How Much Dental Implants Cost And How to Pay for Them
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Dental implants offer an alternative to dentures and bridges for those who have one or more missing teeth. A dental implant is a new tooth root, which is embedded in or attached to the jaw. The dental implant has a post or frame attached to it, and your dentist attaches an artificial tooth to the dental implant that looks like a natural tooth.
Getting a dental implant is a long, often multi-step process, and the cost of dental implants reflects that reality. Here are the factors that impact the cost of dental impact and some options for how to pay for them, from a dental loan to your FSA or HSA.
- Your cost for dental implants depends on several factors
- Financing for dental implants
- Are dental implants worth the cost?
Your cost for dental implants depends on several factors
Since dental implants involve surgery, the question of how much they’ll cost is a complicated. Dental implants typically cost roughly $3,000 to $5,000 per tooth, but the exact costs vary based on the following factors:
- Where you live. The cost of living in a given area drives up costs for dentists and oral surgeons. The cost of overhead and obtaining supplies influences the costs of dental procedures, including implants.
- Your dentist or surgeon’s expertise. Dentists and oral surgeons can pursue accreditation from the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, and these credentials come with costs. Dentists and surgeons with extensive experience and a track record of success may also charge more for their services.
- The type of implant. The most common type of implant is endosteal, which attaches into the jawbone. A less common type is subperiosteal, which is placed under the gum but above the jawbone. Your costs will vary depending on which type of implant you need.
- The type of abutment. The abutment connects the implant with the crown, or artificial tooth. Abutments can be standard or customized and made from different materials, which impacts costs.
- The type of crown. Crowns can be made from ceramic, porcelain, gold alloys and base metal alloys. Each type of crown has a different cost, and the right type of crown for your implant depends on your situation and the location of the implant.
- Your dental insurance. Insurance coverage varies from plan to plan. Some insurance plans don’t cover implants, while others only cover a percentage of the costs.
- Whether other procedures are needed. If your tooth needs to be removed or if a bone graft is needed to support the implant, your costs will increase.
Dental implants are a multi-step process. Here’s a breakdown of the costs you might see along the way.
What your dental insurance will cover
Dental insurance varies significantly in what it will and won’t cover. Even if insurance covers dental implants, it may be subject to an annual spending limit or to clauses about pre-existing conditions.
If you’re not certain about your coverage or limits, talk to your dental insurance company. Here’s an overview of common dental carriers and the coverage they offer for dental implants.
Financing for dental implants
A personal loan can provide much-needed financing for dental implants. Personal loans typically have a fixed interest rate and a fixed term, which translates to predictable monthly payments. Interest rates do vary widely for personal loans, though, and they are based on your credit score. According to a LendingTree survey, customers with a credit score of 720 or higher had an average APR of 7.25%, while consumers with credit scores of 620 to 639 had an average APR of 31.16%.
Some lenders will let consumers borrow $35,000 or more, which you can use for financing dental implants as well as other purposes, but the average amount borrowed by consumers in the first quarter of 2019 was $11,700.
A personal loan may be the best option if you have a credit score that can command the best interest rates. Make sure to compare personal loan offers for dental work so you can find the one with the best terms for you.
A low-interest credit card with a limit high enough to cover your costs is another option for financing dental implants. In particular, cards with a 0% introductory rate are ideal if you can commit to paying off your procedure before the introductory period ends and interest begins accruing. However, these offers are typically reserved for those with good credit.
As with personal loans, the best credit card rates require good-to-excellent credit, which is a score of 700 or higher. Unlike personal loans, interest rates for credit cards can be variable instead of fixed, which can translate to less predictable monthly payments.
Financing through your dentist
Many dentists offer financing, often through third-party providers like CareCredit. Be sure to carefully review any financing offers to find out the terms, though. For example, CareCredit offers no-interest financing, but if you don’t pay off your bill within the no-interest term, you’re hit with all the interest charges from the date you initially financed your implants.
Some dentists may also work with you on a payment plan. Be upfront about your needs and what you can pay. It never hurts to ask.
Your FSA or HSA
A flexible spending account (FSA) is an employer-sponsored benefit. It allows you to set aside some of your paycheck pre-tax to use for medical or dental expenses. If you have an FSA account, dental implants are a great reason to tap into it. In 2019, you could contribute up to $2,700 to an FSA.
A health savings account (HSA) is an account for consumers with a high-deductible health insurance plan. For 2019, you can contribute up to $3,500 if you have an individual high-deductible health insurance plan, and up to $7,000 if you have a family plan. You can use your HSA account for dental expenses. These contributions are tax-deductible, so they lower your taxable income, which lowers your taxes. You can open an HSA on your own if your employer doesn’t offer one.
Are dental implants worth the cost?
Dental implants do have high upfront costs. They are also sturdy and easy to care for once the process is finished. Dentures and bridges need to be replaced every five to 15 years, and dentures need to be taken out every night and can be awkward to use.
Many consumers find dental implants to be a convenient option that gives a natural appearance and security. If you do decide that dental implants are the right choice for you, there are a number of ways that you can finance the cost.