There are many factors and components to consider when discussing the cost of a dental implant. To begin, lets start with what a dental implant is. A dental implant is a metal structure that is implanted into the jaw bone to replace the root of a tooth. This is done through a surgical approach where a small amount of bone is removed to make room for the dental implant, the implant is then placed into the jaw and then is either covered over by the patients gums and sutures or with a metal healing cap. The implant is then typically left alone to allow the bone and implant surface to integrate. There are other components that need to be considered when getting a dental implant. Technically, the implant is only the metal piece that is placed into the bone but the tooth (crown) that is placed on top is commonly grouped in with a dental implant. The crown is made by a dental laboratory typically outside of the dental clinic. The crown can be made out of several materials and include porcelain, metal (gold), or zirconia. It is attached to the implant through what we call an abutment. The crown is either cemented or screwed onto the abutment. So in summary, a tooth that is replaced with a “dental implant” is made up of three parts,
- Dental implant
- Implant supported crown
Now, why do dental implants cost so much? There are several factors that need to be considered, they include,
- Price of materials
- Specialized equipment
- Supply and demand
- Third-party expenses
Education: The dental provider that is placing the surgical implant typically goes through additional training to perform this procedure. Dental implant placement surgeries are not typically taught to proficiency in undergraduate dental programs. Therefore, general dentists must take additional training where there are costs associated with travel, tuition, and downtime from work. Specialists including oral surgeons, prosthodontists, endodontists, and periodontists typically receive surgical implant placement training in their graduate studies. These programs range in time from 3 to 6 years in addition to general dentistry education.
Price of materials: In addition to the three parts discussed above (implant, abutment, and crown) there are several other materials that need to be considered. They include but are not limited to healing abutments, impression copings, impression trays, impression material, anesthetic, irrigation, consumables, and many others. Many of these items are implant specific, highly regulated, and therefore quite costly.
Specialized equipment: The equipment needed to place and restore a dental implant is typically specific to dental implants. Therefore, it cannot be used for other purposes inside a dental practice. This equipment needs to be purchased and can be expensive.
Time: Simply put, everyone’s time is worth something. If an oral health provider and their staff are spending time placing or restoring your dental implant, they need to be compensated for that time.
Supply and demand: Dental implants are becoming a more popular choice of treatment but typically are not done on a frequent basis in dental practices. As more people get implants, more manufacturers supply the necessary components, and more providers place and restore them, they may come down in price.
Third-party expenses: When a dental provider takes an impression to get your implant supported crown made, he or she typically sends it to a third-party laboratory to fabricate the crown. That laboratory has expenses (equipment, wages, rent, etc.) and charges a fee for their service.
For your reference (at the time of writing this blog post on the price of a dental implant),
- simpli dental’s price for an implant supported crown is $661 plus laboratory (Compare at $1322 plus laboratory from the 2019 suggested fee guide)
- The price for dental implant surgery ranges, from our experience, most providers that complete the surgeries charge between $1500 and $2000 for this procedure.
- Other costs to consider are additional components and laboratory fees that may be passed onto the patient
We hope this sheds some light on the price of a dental implant. If you have any questions, need additional information, or would like a consultation to see if you are a candidate for a dental implant, don’t hesitate to contact us.