Dental Costs - Dental Implants
When considering a single implant, remember:
- The tooth should only be extracted if it is beyond saving.
- There are two major components to every finished implanted tooth: a surgical component and a prosthodontic component.
- General dentists and various registered dental specialists offer dental implants.
Cost issues in relation to point 1 - to extract or to save the affected tooth:
- Once your tooth is extracted, there is no going back.
- If you prefer to keep your own tooth or want to get a second opinion from a specialist as to whether your tooth is worth saving or can be saved, ask your dentist to refer you to, or search online for, an endodontist (root canal specialist).
- An endodontist can root-treat a tooth, re-treat a failed root canal, seal up internal cracks, repair internal perforations, remove old posts and fractured files and carry out minor root surgery - and can often save teeth that are deemed "hopeless". These practitioners have a Masters degree or equivalent (usually three years of full-time university study) in the field of endodontics (more commonly known as root canal treatment) and are registered with AHPRA as specialist endodontists. They work using microscopes the size of your family fridge and look down root canals all day long. So seeking their opinion is often a good idea before the tooth is extracted. This can cost between $100 and $150
- If the endodontist wishes to take on the challenge of saving a tooth from extraction and is confident they can save it, success rates vary between 80% and 98%. Root canal treatment with a specialist can cost between $1700 and $2700 depending on the difficulty factor and the type of tooth (teeth can have just one internal canal or as many as four canals inside them).
- When tossing up between an extraction plus implant versus saving the tooth with root canal therapy, costs to include in the equation are:
EXTRACTION PLUS IMPLANT
$200 to $400
REPLACEMENT DENTURE OR BRIDGE
as interim while implant
is being prepared
$150 to $350
carried out by board-registered
$5500 to $6500
SAVING THE TOOTH
$100 to $150
ROOT CANAL PROCEDURE
$1700 to $2700
FILLING OF THE TOOTH*
after root canal complete
$200 to $450
* Note that a filling will often not suffice and the tooth may require further treatment by way of a core filling ($200-$450) and a full coverage crown ($1400-$2200).
Various aspects of the treatments mentioned above will vary from practitioner to practitioner depending on a series of factors discussed on our dental costs main site
Cost issues in relation to point 2 - the two major components to every implant:
When considering a single implant, remember:
- An implanted tooth is usually made up of a titanium fixture surgically embedded in the jaw bone (stage 1 surgical component) and most commonly a porcelain tooth, usually with a precious metal substructure cemented or screwed into the implant fixture (stage 2 prosthodontic component)
- When seeking a quote for an implant tooth, make sure you are being quoted for BOTH of these components.
Considerations for dental implant surgery costs, so as to "compare apples with apples":
- the specialist training of the surgical clinician; see point 3 below
- the experience of the surgical clinician
- the choice of implant fixtures
(dozens of implant systems are available, with varying levels of success and clinical research, made in countries ranging from the USA and Sweden to China and Korea). The net cost to the clinician can vary enormously - i.e. between $80 and $700 for the same type of implant, depending on the manufacturer.
Considerations for dental implant prosthodontic costs, so as to "compare apples with apples":
- the specialist training of the prosthodontic clinician; see point 3 below
- the experience of the prosthodontic clinician
- the choice of dental laboratory making the porcelain crown
(thousands of dental laboratories are available, with varying levels of standards and experience both locally and internationally). The net cost to the clinician can range from $80 to $300 for the same implant crown made overseas, depending on the quality of the laboratory engaged; and can range from $350 to $950 for the same implant crown made in Australia, depending on the quality of laboratory engaged.
- Beware claims that the work is being sent to a local laboratory. The critical question to ask is: does the local laboratory then subcontract the task to workers in mass production centres in third world countries. It is estimated that some 10,000 units of crowns, veneers and implant crowns are fabricated overseas for Australian dentists each month.
Cost issues in relation to point 3 - general dentists and registered specialists:
An implant crown is usually made up of two separate procedures: a surgical component (titanium fixture in bone) and a prosthodontic component (porcelain tooth placed on the implant).
No one dental speciality recognised by AHPRA or the Dental Board of Australia covers both components; hence no one can claim to be an implant specialist.
If you're wanting to see a specialist prosthodontist, periodontist or Oral and maxillofacial surgeon, never assume that a practitioner is such a specialist. It's not uncommon for junior associate dentists, dental assistants and reception staff to imply that their senior clinicians are "specialists", or even to refer to them as such, usually understanding neither the official industry definition of the title nor the implications of such an error. Always ask to be given a business card or title attached to an email that includes the word "prosthodontist", "periodontist" or "oral and maxillofacial surgeon" to confirm the registration status of the practitioner. Or simply check for yourself on the AHPRA website.