Of course if you’ve done any type of research, you’ll know that that dental implants are one of the more expensive dental treatments on offer, but that hasn’t stopped over 3 million people from going under the knife to achieve a great looking smile. In fact, implant-based restorations are considered the ‘gold standard’ of missing teeth replacement and not without good reason.
So if you want to find out if dental implant treatment is right for you and your bank balance, then you’ve come to the right place! This post will answer all your questions and probably more besides.
So how much does a dental implant cost?
In reality, a dental implant procedure can cost anywhere between $2000 and $7000 depending upon a number of factors. These include:
- Location – Cities like Sydney for example have a higher cost of living. Therefore factors such as rents and wages are higher. As a result, dental practices in the city have higher overheads and are therefore likely to charge more for their services.
- Type of Implant – Did you know there are over 500 manufacturers of dental implants in the world? It’s true! Those who have been leading the way in dental implant design spend enormous amounts of time and money researching the best implant shapes/types and materials to aid better outcomes. This is often reflected in the price.
- Experience of the dentist – The field of implantology never stays still. As such, dentists who want to be at the cutting edge of dental implant placement regularly spend a great deal of money attend training programs and seminars on the latest techniques. These costs are paid for by the dentist which is (more often than not) passed on to the patient.
- Complexity of the case – Variations in price are often reflected in the complexity of an individual case. Time is money as they say! If a bone graft or a sinus lift is needed, then clearly it’s going to cost more than a straight forward dental implant placement.
As you can see it’s almost impossible to put an exact price on dental implants as there are way too many factors and variables which can and do influence the final cost. This is why you’ll encounter such a variation in pricing.
Okay, so what about cheap $1000 dental implants? The rise of dental tourism!
So you’ve been looking through the paper and spotted adverts for what appear to be the cheapest implants in the world. So it’s understandable that when considering tooth implant cost, Sydney residents for example may decide to go to countries like Thailand or Indonesia who regularly advertise dental implants for fees that are a fraction of what it may cost back in Australia. The question is….is this a good thing or does it smack of ‘too good to be true?’
- Experience of the surgeon – Are they trained to the same high standards?
- Repercussions – Is there any come back for dental implant problems or implants that fail?
- Language issues – Are you able to clearly get across your aesthetic needs and requirements?
Of course, if you find the right clinic and the right dental surgeon then you might be quids in, but there is certainly more of an element of risk and this should always be taken into account.
What about the true cost of dental implants?
So far we’ve talked about the monetary cost of a dental implant restoration and understandably, this is the first thing that people think about when weighing up dental implant pros and cons. What people mightn’t immediately think about is the long-term costs when considering dental implants price comparison vs other missing tooth treatments.
Did you know for example that dental implants are the only form of missing tooth replacement that can halt bone absorption? This is the natural process that occurs when tooth are missing.
Under normal circumstances when a tooth is missing, the bone tissue that once supported the tooth root is no longer needed. As such it starts to diminish. Over a period of time as the tissue wastes away, it changes the shape of the jaw. This in turn can cause the skin to loosen on the facial area making you look older than your years.
Now here’s the scientific bit…
When a dental implant is placed, it cleverly mimics the now defunct natural tooth root as the remaining bone tissue fuses with the new titanium implant. Now, not only does it solve a gappy problem, it also stops the bone loss process and restores the facial features, boosting both confidence and self esteem.
But wait – there’s more…
Health and wellbeing – A better balance
When one or more teeth are missing it can make it difficult to chew certain nutritious foods. As such people may look to avoid them. In most cases, not getting the nutrients you need will have a detrimental affect on your overall health. But, even if the right foods are eaten, it’s possible that with missing teeth, they’re not being chewed properly. When this happens and the food eventually rests in the stomach, it can’t break it down. The result is undigested food which stays in the gut longer than needed. This can lead to other digestive problems such as bloating and/or constipation.
Talking of chewing, you might want to consider this….While other tooth replacement options such as a partial denture do resolve the toothless issue, did you know that the average bite force of a denture is around 20-30% at best? So even then, chowing down on a crisp green apple or a lean piece of meat might not be as easy as you think.
Conversely, a dental implant has an average bite force of around 80% of your natural teeth and as greater technology comes into play, this figure will increase. So having a dental implant really does allow you to eat whatever foods you like, giving you the freedom to choose a well-balanced diet if you so wish.
Perhaps another factor to take into account is the longevity of a dental implant. Take dentures for example: the average life span is usually somewhere between 7-10 years. So why is that?
Remember we were talking about the fact that bone absorption occurs as a matter of course after tooth loss? Well, the issue with any conventional full or partial dentures is that they sit on the gum line. As the bone gradually changes shape over time, then once snug fitting dentures becomes loose. When this happens they can move around in the mouth and become uncomfortable, not to mention the possibility of a highly embarrassing situation as denture slippage occurs right in the middle of speaking.
For these reasons dentures need to be regularly adjusted to take into account the changing shape of the jaw. Eventually, when they can no longer be adjusted, they will need replacing. Hence the average lifespan being 7-10 years.
Now take the tooth implant procedure…
Because a dental implant is anchored directly into the jaw, it isn’t affected by any changing anatomical features. This means that once secured into position it stays there, and although the crown part of the implant may need changing from time to time, the implant should remain in position indefinitely.
So how long do dental implants last?
The truth is that it’s very difficult to put an exact figure on the length of time a dental implant will last and in fact, it would take a naïve dentist to do so because there are so many hidden factors. These include:
- Possible future dental implant problems
- The efficiency (or not) with which the implant was placed
- The degree to which the dental implant is looked after by both dentist and patient
- Lifestyle habits such as smoking or heavy drinking and….
- Underlying medical issues such as diabetes
With this in mind, here’s what we do know…
In 1965 the very first dental implant was placed in a Swedish patient and remained intact right up until his death in 2006. Therefore we can say with some certainty that tooth implants have been proven to last for forty years. However many more implants that were placed into patients after that, are still going strong, so exact calculations are difficult. However, if we had to put a rough estimate on life expectancy, we could say with some degree of clarity that provided a dental implant was cared for in the correct manner, then somewhere between 25 and 30 years is the norm.
Already, even taking the minimal term into consideration, that’s over twice as long as the longest term that a denture should last. What’s more, once placed into position, dental implants really are hassle free. That’s the beauty and benefits of tooth implants right there!
The key takeaway
Sure a dental implant costs more than other tooth replacement options initially, but when you take into account the health benefits, the confidence boost it will give you, plus the many years of hassle-free maintenance, then actually, undergoing dental implant treatment offers a cost effective option which is second to none – and that’s not an exaggeration!
Okay, so what about the affordability factor?
Whichever way you look at it, dental implants are a big initial outlay, so the question should be…is affordable dental treatment actually possible without having to sell the shirt off your back?
Here’s the good news…
Many dentists who fit dental implants (including yours truly right here at Evergreen Dental) understand that the initial cost factor is a big stumbling block for many people. They also realise that the thought of undergoing what is in effect a relatively invasive treatment is daunting enough without having to worry about how the patient is going to pay for it upfront. For this reason, most dental implant dentists will provide a variety of payment options and payment plans that allow patients to spread the costs of the restorative treatment over a number of months. This makes affordable dental implants a real possibility. So if you are considering dental implant surgery, then don’t forget to ask your chosen clinic about possible payment options.
Speaking of choosing a clinic…how do you know which dental practice to choose?
Here are some quick pointers:
- Experience is key – Don’t be afraid to ask the dentist what experience they have. After all you really don’t want to be their guinea pig!
- Transparency – Choose a dentist who is upfront, honest, and transparent about prices right from the start. One who is happy to show you success stories such as dental implant before and after pictures – and one who wants to answer any questions and concerns you may have.
- Reviews – Do they have 5 star reviews? Do a bit of sleuthing and see what you dig up.
- Comfort – I’m not talking about state-of-the-art surgery, although this helps. Instead I’m talking about how comfortable you feel with the dentist. After all, you’ll be going on a 6-9 month journey together, so if you’re not sure that you’re going to be able to develop a rapport, then trust your gut. It’s usually right! Right?
- Word of mouth – Ask friends, family, and acquaintances if they can recommend a good dental implant dentist. If they can’t personally, it’s more than likely that they’ll know someone who knows someone – so get the word out that you’re in the market for an implant dentist and see what comes back.
So there you have it – everything you need to know about dental implant cost in Australia both from an initial monetary perspective and from a long term view. Hopefully this gives you the information you need to reach an informed decision about your dental dilemma.
Of course if you’d like to find out more about the dental implant process itself and what it actually entails, then that’s for a different blog; but if you can’t wait that long, then why not contact the team here at Evergreen Dental. As a Chatswood dentist we provide outstanding dental excellence with a great chairside manner. So go ahead and book your no-obligation consultation with Dr Chou and the team and take the first steps towards getting your smile back on the right track.