Why Are Dental Implants so Expensive?

The cost of dental implants is something  about which we are very frequently asked at our dental practice in Solihull. Dental implants often run into the thousands of pounds but why is this? In this blog post we will look at how dental implants can be made more affordable and what the components are which make up the cost of dental implants.

What makes up the cost of dental implants?

If you had to replace a missing tooth a dental implant is often considered the most viable solution, but what makes up the cost of the entire dental implant?

The cost of dental implant is made up of the following:

  • The planning stages.
  • The dental implant surgery to place the implant itself.
  • The restoration of the crown (the part of the tooth which you see) on top of the dental implant.
  • The dental implant components themselves.
  • The time of the dentist, implant surgeon and dental technician.

Let’s look at each of these in turn

The planning stages.

Dental CT scanWhen you first coming to the dental practice with missing teeth you will have an initial consultation with the dentist who will discuss your options, (We offer a free dental implant consultation) typically your options would be to:

  1. Do nothing.
  2. Have a denture.
  3. Have a bridge.
  4. Replace the tooth with a dental implant.

At this initial consultation you should be provided with a full treatment plan including all of your options which also lays out the cost of dental implants.

For the purposes of this blog post, we are going to assume that the best clinical option for you is to have a tooth replaced with a dental implant. Once this decision has been made the dentist will begin the planning stages. This could include CT scans, x-rays and impressions of your jaw which can then be replicated in plaster.

 

Working with the scans and plaster models the dentist, surgeon and technician  can work out the best type of implant (length, width, style, brand) and plan the surgical stage.

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Many different types of dental implants to choose from

As part of this planning they will also work out the best type/style of restoration to have on top of the dental implant. The planning stages can often take a few weeks to collate all of the information. Your dentist, technician and dental implant surgeon may then spend a few hours discussing your case and working out the best solution.

Once the planning stages have been undertaken you can progress with the surgery itself.


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The dental implant surgery to place the implant itself.

implant-placement

With all of the planning complete you can progress to having your dental implant procedure. Sometimes the dentist themselves will place a dental implant or they may refer to another dentist who is a specialist or has a special interest in dental implant placement.

The surgery is usually performed under local anaesthetic but if you are particularly anxious it is often possible to arrange some form of dental sedation so that you are less aware of the procedure. It’s worth bearing in mind, however that dental sedation will often add to the price, particularly if intravenous sedation is used as an anaesthetist will often be present.

After the implant has been placed you move onto a healing phase, during this time you will often be provided with a temporary restoration, this may be in the form of a removable bridge.

The restoration of the Crown (the part of the tooth which you see) on top of the dental implant.

Dental implant Compared to tooth rootOnce the healing phase is complete and the dental implant has fully integrated into your jaw then you can move on to having a dental crown fitted on top.  You may have a visit by the dental technician to take a detailed analysis of the colour of the surrounding teeth in order to match the new tooth in perfectly. If you are having multiple teeth replaced then you have a slightly freer rein  as to the colour that you would like your new teeth to be.

The dental technician will then proceed to manufacture  the dental crown, this may be out of a zirconia material (zirconium oxide) this is one of the most abundant minerals known to man but needs to be highly processed in order to make it suitable for use within the human body.

The dental implant components themselves.

a cross-section through a dental implant

a cross-section through a dental implant

When you have a dental implant placed there is the cost of the titanium implant which is placed into your jaw. This is a precision made piece of engineering which is manufactured  down to Micron accuracy (thousandths of a millimetre).

There will also be an abutment which joins the dental implant onto the crown on top. This abutment will probably have a precision made gold screw, the screws are usually made out of gold as they are a slightly softer metal. When the screw is tightened the softer gold screw has some give, this allows the screw to be tightened more tightly but also means that in the event of excessive force being applied the dental implant itself will not break.

The screw becomes a failsafe in the system, it is far better for the screw to break (a relatively low cost component) than it is for the dental implant to file  all the crown on top to break.

The time of the dentist, implant surgeon and dental technician.

Whilst it is extremely difficult to say exactly how long or how many hours each professional will spend on your case it is estimated to be in the many tens of hours.

By the time your dentist, technician and surgeon have been through the diagnostic, treatment, healing, restoration and post-treatment follow-up stages  they will have spent many hours working exclusively  on your case..

How much do dental implants cost?

In order to make this more understandable most dental practices do not quote for each individual stage, they simply place all of the stages and associated fees into one cost. At our dental practice in Solihull, dental implants start at £1995.

We also offer 15% discount to any patients on our Denplan practice scheme,  further details of the Denplan scheme can be found here.

If one considers the lifetime value of this then dental implants are often the most cost-effective option. Implants should last many years providing high-quality dentistry, allowing you to smile eat and chew again with confidence. Who can put a price on that?