I went to my family dentist and we talked about doing dental implants. He gave me a ballpark cost on them, but then told me that I needed to go see a periodontist to have the initial placement done. Well, I did that, and the price he quoted me was nearly twice what I was told. I asked why it was so much more and they couldn’t give me a real answer, just that the price they gave me was their total costs for the service, which now includes placement and bone grafting treatment my dentist never mentioned I needed. I’m starting to think they’re adding things on just because they can. Why did the price go up so much and is this normal?
The price probably went up because you have some bone loss going on, which would explain the bone grafting. However, let’s break down some of the costs associated with dental implants to help make sense of it.
There Are Multiple Services Being Performed with Dental Implant Placement
In a straightforward situation, you’ll have the surgical placement of the dental implant. From there, the area will be given time to heal and your bone will tighten up around it. This is referred to as “osseointegration.” Oftentimes, general dentists will perform this step. However, they will typically refer you to a periodontist or oral surgeon if your case is complex. And, there are times general dentists never do this step. Some simply don’t feel confident or don’t have the additional training.
Once the area is healed, a porcelain crown is added to the top. This step is almost always handled by your general dentist.
If You’ve Lost Bone Structure Bone Grafting is Required
Naturally, you really need that initial placement to be strong, just like the root of a tooth. The problem is, once a tooth is lost, the bone around the area begins to be absorbed by the body. It sort of melts away. Conditions like periodontal disease can cause bone loss too. So, if you’ve got a dip in the bone where you need it to be strong, the implant will never hold. Something has to be done to strengthen it. It’s possible your dentist knew you had bone loss and referred you out because of it or it’s possible he just doesn’t have skill in that area, in which case he might not have known you didn’t have enough bone. Either way, the cost of surgery with any kind of bone augmentation is going to be higher than without.
Get a Second Opinion if You’re Concerned
Finding out your treatment will be more expensive than you planned is frustrating, but it doesn’t necessarily signal someone’s pulling the wool over your eyes. However, if you’re unsure of the diagnosis, get a second opinion to confirm it. You can also ask if you’re a candidate for alternative treatments that may be more affordable, like mini implants, bridges, and partial dentures. Be honest with your care team if cost is a factor in treatment for you, and they’ll help find solutions within your budget.