You might need dental implants for several different reasons.
We've seen it all—from tooth decay to broken teeth, tooth replacement from an injury or infection, and even to fill gaps between teeth.
But dental work can be expensive, labor-intensive, and stressful, which is why it helps to go into your procedure prepared.
In this article, we'll break down the current costs of dental implants, so you know exactly what to prepare for and how to prepare.
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?
As is true with all types of dental work, the true cost of dental implants varies based on numerous factors.
Let's take a look at the different factors that impact the final cost when you get your bill.
The Average Cost Of Dental Implants
A recent Forbes interview with dental professional Roger Levin, D.D.S. dives into the current average cost of a dental implant.
Dental implants can last between 15 to 20 years, making them a long-term investment for improving your smile. And they're priced accordingly.
Several factors impact the final cost of your dental implants:
- Number of implants required
- Placement of implants
- Additional dental services provided
- Location of dental services (i.e., the cost of living in your area)
- Creation of your dental crown and implant
- Timing of the procedure and its supplementary treatments
- Aftercare and follow-up visits
Moreover, no two dentists will charge the same for their implants. And since it is a quote-based procedure with several bills (not just one lump sum), doing actual research and getting multiple quotes can be a cumbersome task.
Below, we'll break down what you can expect to pay based on how many implants you need.
Single Tooth Implant Cost
According to Levin, the average lifetime cost of a single-tooth dental implant, including the crown and abutment (a post that connects the implant to the crown), runs between $3,000 and $4,500.
The American Dental Association’s reported averages for the expense of dental implants and their related treatments is slightly higher, ranging from $3,100 up to an estimated $5,800.
Multiple Tooth Implant Cost
The cost of implanting multiple teeth depends on whether or not the areas requiring implants are next to each other.
If they are on opposite sides of your mouth, you'll have to pay the per-unit costs out-of-pocket. Based on the above research and estimates, this means that replacing four teeth could cost upwards of $20,000.
If you need to replace multiple teeth that are next to one another, you'll have more options available. For example, filling a gap of three or four teeth can be done with a single bridge, which could cost around $6,000 to $10,000—over a $10,000 savings.
And depending on the type of bridge you need, this total could be more or less than that average.
Full-Set Implant Cost
Full-set implants (i.e., where all implants are replaced individually) are a costly procedure.
The average cost of a full set of dental implants is between $60,000 and $90,000—which is a wide range that reflects the complexity of the procedure and how many teeth need to be replaced.
However, it's important to note that since this type of procedure can take an extended amount of time, you may have to pay a bit more for the duration of it.
This can include additional visits and follow-up appointments that may not be included in the original quote.
Including all pre-operative, operative, and post-operative care can increase your full set implant cost even further.
All-On-Four Dental Implants Cost
Most people who need full implant sets opt for the All-on-Four procedure. This is a specialized placement of four implants that can support a full arch of teeth.
The average cost of this type of dental implant is between $25,000 and $50,000 per jaw—which is less than half the cost of replacing each tooth individually.
It's also less than half the effort, as a four-implant procedure is significantly less invasive, time-consuming, and strenuous than one requiring 32.
Hidden Costs Of Dental Implants
There isn't a concrete "price" for dental implants because they require additional services, which are individually priced. Each consultation, dental exam, surgery (there are sometimes multiple), individual procedure within your surgery, and recovery all require separate services, each with its own price.
The cost of these additional services cannot be accurately estimated until they are completed.
3D imaging technology (also referred to as cone beam imaging, or CBCT) is used to make sure the implant goes exactly where it needs to go. These exams are typically priced between $100 and $400 per jaw, depending on your dentist's rates and the technology used.
Sometimes, your dentist will include these in your total costs or provide them for free. Other times, you'll need to pay a third-party imaging center to complete them for you.
CBCT is fairly expensive, but it also reduces the amount of time required for the surgery, which helps reduce your overall cost. It also reduces the margin of error for your dental procedures, meaning your likelihood of a successful implant placement is much higher.
X-rays are usually required to make sure the bone in your jaw is healthy enough to support a dental implant. Prices for these vary from dentist to dentist, but they typically range from $25-$200 per X-ray, depending on the type and complexity of the procedure.
Your dental professional will also take x-ray images of your mouth throughout treatment and healing (e.g., after placement of the abutment and after the final restoration) to ensure everything is progressing as expected. These x-rays won't cost you anything—they're factored into the total cost of your procedures.
If you have teeth that are broken or severely damaged, you'll need a tooth extraction before the implant can be placed.
Tooth extractions typically cost between $75-$400 per extraction, depending on your dentist's rates and the complexity of the extraction.
In the case of tooth loss or an injury resulting in a clean socket, tooth extraction won't be necessary.
A bone graft is a procedure where healthy bones are transplanted into areas of the implant site where there is insufficient or absent bone tissue. It's a necessary step to ensure that there is enough support for the dental implants, and if done properly, it will ensure that they remain stable and secure in the long run.
Bone grafting can be done with various types of material, and the cost can vary significantly based on the type of graft and materials used. The price range is usually between $500 and $2,000, but this could be higher or lower depending on your dentist's rates and the complexity of your case.
A sinus lift is a procedure where the sinuses are elevated and grafted with new bone material in order to create more space for your dental implants.
The cost of a sinus lift typically ranges from $1,500 to $5,000, depending on the complexity of your case. If you need this type of procedure, it's important to talk to your dentist so they can provide you with an accurate cost estimate.
Depending on the type of anesthesia you need, the cost can range a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per hour.
If you need IV-administered sedation, you can expect to pay around $1,000.
For those who need a local anesthetic, you won't need to pay anything extra.
It's tough to know exactly what specialist care entails, but here are a few common procedures:
- Root canals
- Dental crowns and bridges
- Guided surgery or implants
- Advanced periodontal treatments
Patients who need specialist care typically have to pay an extra fee for those services. These costs vary depending on the type of specialist and the complexity of your case, but you can expect to pay anywhere between $500-$5,000 more in addition to your dentist's fees.
If you have trouble relieving pain after an implant, you may need to take pain medication.
Painkillers are usually not expensive, but the cost depends on the type and dosage prescribed to you by your doctor.
Your doctor will also prescribe an antibiotic, which shouldn’t cost more than a few dollars.
You can minimize your need for these medications by eating certain foods, taking care of your implant site, and avoiding anything too strenuous in the days following your operation.
Alternatives To Dental Implants
If you are looking for an alternative, there are plenty out there at a range of costs. The best option for you depends on what exactly you need and how much you can spend.
Here are some of the most common alternatives to dental implants:
Bridges are custom-made prosthetics that use existing healthy teeth to support an artificial tooth. They can range in cost from $500-$5,000, depending on the type and complexity of the bridge your dentist uses.
Dental bridges are best for patients who are missing one or two teeth and have healthy neighboring teeth that can support the bridge. However, they are close to the same cost as implants and don't last as long.
Dentures are removable prostheses made of acrylic or metal, and they typically cost between $1,200-$2,500. They are a good option for replacing multiple teeth, but they require more maintenance than implants.
If the tooth you need implanted is in the back of your mouth, partial dentures are a better idea for cost savings since they aren't as visible. But if you want a permanent front tooth, implants are the better choice.
Although it is uncommon, some people have their teeth removed in order to replace them with straighter and more aesthetically pleasing ones.
If your teeth are misaligned, wearing braces might be a better option than having your teeth removed and replaced, especially if you’re on a budget.
If all you want to do is whiten your smile, you can easily do so with in-office teeth whitening procedures (which are considerably less expensive than implants).
In-office teeth whitening usually costs a few hundred dollars, depending on the type of procedure and your dentist's rates.
To ensure your implant matches the rest of your mouth, you may have to do this after your procedure, anyways.
Why Are implants So Expensive?
Like we mentioned earlier, there are several factors that influence the final cost of your dental implants. And since each step requires care, precision, and medical expertise, you can expect to pay a higher price tag than your routine check-ups.
If you live in an area like California or New York City, the cost of implants will be even higher, as the cost of sustaining a business in those areas is also higher. Still, many people travel to more populous cities like these to ensure they consult with top dental talent, albeit at a higher cost.
Does Insurance Cover Implants?
Dental implants aren't always covered by insurance, especially if you’re just replacing a cosmetic tooth or if the procedure is considered to be elective. Insurance companies almost never cover these kinds of procedures, and they will usually try to claim one or the other.
However, if you're having the implant medically necessary (like if it's needed for chewing or speaking), full or partial coverage may be available depending on your insurance provider.
Are Dental Implants Worth It?
Regardless of whether or not your insurance covers it, a dental implant is worth the cost if you're looking for a long-term solution. Not only do they last longer than bridges and dentures, but they are also more aesthetically pleasing.
On top of that, they don't require as much maintenance as other options, which can save you money in the long run—especially if you might end up needing an implant later in life anyways.
To ensure you maximize the value of your implant, you can try at-home teeth whitening procedures or natural whitening options that ensure the surrounding teeth keep their matching color as well.
Can I Get Dental Implants Free Or Subsidized?
There are a few ways you can get free or subsidized dental implants, but they all come with caveats. If you want to get your implants for free, you may have to participate in a clinical trial or apply for a special grant. If you're looking for more options, some dental schools offer discounted rates.
The Bottom Line
Dental implants can be expensive, stressful, and time-consuming. But if you do your research and find a dentist who is experienced in implantation, you can make sure the procedure is worth it. The benefits of having a permanent tooth replacement can be well worth the cost, as long as you understand all of the costs associated with it.
No matter what kind of dental treatment you decide on, understanding the costs ahead of time can help you prepare long-term.