Author Topic: dental implants  (Read 9910 times)

Steve Ainslie

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dental implants
« on: July 11, 2012, 02:57:39 AM »
My wife, cursed with a lifetime of bad teeth, now needs to have the remaining few pulled. She wants to get 6 implants to anchor dentures onto having been told that dentures without implants will not stay in, look terrible, result in jaw bone loss etc.

I'm resigned to be fact that I'll be paying for these. She has gotten estimates from 25k to 50kf or the extraction, implant and dentures. (ballpark says the dentist).

 This will put a big dent in my little stache. Naturally insurance covers only 2k or so.

Has anyone had these - what were your costs?  Any suggestions?


El Pulpo

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Re: dental implants
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2012, 07:56:48 PM »
Hi!

Have you considered medical tourism?

You may want to take a look at the following article, as combining a vacation in Europe with dental care and still saving money in the process seems a rather appealing possibility to me.

http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Dental-work-too-expensive-Go-overseas-2537921.php

Noncents

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Re: dental implants
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2012, 08:12:56 PM »
Hi Steve,

I have a dental implant (bottom right molar).  It cost probably in total around $3k, and that was about 3 years ago.  At the time, my job did not provide dental coverage, so I paid 100% out of pocket.  However, my dentist realized what I was dealing with and cut me some major slack on the price (no charge for xrays, pain killers, etc.) and he gave me all the time in the world to pay it off at zero interest.  He is a good man, and a great dentist.  Talk to several local DDSs and see what's possible.  If you can find a dentist who will give you a discount for having to pay cash you can probably save quite a bit.

That being said, be sure you're paying for quality medical care.  Make certain they've SUCCESSFULLY performed the procedure before.  Shopping 100% on budget might land you in trouble when you're doing things like bone implants!!

dancedancekj

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Re: dental implants
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2012, 08:09:50 AM »
Implant supported dentures are your best bet for comfort, because lower dentures SUCK in terms of the fit. Upper dentures usually fit pretty well, but lower dentures are always being knocked loose, popping up, rocking, or sliding around.

I would see if you can try doing implants only on the bottom (mandibular) denture, and just leaving the top one as a regular complete denture. Granted, I don't know how much bone your wife has left on her alveolar ridges, but most of the time the issues of fit are with the bottom denture.

The implants are also not going to be the conventional implants for replacing teeth. I am guessing the implants they will be using are what are known as "mini-implants" for the denture abutment attachments, which bear less risk of placement during the surgery.

My best recommendation in terms of saving money would be that dental schools will be your best friend here. I know that my dental school did plenty of implants for super cheap.

If I can remember the prices correctly...
$70 extraction for each tooth (not including nitrous or sedation)
$2000 per implant
$1000 for the two dentures

This is compared to private practice prices
$143-230 extraction per tooth (depending on whether it is simple or surgical)
$5000 per implant
$3600 for the two dentures


Now, know that the investment trade-off is time. Dental students have to get things triple checked by professors, and most of the time have to do their own labwork, writeups, consultations etc. so the process may go kind of slowly. For example, the new patient exam always took two 4 hour sessions for us just due to the amount of waiting in line for professors to check your work. If you are willing to put in the time however, the reduction in price for the treatment is pretty evident. The other advantage is that if the program has professors who are denture specialists (removable prosthodontists) then your case will be under their guidance, and they have a lot more training and education regarding dentures than the general dentist.

bogart

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Re: dental implants
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2012, 03:28:47 PM »
I'm sorry your wife is needing to deal with this -- ugh.

My DH had a tooth extracted earlier this year and will be getting an implant put in.  As I understand what he's going to be having done, it's a multi-month process (certainly this is true between the extraction and the beginning stage of the implant, which are I think 5 (?) months apart in his case.  In terms of the extraction itself, that involved extraction + implant of bone graft which were done on the same day but then had to be checked 1 week later.  So medical tourism may be a great suggestion but if you decide to pursue it, look into what's involved in terms of time commitments, and/or plan to get the most expensive stuff done abroad and the cheaper parts here.

I don't know what's involved in dentures so can't comment on those costs, or the associated implants.  I think my DH's tooth is costing in the $3-$5K range, so what you're listing sound a little high(er) but that may reflect differences in the two patients' needs.  I will say we also live in NC, so they shouldn't be affected by regional differences.  Our state dental school is great (IMHO and based on what I hear, and I have been treated there, though not recently), so that may indeed be an option worth exploring.

Other than that, I'd just recommend trying to max your insurance benefits and any med flex benefits you can use, both of which would (most likely) be achieved by spreading the costs and procedures out over 2 calendar years.  Conversely, it might be best to pay for everything in one calendar year as if the costs exceed 7.5% of your gross income (as I recall, standard disclaimer about my not being a tax expert goes here), you can deduct the amount over that off your taxable income.

I hope everything will go smoothly and cause your wife as little distress as possible.

Welmoed

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Re: dental implants
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2012, 06:35:53 PM »
I had a single front incisor break off last year and ended up having to have the remainder extracted and an implant put in. The process was pretty long and involved (about 7 months start to finish), but the end result was well worth it. It involved two different doctors (the oral surgeon did the implant and my regular dentist made the crown), and it was pretty costly... $5K when it was all said and done. We don't have dental insurance, and it went on our credit card (which is paid in full every month). I had thought about doing the medical tourism bit, but really prefer local providers and facilities.
--Welmoed

Monkey stache

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Re: dental implants
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2012, 07:14:33 AM »
I need 3 implants and I will need many more throughout my life (I have a genetic condition where I still have most of my baby teeth). My dentist quoted me at $5,000 per implant.  I checked with the local University dentist school and it's $2,000 per implant with them.  My insurance does not cover implants at all. Who do you have dental insurance with?

I've done research online about getting it done inexpensively overseas and it can be problematic. Their standards may be lower. Also, if your body rejects the implant or you get an infection then you will have the costs of traveling back to that country or paying a dentist here to fix it. Either way, it's going to cost you more than you anticipated.

My best recommendation would be to see if there is a local University that has a dental school which offer implants at a discounted rate and then have your insurance cover a part of that.

carolinakaren

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Re: dental implants
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2012, 01:40:55 PM »
I have to second what El Pulpo suggested.....consider medical tourism as a possiblity.  I've heard very good things about dental care in both Mexico and Costa Rica.

christophor1992

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Re: dental implants
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2015, 03:24:29 AM »
Hi Steve,
I donít have any experience with dentures. But I can say that 50k is too costly for the treatment you mentioned here. One of my friend had four implants and dentures about 3 months ago. I think he got if for around 26k. May be the cost will vary with location and dentistry. Anyway I strongly suggest you to have supporting implants for dentures. Otherwise it will hurt your wife in future. You can also try to get quotes from other dentists. Choose the best one having experience and reputation. Ask your friends for finding a holistic dentistry like http://www.centenarydental.com which provides dental services at reasonable cost.

MrsPete

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Re: dental implants
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2015, 06:58:53 AM »
Dental implants are expensive, but they're the way to go.

My children were both born missing some teeth.  The oldest's implants have been in for three years, and the youngest is going through the process right now.  It's not fast: 

- First you have to have surgery to place the implant into the jaw.  Our oral surgeon describes it as a screw with holes in it.  This portion is for life.  When you leave the office the day of surgery, the implant is covered with an abuttment to keep it from danger /prevent discomfort. 
- Then you wait two months (which kind of knocks out the possibility of medical tourism) to allow the bone to grow through the holes in the implant.  At that point, it's a part of your body and would be almost impossible to remove.  The oral surgeon then xrays to see that all is well, and he releases you to go to the dentist.
- The dentist makes the crown, which fits on top of the implant. You go in once, and he measures you for the crown; then you come back 2-3 weeks later, and he places it on the implant.  Even with good care, the crown will eventually need replacing.  I'm told they have a 15-20 year life. 
- Our dentist says that dentures (with their high maintenance) are disappearing.  He says that with good dental care all your life and the possibility of an implant to take the place of a tooth that's lost, no one should ever choose to go with dentures today.  Of course, he doesn't mention the high cost of implants, but I would be very willing to pay more for good teeth. 

All in all, my kids' implants cost a little over 3K each.  Insurance paid nothing for the first kid, but the rules changed and paid about 40% of the second child's costs (which was good because she needed more implants).  We saved a little on the first kid because she had her wisdom teeth cut out at the same time; thus, no need to put her to sleep a separate time.  The second kid had no wisdom teeth. 

The best thing I can say about the finished item:  My oldest says she literally never thinks about her implants.  They're just a part of her.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2015, 07:02:06 AM by MrsPete »

NCGal

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Re: dental implants
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2015, 06:45:28 AM »
I empathize.  I'm currently having an implant done, also in NC. Total cost for 1 tooth - 3,900. I've been spreading the procedures out over 2 years to maximize insurance and my FSA account. However, insurance is covering about 20%. Your wife's situation sounds much more complicated.

I had a crown that fell out, which I thought would be easy enough to plaster back in -- WRONG! I had bone loss and so the crown could not be supported. The first procedure was for a bone graft. I went back for a re-check two weeks later, and to have the stitches removed.  The next step for the implant would have been a few months later except that I also needed a crown on another tooth, and had that done to maximize insurance (since the next step for the implant would not be covered). I also have an FSA and have been spreading out the costs over two calendar years.

Next was the implant itself. I'm now in the waiting period to go back for the abutment and then the implant crown.

I went to a dental surgeon for a consultation but decided to go with my regular dentist. The surgeon does graft and implant in one procedure, whereas my regular dentist does it in two, to give time for adjusting and to make sure the graft 'takes'.  He also uses sedation therapy (as does the surgeon) which adds a cost for monitoring your heart rate. But the surgeon charged more for everything, and I felt he was more slick.

If I had more teeth to do, I would absolutely consider medical tourism. Just keep in mind that the procedures should be done in several visits. This also impacts your life. I need to be mindful of not smiling too wide so that no one sees the big hole in my mouth! The dentist made a 'flipper' to cover it but it's not very comfortable.

catccc

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Re: dental implants
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2015, 08:16:00 AM »
I think my implant is going to be around $2,000 out of pocket when all is said and done.  I paid about $350 for the extraction and socket preservation/bone graft, $150 for some random computer modeling work that wasn't covered by insurance, and I recently paid another $850 for the placement of the post.  I still need to pay for the crown.  And this is with what I think is pretty decent insurance.  It might be worthwhile to look into whether or not getting insurance (or different insurance) or selecting a different provide (in-network, preferred?) would help with the cost.  The good thing is you can kind of anticipate the costs and think about things ahead of time.  Do either of you have access to a health flex spending account at work?

NathanP

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Re: dental implants
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2015, 08:19:59 AM »
Implants are definitely the way to go. I had one done last year due to a failed root canal (tooth cracked) and now I cannot even tell it is there. The total cost was around $4k, but luckily my employer's insurance covered 50% (50% of 1 implant per person per lifetime).

Being in Florida at the time I looked into going to Cancun or Playa Del Carmen where there are several highly reviewed dentists performing these operations at MUCH lower cost. If I remember correctly they could potentially do it all in one visit, but typically you would need 2. The first would be to place the implant screw, and the second would be to attach the new top (crown?).

If I had a whole mouth to do I would either go to a local dental school if the price was decent, or go to Mexico. Try to use Airline Miles to offset travel costs.

frugaliknowit

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Re: dental implants
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2015, 09:07:55 AM »
Implant cases are all different.  Mine was the result of a childhood accident causing trauma to a front tooth.  Long term, this lead to a bridge, which over time caused rotting of the underlying teeth supporting it (3 point bridge lead to 4 point bridge, leading to 5 point bridge all of which eventually failed). 

Luckily, I found a brilliant surgeon who really knows what he is doing (not cheap, but brilliant).  Over time, he installed 3 implants (bone grafted for added strength) to support a six point bridge.   This cost around 15 K in total.

In your case, I would visit several local experts (not a general dentist who claims he/she knows implants; someone who has done this procedure many times...) and consider medical tourism (careful...!). 

Gone Fishing

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Re: dental implants
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2015, 09:17:32 AM »
These threads make my stomach churn...