Missing teeth can be embarrassing and make it difficult to chew food properly. Tooth loss can be the result of periodontal disease, advanced tooth decay, or injury. The good news is that in modern dentistry, there are several options available to replace missing teeth. By far the highest quality option available today is the dental implant. Not everyone is a candidate for dental implants. Whether or not your dentist recommends a dental implant is likely to depend on the spacing of your surrounding teeth and the amount and condition of your underlying bone. Once your dentist has approved you as a candidate for a dental implant, one of your first questions is likely to be, "How much will this cost?" There are three main factors that affect the cost of dental implants: Insurance, geographic location, and your choice of dentist.
First, you should be sure to check with your insurance company to find out whether they provide coverage specifically for dental implants. Implants are often specified in a separate category than other major dental services like crowns and bridges, and coverage can vary. The most common rate of coverage for the dental implant category is 50%, but this varies widely among insurance carriers and individual policies. Some policies do not cover implant services at all, while others cover at rates above 50%. Even if you have done your due diligence to verify that your dental insurance policy covers implants, always submit a pre-determination of benefits to your insurance company. Your dental office should do this on your behalf, but you may need to specifically request it. This should be done immediately after the diagnosis is made and the treatment plan is established so that your insurance company can consider any x-rays and additional information needed when considering the pre-determination of benefits.
As with any good or service, the cost of dental work varies depending on where you live. Dental implants tend to cost more in urban areas and in places where the cost of living is generally higher. Within each geographic area, every dental office sets its own fees depending on several factors. Specialists like oral surgeons, prosthodontists and periodontists tend to charge more than general dentists. Dentists who have been practicing for longer and have more experience tend to charge more than new dentists.
When evaluating the cost of a dental implant, be sure to carefully review your dental insurance coverage and consider your choice of a dental office. Dental implants can be expensive, but they are an investment in your health that should last a lifetime.