Left untreated, missing teeth can lead to cavities, infections, gum disease, tooth misalignment and other serious dental issues. Fortunately, treating missing teeth is easier than ever. Most missing teeth can be successfully replaced with dental implants.
For many people, the biggest issue regarding implants is their affordability. Does dental insurance cover implants? Is paying out-of-pocket realistic? Here’s an in-depth look at the various options available to help you pay for dental implants:
What are Dental Implants?
Creating an artificial tooth which matches your existing teeth is a relatively simple dental procedure. But attaching that artificial tooth in your mouth is much more complicated. Implants are often considered the most secure, permanent way to attach artificial teeth to your mouth. They act as a replacement tooth root. Implants can be used to support dentures, bridges and other types of permanent or removable artificial teeth.
Endosteal implants are the most popular type. The implant is a titanium post which is inserted into your jaw underneath the gums. An abutment remains visible above the gum line, which then holds a dental crown. The crown is custom created to fit the look and shape of your existing teeth.
Additional types of implants are also available. If your jaw lacks sufficient bone structure, a subperiosteal implant can be used, which is placed either on or above the jawbone. A smaller type of implant called a mini-implant is commonly used to secure bridges and dentures.
What are the Benefits of Dental Implants?
After installation, implants fuse with bone and eventually become permanent. This results in a variety of unique benefits. For instance, traditional dentures can move around in your mouth, resulting in problems eating and speaking. But implants stay securely in place, allowing you to talk without slurring and eat without worry.
Plus, implants are better for your overall oral health. Traditional bridges often require the supporting teeth be reduced in size to make room for the artificial teeth. However, existing teeth can remain unaltered when implants are used.
Finally, implants are easy to care for. Implants allow for easier access between teeth than bridges, so flossing is far more effective. Plus, unlike dentures, implants don’t have to be removed to be cleaned. You simply brush and floss your real and artificial teeth in the same way. With proper care, they can last a lifetime.
Does Dental Insurance Cover Implants?
Most dental insurance policies consider implants to be a cosmetic procedure, which means the procedure is not covered. Another potential issue is what’s often called a “missing tooth clause.” Many insurance companies impose a waiting limit until certain procedures are covered. You might have to wait six months or even a year before the policy will cover implant procedures. And many dental insurance policies won’t cover dental issues, like missing teeth, which you had before purchasing the policy.
Are There Other Options for Making Implants More Affordable?
Many people choose a dental discount plan to reduce dental care costs. Dental discounts plans provide instant savings between 10% and 60% on a variety of common dental procedures, often including dental implants (check the discount plan’s details to make sure).
Plus, dental discount plans have no annual limits or restrictions on pre-existing conditions. You can save right away on all the implants you need, even if you had multiple missing teeth before purchasing the discount plan.
Missing teeth should never be ignored, as dental problems will only grow with time. If dental insurance doesn’t seem like a workable option for implants, consider a discount plan. Cost doesn’t need to prevent you from a full, healthy smile.