When hearing the words, “you need implants,” the dollar signs and panic can start to consume your thoughts. Your brain starts automatically rattling off things like, “how am I going to be able to afford this?” “How time-consuming will this be?” “Is it necessary?” After all, your dentist has recommended the procedure, so here we are. The next step to take is figuring out costs and how to make it all work.
First, contact your dental insurance provider to see if they cover implants. You might want to ask how much they will cover in-network and out-of-network. If you don’t have insurance, it might be time to look up dental plans that can help offset some of the cost. For example, a PPO network plan can save you 20-30% off the retail cost of implants. That kind of savings can make a huge difference. Josh Purington from Oregon shared his story, “I shopped around for dental insurance coverage looking for a plan that would cover a tooth implant since my dentist said I needed one. Out of all the plans I looked at, Spirit Dental was the only one I found that had coverage for this type of procedure. There was a one year waiting period but it was well worth the wait! For the tooth extraction and implant costs, Spirit Dental covered $1,051. For the replacement tooth procedure, Spirit Dental will cover a total of $1,175! That is a total of $2,226 in coverage! All this coverage for only $46 per month.” For Josh, having that insurance was well worth it.
Next step is to talk to your dentist. Even with insurance, it’s best to look at all your options and see where else you might be able to minimize costs. Can your dentist perform both surgery and restorative work? If yes, that might allow you to cut back on the number of appointments. If your dentist can perform surgery, you might want to ask if they also handle the anesthesia themselves. That’s another cost that you might not be thinking about when putting together your budget.
Once you’ve done your homework—spoken to both your dentist and insurance provider—if the price still comes out to what seems like an unmanageable cost, you can then ask your dentist to work out a payment plan. They will usually try and work with you if the procedure you’re having done is carried out over a long period of time.
All of this may seem like a lot. If you don’t take care of yourself when the problem arises, not only can the issue get worse, but the bills to help reverse or fix what needs to be done later can get much higher.
You got this. Insurance - Dentist - Budget. Figuring it all out is half the battle.