Ballpark Estimate: $3,000 to $20,000
The Need for Dental Implants
Though losing a front tooth is upsetting because it visibly affects one’s smile, people are often less concerned about losing back teeth. They think that as posterior gaps cannot be seen there is no need to get treatment to replace teeth in this area.
A dentist would disagree because from whenever teeth are lost there is a likelihood of the adjacent teeth tipping in towards the gap.There may also be excessive wear on the remaining teeth and loss of bone mass in the jaw.
So having established that it is better to replace any missing teeth no matter where in the mouth they were lost from, then it is time to consider how much it costs to replace a tooth using one of today’s modern dental implants.
Dental Bridge or Dental Implant
Until quite recently replacing a single tooth required a three-unit bridge. This is a fused unit of three false teeth in which the middle tooth ‘bridges’ the gap. Although the three-unit bridge was an innovative improvement on previous treatments and has been used successfully for a long time, it requires the whittling down of two healthy teeth which border the gap and thus is not an ideal solution to replace one single tooth.
The average cost of a three-unit dental bridge is $2,000 to $3,000.
The proper term for a dental implant for one missing tooth would be single-tooth implant crown. That’s because when you are talking about dental implants you are actually referring to both the implanted artificial root and the synthetic tooth or crown. This is an important distinction because each of these items will be charged separately by the dentist.
Another factor that may affect the eventual cost is the need for a custom abutment. Although 90% of the time, a custom abutment is not necessary, if it is required it will add between $600 and $1000to the overall cost of your single tooth implant.
The average cost of a dental implant without custom abutment is $3,000 to $3,800.
Cost Comparison – Dental Bridge vs. Dental Implant
It might seem at first glance that the dental bridge is better value for money but its ongoing functionality depends on the health of the supporting and adjacent teeth and gum. These teeth can decay and gum tissue can be lost to periodontal disease. When this happens it is likely that the whole bridge will need replaced and not the single affected tooth.
With an implant on the other hand, you originally pay for two or three separate elements. The implant itself can last for thirty years or more although the crown may need replacing after ten years depending on your oral hygiene and the pressure applied on it when you bite and chew. In this case you would only pay for the crown replacement and not the whole implant.
Therefore, although initially a dental bridge looks like a more cost effective solution, in the long-term, a dental implant will be a better investment.
Cost Breakdown of Dental Implants
This is the ‘artificial root’ that is sunk into the jawbone and replaces the root of your natural tooth. This will cost on average $1,800 to $2,000 although as noted below, depending on the type of implant used, the cost can go as high as $20,000.
This sits on top of the implant and holds the crown – the synthetic tooth. In most cases, a standard abutment will be sufficient and no extra money will be charged. Where a custom abutment is required, for example in cases, where the gum tissue is thin or excessively thick, it will cost approximately $800 to $1,000.
This is a custom made artificial tooth that sits on the abutment. The average cost for a dental implant crown is $1,400 to $1,600.
In standard cases, where the most common root form implant is used, the average cost for a dental implant (without a custom abutment) is: $3,400.
Types of Dental Implants
There are three different types of implant and which one is used will affect the overall price of the procedure.
Root Form Implant
This is the most common type of dental implant and is the one most people have in mind when they consider the procedure. It can be likened to an artificial root.
Dental Plate Implant
This option is used when the patient’s jaw is not of a suitable size for a root form implant. The root of the dental plate implant is a longer, flatter shape and thus works well for those who have a narrow jaw bone.
Subperiosteal Dental Implants
Subperiosteal dental implants are a custom-made implant that sits under the gum and rests on top of the jawbone. These implants are used in cases where the patient has a narrow jawbone or the bone is unable to support a root form implant. Because of the more complicated nature of the procedure a subperiosteal implant can cost as much as $20,000.
Dental Implants – Associated Costs
The costs quoted for dental implants do not take into consideration any fees for extraction or associated treatment like bone and tissue grafts.
Tip: Costs for dental implants vary widely from dentist to dentist and fees differ according to the complexity of the procedure. Find two or three dentists in your area that offer a free consultation for dental implants and then compare the advice and quotations you receive.