Dental implants are the most technologically advanced tooth replacement option available. They are the most natural looking and functioning prosthetic in dentistry. As you may imagine, the high quality of dental implants comes at a cost. A single dental implant to replace one tooth can cost anywhere from $3,000-$4,500.
The first question many patients have is whether or not dental insurance covers implants. The short answer is, it depends. Here’s what you need to know about dental implants and insurance coverage for the procedure.
What is a Dental Implant?
A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically placed in the bone of your jaw. The implant has threads or ridges like a screw to help it osseointegrate, or fuse, with the bone. The process of osseointegration takes a few months, but once it is complete the implant is solidly bonded to the bone for life. An abutment can then be attached to the implant in order to connect to a single crown, a bridge, or dentures.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants offer many benefits:
- Natural appearance. A dental implant looks very natural because the crown is anchored in the jaw in a way that mimics a natural tooth.
- Natural function. The solid bond of a dental implant allows it to function like a natural tooth, with the same bite strength and chewing force.
- Preserves bone structure. A dental implant prevents the jaw bone from deteriorating as it would over time if a tooth is missing.
- Provides secure anchor for prosthetics. Dental implants can anchor a dental bridge or dentures more securely than traditional methods.
Insurance Coverage for Implants
As far as typical dental insurance plans go, dental implants are not usually covered. In most cases dental implants are considered to be a cosmetic procedure according to insurance providers. They would prefer you get a less costly dental bridge to replace a tooth.
That being said, there are some custom insurance plans that may cover dental implants, but as you can imagine, you may have to pay a higher premium for the plan. You can discuss the options with your current dental insurance provider, or look into other providers and plans.
The biggest factor when it comes to getting insurance approval to cover dental implants is the reason for the implant. An accident that results in severe damage to one or more teeth that will need to be replaced could mean insurance will cover a portion of the procedure.
In some cases medical insurance will pay for the portion of the implant that is placed in the jaw, but not the prosthetic that is attached to it. This is because the root portion of the implant preserves and improves bone structure, which is an overall health benefit.
How to Make Dental Implants More Affordable
Just because your insurance plan won’t cover implants doesn’t mean they aren’t an option for you. There are ways to make dental implants more affordable. Financing allows you to pay for your dental implants in installments. CareCredit provides financing for a wide variety of out of pocket medical costs with promotional rates and terms.