There are often many questions about the cost of full mouth dental implants and why the cost seems to be extremely high. This blog post takes a detailed look at the alternatives to implants, how to keep the cost down, why the cost is as it is plus lots more useful information to anyone wanting a permanent replacement for missing teeth.
We will work through the question about the cost of implants by answering a range of the most commonly asked questions, please feel free to scan through to find the answer which most clearly represents your question.
How many teeth can be replaced with dental implants?
Dental implants can be used to replace a single missing tooth or a full mouth of missing teeth. A variety of techniques used from single crowns to bridges to the dentures (commonly called false teeth). Each has a slightly different use and have a different cost associated.
What are the pros and cons of a full mouth implant?
Just because you have dental implants doesn’t mean to say that you don’t need to look after your new replacement teeth. Dental implants can be just as susceptible to gingivitis (gum disease) which, in natural teeth, can progress on to the more serious periodontitis butting dental implants can progress to peri-implantitis, a serious condition which can ultimately mean the dental implants need to be removed.
Are dental implants noticeable?
The thing to bear in mind with dental implants is that it’s not the implant which you see, it is the restoration on top of the implant which is seen. The dental implant typically is completely concealed within your jaw and underneath your gums. There is then a trans-mucosal element which links the dental implant to the final restoration, either Crown, bridge or denture.
In some instances, particularly with full mouth dental implants, there is a need to keep the implants self-cleansing underneath. This means there may be a gap underneath where the full dental bridge meets your gums. However, this will only ever be used on patients with a lower smile line meaning that even when you smile your broadest smile you will still not be able to see this gap. It’s all in the planning of the implant placement!
What is the best alternative for teeth implants?
This is a great question as there are a few alternatives for dental implants once you have had teeth removed.
- Do nothing. The temptation can often be to always want to have treatment, however sometimes doing nothing is the right thing to do. You do need to know that if you do not have the missing tooth replaced then the adjacent teeth can start to drift, this can cause biting problems later on.
- Dental bridges. If you have a few missing teeth, usually up to 3 in a row you may be able to have a dental bridge. This works on the assumption that you have teeth either side of the ones that are missing, these teeth either side will be reduced or prepared to receive the supporting element for the new teeth. Dental bridges can work well however do require reduction of possible otherwise healthy tooth structure.
- Dentures. Dentures are often the lowest cost way to replace missing teeth however many people dislike the idea of them being removable and prefer fixed option such as implants or bridges. Modern cosmetic dentures do however look incredibly lifelike and can be made to blend in with the oral environment almost seamlessly. A full set of dentures can also look incredibly realistic.
How long does the dental implant treatment take?
Once you have decided that you want to go ahead with dental implants is important to know how long this treatment process may take.
Even the simplest dental implant treatment will usually take 6 months from initial planning through to having the final restoration fitted. This is because sufficient planning to ensure the implant is placed in exactly the right location can take time liaising between the dentist, dental implant surgeon, and dental laboratory.
Once the planning has been undertaken and you have the dental implant placement we then need to wait for osseointegration of the implant. this is the process by which the dental implant integrates with the bone of your jaw, this takes anywhere between 3 and 6 months. After the implant has fully integrated we can then proceed to the final stage which is having the restoration, either a dental crown, bridge or denture.
Why are dental implants so expensive?
This is a question we get asked often, the cost of dental implants, particularly the cost of full mouth dental implants can be very expensive… Here’s why.
A dental implant is made up of several components which makes the material cost expensive. However, the most expensive part of dental implants is in the training, education, and expertise of the surgeons performing the treatment.
let’s look at all the costs of a dental implant separately:
- the implants themselves. the dental implant components are manufactured to exceptionally fine tolerances of 1000th of a millimetre. This is to ensure that the implant lasts for the maximum amount of time and that all of the components of the implant fit together with Micron precision. Manufacturing to these tolerances can be extremely expensive and it’s sometimes this lack of quality control which is missing with the cheaper dental implant systems.
- treatment planning. Throughout the treatment planning process, there will be multiple visits to the dentist for detailed measurements and discussions about the final outcome. Treatment planning often involves complex stands and computer modeling using the latest digital technology to ensure that the implant is placed in exactly the right position, missing all-important nerves and blood vessels.
- specialist equipment. For large dental implant cases such as full mouth dental implants, CT scans are often used. These scans can then be imported into specialist software where the treatment can be rehearsed prior to placement of implants themselves. This is what separates a high-quality dental implant centre from somewhere which does not undertake this detailed level of planning.
- surgical fees. There are then a wide range of surgical fees involved in the placement of a dental implant if a specialist is employed to place the implant their cost will be higher than a regular dentist. There are also the dentist fees which will encapsulate the cost of the team at the dental practice including reception and nursing team members.
- dental laboratory fees. once the dental implant has been placed there will then be dental laboratory fees. I don’t laboratory is used to manufacture the restoration on top of the implant, apart which you see. Using a cheap laboratory can be tempting to keep costs down but is a false cost saving as this is the part of the dental implant that you will actually see and is therefore often viewed as one of the most important parts from the patient perspective.
- Cross infection control. Of course, we want to ensure that there are no infections or other problems which arise out of having a dental implant. Modern quality care commission standards require the highest level of cross infection control which can often involve computerised equipment to manage the sterilisation procedure.
- education and registration. Lastly, but definitely by no means least is the education and registration of your dental implant team. You will want to have your dental implant is placed by someone which has the highest level of training and skills, this training and skill level does not come cheaply and there is a large investment required both in terms of time and money by the dental implant team to ensure they stay up-to-date with the latest technology, techniques, and materials.
Clearly, as the number of implants and time taken increases then the cost will also increase proportionately, this is why the cost of former dental implants can often seem so high
Why are dental implants best for tooth replacement?
So, you’re thinking about dental implants but want to know why they are the best? As we’ve already said there are multiple ways to replace the missing tooth, dental implants, dental bridges or even dentures. However, dental implants, with some distinct advantages.
- support for the teeth on either side of the gap. Teeth are living parts of your body, they stay in their position by supporting one another. If that supported lost then the teeth can begin to drift. If the tooth is lost then the teeth either side will have a tendency to tip into the gap. This can cause biting problems at a later date.
- Support for the teeth opposite the gap. Unbelievably, your teeth will actually start to over erupt if there is nothing opposing them. The lower teeth will drift up and the top teeth will drift down. If you have a tooth missing on either jaw then the tooth/teeth opposite it may begin to drift into the gap. Again this can cause biting problems at a later date.
- Support for the underlying bone. When you have a tooth removed or you lose a tooth then there is inevitably a hole. The surrounding bone collapses into this hole and as it does so bone quantity is lost. This can mean that having a dental implant at a later date may require bone grafting or other forms of implant surgery in order to rebuild the level of bone. Dental implants can help prevent this process if they are placed into the hole that the tooth left, this does, however, need to be done quite quickly after the tooth has been lost.
What is the cost of full mouth dental implants?
The easiest way to explain the cost of full mouth dental implants is to take each option and then give you some representative examples of how it might work in your case.
- Initial consultation. Some practices charge for an initial consultation however you may wish to look for a practice that does a free consultation to keep your risk as long as possible.
- Treatment planning. Treatment planning stages including CT scans will usually start from around £300.
- Implant placement. This usually starts at around £2000 per implant placed.
- Implant restoration. An implant denture usually starts at around £1000. Dental implant crowns typically start from around £500 per tooth.
To have a full mouth dental implants typical costs would therefore be:
To replace all missing teeth with full mouth dental implant removable denture.
- treatment planning – £300
- Implant placement X 2 – £4000
- Removable denture – £1000
Total – approximately £5300
To replace all missing teeth with a fixed dental implant bridge.
- treatment planning – £300
- implant placement X 4 – £8000
- dental bridge to include 12 teeth – £6000
total – approximately £14,300
Most dental practices also offer finance, sometimes this is interest-free finance. It is always worth talking to your dental practice and asking about making payment plans to ensure that dental implants are as affordable as possible