Cost Of Dental Implants
Find out how to replace your missing teeth with a dental implant. Discover how to get dental implants and save on costs in Australia.
If you are missing one or more of your teeth, you can get them replaced with dental implants. Dental implants are one method of treating missing teeth, but they are most recommended by dentists due to the advantages over alternate treatments. Not only are dental implants designed to provide a long-term solution with minimal maintenance, but the dental implants best replicate natural teeth compared to other treatments. What sets dental implants apart from other replacements, including dentures, bridges or crowns, is the titanium base. The implants are installed directly into the base, which naturally fuses to the bones in your jaw.
With the titanium base fusing to your jaw, it creates a durable anchor for your implants. This stops the implants from slipping or other unwanted movement, a common issue with other types of artificial teeth. Eating becomes much easier with dental implants. Patients are also more comfortable with their appearance because the dental implants are designed to perfectly mimic the appearance of your original teeth. While it is an effective way to fill in your teeth, there are some steps you must take to prepare for dental implants.
Dental Implants Installation Process
Installing dental implants is a complicated process that requires multiple dental visits. Before you can even think about getting dental implants, you must go through an examination process to determine if your jaw is healthy enough for the implants. This involves a comprehensive dental exam, where your dentist will use both X-rays and 3D imagining to assess your oral health. The dentist will also make a mold of your teeth and jaw. If you are approved, the mold is used to help design the implants. Your dentist will also look through your medical history to come up with a possible treatment plan if you are healthy enough for implants.
The exact installation process will vary depending on the patient, including where you need the base installed and how many teeth you are replacing. Once the titanium implant is installed, you must wait for the base and your jawbone to merge. How long this take varies depending on the strength of your jaw, but on average, it takes several months. When the titanium base settles, the abutment, a structure to hold the new teeth, is installed. While this is a fast installation, you must wait for your gums to heal before moving onto the next step. On average, this takes between two to four weeks.
When your gums recover, the next step is to start fitting the new teeth. Your dentist will take another mold of your mouth to account for changes from the titanium base. The mold allows your dentist to create realistic crowns that match the rest of your teeth. There are two separate options for crowns, removable and fixed. Removal crowns share some similarities with dentures. The crowns snap directly onto the abutment. Fixed crowns are either screwed or cemented directly into the abutment.
Cost of Dental Implants in Australia
The cost of dental implants changes based on which materials you use. The two most common implants use either titanium or zirconia. Zirconia is a new contender to dental implants, but has shown to have some advantages over titanium. While titanium is biocompatible, zirconia can be built into a single system, combining the base and the abutment into one unit. This makes the installation process easier and cuts down on recovery time. Because these implants are still considered new, they are typically priced higher than titanium implants.
Dental implants are more expensive than other teeth replacement options, costing around $4,000 to $6,500. In comparison, dentures typically cost between $600 and $800 per tooth. Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to supplement some or even all of your implant costs with your insurance.
As of writing, Australian Medicare does not support dental implants because it is considered a cosmetic dental procedure. However, if your dentist recommends it because it will improve your oral health, you can appeal for coverage and may be able to get a portion of the costs covered. Other insurance providers will cover dental costs. For example, Centrelink can be applied to your dental costs, including dental implants.
Another exception is if your dental implants are classified as hospital care. In most cases, implants are performed in a dental office, which is classified as outpatient care. If you are missing teeth as the result of another medical condition or accident, your treatment may occur in the hospital instead. Having your implants installed in a hospital uses a different process, involving surgery and bone grafting to install the implant base. Because this occurs in a hospital, any type of insurance with hospital care, including Medicare, applies to your dental implants.
Tips to Save Money on Dental Implants
If you do not have insurance coverage to help with dental implants, one of the ways to save money is shopping around. Get multiple quotes from dentists, as well as any periodontists or oral surgeons in your area. Different dentists have deals with medical providers, which can significantly change the cost of equipment, which has a direct impact on how much you pay for a procedure. Where your dentist is located can also affect the cost. In most cases, dentists in larger cities charge patients more because they have greater overhead costs compared to dentists in a smaller area.
You can also save money by financing your dental work. Dental financing is almost identical to taking out a loan. Your financer offers upfront costs for your implants. In return, you pay back the borrowed money in monthly payments, with interest. Services like MediPay and the Australian Lending Centre.
Finally, keep an eye out for dental discount plans. With a dental plan, you pay for a yearly membership, but receive significant discounts on dental procedures. There are many plans that provide anywhere from 40 to 60 percent off your dental procedure. This is a good idea for dental implants, since it takes several months and multiple trips to the dentist. Some plans only offer selective discounts, so make sure you carefully look over what services are covered when considering a discount dental plan.