committed to full disclosure here at Healthy Smiles. We want you to have all the information. However, the price isn't all the information. In fact, it's only a small part of it. For example, a newer method of implants called the All-on-4 method uses only four anchors to secure an entire row of teeth. While this doesn't have the benefit of total bone protection the way a row of individually anchored teeth has, it's still far better than dentures. Again, that's only part of it. Let's talk about why dental implants aren't actually the most expensive option for tooth replacement.
Now let's look at the cost of a dental bridge vs an implant. The average cost for a dental bridge can range from $2,000.00 to $5,000.00. This depends on how many teeth you need replacing with the bridge. Okay, that's cheaper than implants, right? Well, in the short term, sure. But let's take a long-term look. The bridge initially costs between $2,000.00 and $5,000.00. However, bridges aren't permanent. They can last for years, but eventually, they'll need to be replaced.
When that happens, you're looking at another $2,000.00 to $5,000.00, depending on how much work needs to be done. The bridges themselves can wear out. The tooth underneath the abutment could wear out. The abutment is what's placed over the anchor teeth. Of course, if the anchor teeth develop decay, they might have to be drilled or removed. That means a total bridge rework.
Bridges also need to be replaced every 5 to 15 years regardless of damage. So unless you get your bridge late, late in life, you could need three or more replacements depending on the quality of the bridge. This brings your cost up to $15,000.00 on the high end. In the interim, the bone in your jaw has been slowly degrading, making it weak and brittle.
Barring some unforeseen circumstance like getting hit in the face by a large object or some other traumatic facial injury, dental implants never need to be replaced, and they protect the bone from deterioration.
Now let's look at the cost of dentures. Depending on the quality of the material, a set of full dentures can cost anywhere from $1,500.00 to $15,000.00 per arch. That means a full set of teeth can range from $3,000.00 to $30,000.00. On the high end, you've already hit the average cost of dental implants. In addition, even the highest quality, most durable dentures need to be replaced every 7 to 10 years to ensure fit and quality so the cost can quickly climb over time. Again, they don't protect the bone, and they're not permanent like dental implants.
Of course, replacement is only one cost associated with non-permanent tooth replacement. As noted above when we talked about bridges, they might have to be repaired before they're replaced. Dentures also have to be periodically realigned before replacement, as well. These all have a cost, so every realignment, repair, and replacement starts to rack up the costs more and more.
While the initial cost of dental implants might seem daunting. it's important to note that there are ways of paying for them without a lump upfront cost. Many dental insurances are starting to cover dental implants to a degree or at least part of the dental implant surgery. If you don't have dental insurance, you can also look into things like CareCredit®, a credit card made especially for health care needs. Using this card, you can finance your implants. Some dentists even offer payment structures to help you get the dental implants you need.
The short answer is yes. The cost of dental implants has been steadily decreasing for years, however, the quality of the implants has been increasing. They are the superior method of tooth replacement overall and they are actually equal to or less than the cost of other replacement procedures in the long term. If you need tooth replacement give Staten Island implant dentist Dr. Joseph A. Cipriano a call and schedule a free consultation. We'd love to talk with your about dental implants and how they can help you smile again!