Dental implants are an increasingly popular option for people who are missing teeth, and it’s easy to see why. When compared to endodontic (root canal) treatment, conventional dentures or even tooth bonded bridges, dental implants outlast the other options, are much more comfortable, look and feel like your own teeth, and need no more maintenance than what you already provide for your own teeth. But they can be expensive, so some patients may feel that this treatment option is beyond their means.
The average cost of dental implants
Dental implant placement (first stage) costs between $2,500 and $3,000. Additional costs are applied to tooth removal (if needed), implant testing and production of the implant retained teeth.
Implant treatment can take place under with patients either awake (local anaesthetic) or asleep (general anaesthetic – day stay surgery).
Detailed quotations including the associated health fund item codes and Medicare rebates numbers are provided at the consultation.
CT and cone beam scans are covered by Medicare rebates when prescribed by a specialist surgeon.
Medicare rebates are available for patients who require bone grafting procedures, including sinus lifts. Bone grafting usually involves placement of bone graft products (most commonly “off the shelf” synthetic bone products) around the implant site to rebuild the jaw bone.
At the Dental Implant Specialist Centre, we have a payment plan system available for funding treatment. We can also assist you to apply to AHPRA for early release superannuation funds to cover the costs for implant treatment.
Teeth implants vary in complexity
The most obvious factor that drives up the price of your dental implants is complexity. The more implants that are needed translates to more planning and operating time, increased technology and expertise, and more expensive it is to produce the implant retained teeth.
Luckily, most cases don’t fall within the complex category. You can expect to pay more if you have a pre-existing dental or maxillofacial issue, or when you need teeth to be replaced (sometimes all of them). In fact, complex procedures involving complete implant replacements for all teeth can easily exceed $20,000. In return, you’ll have a beautiful smile.
Fake teeth (dentures) vs dental implants: cost
The benefits of dental implants are obvious, but the cost can be hard to get past for some, which is why a lot of people opt for fake teeth. Fake teeth are much cheaper than dental implants, but they are dissimilar products. Dentures will be less comfortable, less stable, and need to be regularly removed for adjustment and cleaning. Poorly fitting dentures will move within your mouth, making it harder to eat, speak and swallow, and can adversely affect the health of any teeth next to the denture.
On top of that, they’re not cheap. Despite being cheaper than dental implants, dentures and fake teeth can cost between $1,000 and $3,000. It’s worth giving dental implants some serious thought, even if you’re inclined towards dentures at this stage.
Endodontic (root canal) treatment vs dental implant costs
Root canal treatment may seem like the logical answer to preserve (mummify) your newly dead tooth, and hence retain a remnant (root portion) of your old tooth.
However, when you consider the costs of endodontic treatment ($2000 to $3000) of the remaining root portion, the fact that a new top (crown) will probably be needed to complete the treatment (another $2000 to $3000), and the fact that root canal treatment weakens the tooth remnant (root portion) making it more likely to fracture, become brittle, and fail as it ages, you will realise that implant replacement of the tooth is much better value. The costs are similar, the outcome is more stable (renewed root and crown portion), and the implant has increased longevity when compared to endodontic treatment of your existing tooth.
Dental implant procedure
Dental implants are completed through a series of minor surgical procedures, which are commonly conducted by specialist surgeons. As a specialist, I have undergone many years of additional training and technical refinement, assuring my patients that all of the available options have been discussed and incorporated into a truly customised treatment plan with detailed costings on a plan that suits their needs. I have been able to assist a number of patients who have been told that implant treatments aren’t possible due to lack of available and poor quality bone.
As a specialist surgeon, my patients have access to Medicare rebates for treatment such as bone grafting and sinus lifts, thus ensuring an affordable implant treatment.
The first stage will usually be tooth removal combined with implant (a small screw) placement as a single procedure. Combining these procedures achieves a number of things—a single procedure and single recovery; a faster treatment that is complete is 3-4 months rather than 6-12 months; the opportunity to attach a temporary tooth (crown) or bridge (joined crowns) to the implant(s) so that the patient has teeth in place from the time of tooth removal (same day teeth; teeth includes; immediate tooth replacement) rather than having to deal with a removable denture.
The second stage involves testing the implants bond strength to the jaw bone and planning the final implant borne prosthetic (crown / bridge / over-denture). Our practice uses a 3-D digital scanner (which is both fast and comfortable for patients) to register the implant positions and allow creation of the final implant retained teeth.
The third stage is the insertion of the final implant retained teeth (crown / bridge / over-denture).
In Australia, there are strict rules surrounding who can conduct dental implant procedures, and that can mean that the cost of dental implants is a little higher than some countries. However, to understand the higher cost, the patient is encouraged to understand that treatment in Australia (a first world country) is safer as it is performed by well-trained and highly experienced practitioners in a thoroughly regulated health industry.
Choosing a specialist
If you would like to know more about dental implants and how they could be used to improve your current dental status, then you’ll need to find a good specialist surgeon. Things to look for include qualifications, accreditations, experience, state of the art facilities, and (of course) good reviews. Ask around and see if any of your friends or family have undergone similar procedures, and if so, what their experience was. The more you know about what to expect, the easier it’ll be to choose a specialist surgeon for your dental implant procedure.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, it’s time to ask the big question: what do they charge? A consultation is the easiest way to find out, which uncovers the details of your particular situation, at which point a price can be given.
Consultations with our specialist surgeon attract Medicare rebates, and any additional scans are also Medicare rebate covered.