If you have missing teeth, one of your options is to have implants. Dental implants are much like dentures, but the main difference is that they are a fixed solution, whereas dentures are removable. Implants are more preferred because they look like your natural teeth – even feel like them. They are longer-lasting, too and allow you to talk and chew almost as if you never lost a tooth.
But unlike dentures, dental implants are expensive. This blog post gives you the information you need about dental implants, especially when it comes to the costs.
What is an Implant?
Dental implants are designed to replace your missing tooth right from the root. They are generally made of titanium and look a little bit like a screw. A surgical procedure is performed to position the implant in the jaw bone. Once the implant is placed, a crown is attached, effectively filling the gap.
To fit an implant, the patient should first be checked by the dentist. A few scans of the mouth will be performed. These scans are necessary, especially in determining the health of the bone structure. Some people have a diseased bone, or a part of it is missing. In that case, a bone graft may be done so that the patient can get an implant.
The crown is only temporary and will be removed anywhere from two to six months, depending on how fast the bone grows around the titanium implant. Once the bone and implant have fused, you will get a permanent crown, which is either screwed or cemented to secure it in place.
What if you’re wearing a full denture? If you do not have your natural teeth anymore, the good news is that you can still wear dental implants for complete smile restoration. The process, however, can be quite complex. You will need to talk to your dentist and discuss the possibilities. Commonly, though, a full arch of dentures will be held in place using a few implants. The goal is to make sure the whole arch fits snugly and you’re comfortable with it.
Once the implanted denture is attached to the implant, you no longer have to be bothered with daily cleaning and removing of your teeth.
Are Dental Implants Suitable for You?
Almost everyone can have dental implants. The primary requirement is to be in good health. If you have no gum disease and with a healthy jawbone, implants may be recommended.
In most cases, dental implants are a successful procedure. However, some factors can affect the outcome, such as gum disease and tooth decay. That’s why it is essential to correct these issues first before proceeding with the procedure.
Your dentist will also tell you to stop smoking well before the treatment. And it is also advised that you give up that habit altogether, even when the implants are already fitted. Smoking impacts your body’s healing capacity, which can slow down the progress of the surgical procedure. It will take longer for the bone to grow around the titanium implant, which can delay fitting the permanent crown. Additionally, smoking is not good for your health, so you’re doing your body a favour by giving it up.
Certain medications can also hurt patients with implants. Medical conditions, such as gastric reflux, cancer, and diabetes, require treatment that can impact the implant result. It’s important to discuss your health history with the dentist to ensure that all stages of the procedure will be covered.
How Much Will Dental Implants Cost You?
The cost of dental implants varies significantly for several reasons. The final price usually depends on the type of treatment you need, your gum and oral health, and of course, the dentist’s fee. For example, if you require a bone graft, your procedure will cost you more than if you don’t need the additional process.
However, dental implants typically cost anywhere from $2,0000 to $7,000 for single implants. If you require all-on-four dental implants, the procedure can start from $17,000. Complicated cases could cost $30,000.
Does Medicare Cover Dental Implants?
The answer to this question is “No.” Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover dental implant procedures. That means you have to shoulder all the expenses. You may already be familiar with the fact that Medicare does not cover dental work, including implants. However, there are certain exceptions. If your oral health affects your overall health, Medicare may be able to help. You will have to get a referral from your physician using a GP Management Plan and Team Care Arrangement.
Another exception for those who plan to use Medicare for their dental implant is to be a concession cardholder. Some people are eligible for dental vouchers, which can be used for dental implant costs. However, the implant should be medically necessary for the concession cardholder to qualify for the voucher.
Can Your Health Insurance Help?
The good news is that there is a way for you to pay for your implants in a much more straightforward manner. While Medicare does not cover the procedure for most people, private health insurance usually does. Check your extras policies to know if major dental procedures are included. You can also talk to your insurance company to ensure you’re covered for periodontics. If so, you can lower your implant costs by up to $800.
Some extra policies include dental work, such as implants. You can find this information under the “major dental” section. You can also check the periodontics section, which pertains to treating gum disease and teeth structure.
If you find that your insurance covers periodontics, you should still verify that it does not exclude implants. Otherwise, the procedure will not be covered. Talk to your insurer to make sure.
Even if you’re covered, you should still be ready to pay for the excess amount. The benefit will certainly not be enough to pay for the whole cost of dental implants. Another thing to remember is that there is typically a 12 month waiting period before you can claim the costs of the procedure.
Some policies also include dental implants on the hospital cover. However, you cannot claim the cover unless you are admitted to a hospital and be an inpatient. It’s a tricky situation because the fitting of implants is generally performed in an outpatient setting. Therefore, you will only be covered if you require a special anaesthetic or undergo an extensive bone grafting procedure.
Are Dental Implants Worth It?
Dental implants are indeed pricey. Patients generally have to go through an extensive and elaborate procedure that needs surgery. Although implants help you restore your smile, the process itself is not considered a cosmetic one. As a result, Medicare will not pay a benefit that could financially assist you.
Another reason why implants are expensive is due to the complex requirements, which depend on the case of the patient. The implants should be tailored to suit your needs before they are applied to your jawbone.
Nevertheless, implants come with plenty of benefits. If you want natural-looking teeth that allow you to chew and speak like normal, dental implants are probably the best solution for you. More importantly, implants only require proper oral hygiene. If you take care of your oral health, your implants can stay with you for about 20 years. It’s even possible for them to last your whole life!