How to Pay for Dental Implants

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Contributor, Benzinga
March 15, 2022

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Dental implants can improve your quality of life if you have an oral health problem that's causing you discomfort or pain. They’re durable, easy to deal with and convenient, and they offer a natural appearance. While dental implants can be the answer to your dental needs, they can also be a hefty investment. While you can find alternatives to getting implants, ways to pay for your treatment exist when dental insurance doesn't cover the procedure.   

How to Pay for Dental Implants 

Dental implants are a long-lasting way to replace failing or lost teeth. Most dentists will recommend a root canal or dental implants when a tooth is causing major pain or is beginning to decay. However, dental implants are different from a root canal in several ways. 

During a root canal, the dentist removes the infection and replaces the pulp taken out with replacement material. A dental implant involves the removal of the tooth and the installation of a metal post into your jawbone. After the surgery and healing is completed, the dental implant functions almost identically to your natural teeth. 

However, the major difference between a root canal and a dental implant is that the root canal will likely be covered by dental insurance, while the dental implants will not. The cost of dental implants is significant, and without help from insurance, it can be difficult to find funds for it. Nonetheless, you can choose several options to choose from to help pay for dental implants, including the following options.  

Healthcare Installment Plan

A healthcare installment plan is a payment plan that you can set up through the office of your dentist or directly through a third party provider. A payment plan allows you to get the dental implant procedure without delay but provides an extended payment option. Payment plans allow you to pay for the procedure through small payments over an extended period of time, which can be a good option if you have a decent credit score.   

Home Equity Credit Line

While you may think about paying for your child’s college tuition or a kitchen remodel when you think about taking out a home equity line of credit, you can also take one out to pay for your dental implants. This option offers low interest rates and the possibility of tax write-offs if you’re a homeowner. You also won’t be penalized if you choose to pay off the loan early, and you don’t need to move out of your home to get one. 

Borrowing from Retirement Plan

Whether you have a 401(k), a 403(b), a 457(b), or another type of retirement plan in place, you can borrow from it to pay for your dental implants. This option offers low monthly payments and the possibility of extending the payment period. The interest rate is also low, and all the funds that you borrow and pay back will be deposited right back into your own retirement fund. This option could work for those who may not have the best credit score. 

Flexible Spending Account

A flexible spending account (FSA) is an account you can open through your work that allows you to deposit a portion of your paycheck before taxes. The funds in this account can then be used to pay for certain medical expenses. The good thing about this option is that you’re paying for the procedure tax-free and interest-free. One important thing to remember – your employer must set up your FSA account for you, so speak with your human resources department to see if your workplace offers this account type. 

Dental Insurance

Dental insurance is an option on this list because there is a possibility that dental implants will be covered. Insurance companies evaluate their customers dental care needs and adjust their plans to fit their needs. If you have dental insurance, check with your insurance provider to see if dental implants may be covered. The worst thing that they can say is “no, sorry.” 

Credit Card

A credit card can be used to pay for some or all of your dental implant procedure. Credit cards offer low interest rates, along with other benefits that come with the card. Some cards will also allow you to finance the procedure over the course of a year or longer. Be sure to check the interest rate on your credit card and make your monthly payments on schedule in order to avoid damaging your credit score

Personal Loan

While it may be harder to use this option compared to most other choices on this list, a personal loan can be used to pay for dental implants. In order to get a loan, you’d need a decent credit score as well as a clean credit report that does not indicate that you may fail to pay back your loan. You can contact your financial institution or credit union to see if securing the loan is a possibility.

Can You Add the Cost of Root Canals to Your Implants?

Most of the time a root canal and dental implants are mutually exclusive procedures. The dentist will recommend either, but in the case you’re having both done on different teeth, you can add the cost of root canals to your implants. However, the root canal will likely be covered by your insurance while the implants will not be, which is why it may make sense to keep the costs separate.  

Common Alternatives to Dental Implants

While dental implants are a good choice for people who have deteriorating or missing teeth that need to be replaced, there are alternatives. The following alternatives can help with your dental issue just as a dental implant would without making a massive dent in your pockets.   

  • Dentures: Dentures come in two options: partial or full. Partial dentures use adhesion and pastes to stay in place, while full dentures replace your whole set of teeth entirely. Dentures allow you to perform daily tasks such as eating and talking easily, just as dental implants do. However, dentures are removable, unlike dental implants. They also don’t offer as natural of a look as implants do, but they are still less costly and do what you need them to. 
  • Dental crowns: Dental crowns are a cheaper alternative to both dental implants and dentures. They’re typically used when a cavity threatens the health of your tooth. A dental crown can be made from several different materials, some being more costly than others. Crowns are used to reshape, protect and strengthen your teeth and are bonded right to your tooth. 
  • Dental bridges: Dental bridges are a type of permanent prosthetic that can replace missing teeth or just one tooth. They are essentially a series of crowns that connect to your existing teeth while covering your missing teeth. Several different types of bridges are available that vary in price, but insurance will typically cover some of the cost of the bridge.   
  • Non-surgical dental implants: Non-surgical dental implants don’t involve making incisions in the gums, meaning that there is a shorter recovery period. Because it is a shorter procedure, it is a cheaper option to traditional dental implants. 

Compare Dental Insurance

If you cannot afford the cost of dental implants and you decide to look for an alternative covered by insurance, you should start by finding the best policy for your individual needs. Benzinga offers reviews and insights on the following dental insurance providers. Use the links below to begin your search for coverage. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

What is the average cost of dental implants?

A

The average cost of dental implants is usually between $3,000 and $5,000 per tooth. As dental insurance typically does not pay for the cost of dental implants, you’ll likely need to pay for your implants out-of-pocket. A payment plan, credit card or flexible spending account can possibly help you cover the costs of dental implants if you cannot afford to pay out of pocket. 

Q

What are the downsides of dental implants?

A

You could experience a number of disadvantages in getting dental implants. The biggest downside is that dental implants are expensive — you can expect to pay at least $3,000 per implant you receive. Because dental insurance almost never covers the cost of implants, you’ll also need to pay for them out of pocket or find another way to make payments more manageable (like taking out a loan or putting the cost on your credit card). Dental implants can also cause complications, ranging from infections to bone distortion around the implant. 

Dental Insurance Methodology

To determine the best dental insurance providers, we pored through all United States carriers. We winnowed the list by only including companies that have a wide coverage area and product offering. To further break down the list to the true best dental insurance providers, we gave weight to carriers that offer discounts, are available in all states and have multiple payment plan options.

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About Sarah Horvath

Sarah is an expert in the insurance, investing for retirement and cryptocurrency space.