Dental implants have become extremely popular as an alternative treatment for people who previously had to rely on temporary solutions like glued bridges or dentures. Many patients and dentists consider implants to be a superior option because they’re expected to last much longer than other cosmetic tooth replacements, and they look and feel more like real teeth.
Unfortunately, there’s a downside to this popular trend: dental implants can be expensive, especially in some parts of the country. With the average retail cost of a single tooth dental implant ranging from $1,500 to $6,000 (depending on where it’s performed and what materials are chosen), it’s easy to see how individuals can spend as much on multiple implants as they do on a vehicle.
So, if you’re hoping to fill one or more gaps in your smile and the dentist recommends implants, how can you afford it? This article will cover some strategies you can implement to help cover the costs of dental implant treatments and put this valuable service within reach for you and your family.
Working with insurance
In all likelihood, your current medical insurance plan offers no coverage toward dental implants. That’s because most standard health insurance programs don’t include dental coverage for adults, rather it must be added on as a separate plan. The few that do generally limit it to standard preventive care.
However, if you have a policy for dental insurance, the plan most likely offers coverage toward implants up to a maximum annual payout. Combined with the lower contracted fees participating providers have agreed to accept for the consultation and other associated visits, this type of dental insurance coverage can cover a significant portion of the cost of getting an implant. It won’t cover all of it, however, so there are still other options to consider.
Explore dental discount plans
Similar to insurance, dental discount plans will have a network of participating dentists who have agreed to offer their services at discounted rates to plan members. Assuming the plan you join includes discounts toward dental implant procedures, this can be another source of significant savings.
If you have both insurance and a discount plan available, it’s important to thoroughly research payment details and discuss the matter clearly with the dentist’s office prior to having services completed. This will allow you to determine which option saves you more money, while allowing the dentist to offer the best services and materials for your situation.
Financing through the office
"If you have both insurance and a discount plan available, it’s important to thoroughly research payment details and discuss the matter clearly with the dentist’s office prior to having services completed."
These days, many dentists and oral surgeons have made arrangements, privately or through a third-party lender, to offer financing for expensive procedures they know most patients can’t afford to pay for all at once. Each office will have its own plan set up, with interest rates, payment terms, and other details unique to that location.
While these kinds of private financing options usually end up more expensive than paying cash upfront for the services, the interest rates and terms tend to be more favorable than the average American’s available credit card or personal loan options. Especially if used in combination with insurance or a discount plan, financing the remaining balance of your implant procedure through the office can prove to be a convenient and cost-effective option.
Conventional credit or savings
A final option to consider is paying for a dental implant using your personal credit card(s), a personal loan or line of credit, or funds from a savings account or retirement fund.
Since it can be a significant purchase, each person needs to make their own decision on how highly they value the benefits of receiving a dental implant compared to the cost of credit or the limitations it may place on future spending. Similarly, if you’re going to take a large amount of cash out of a savings account or retirement fund, be sure you’re truly viewing the purchase as a valuable investment and not just an impulse buy.
Regardless of your personal financial situation, the decision to seek affordable dental implants is a big one and it deserves time and attention. If you don’t currently have dental insurance or a dental discount plan at your disposal, obtaining one or both is a logical first step in the process. Then, follow through with adequate due diligence and enlist your dentist’s help in choosing the best options for your ongoing oral health.