The Surprising Cost of Dental Implants, and the “Upselling” Chain

Some 4 or so years ago I finally had my last two wisdom teeth removed. The lower two were impacted (crowns facing forward, not up) and I’d been told since I was 18 “When they bother you, have them removed.” Well, they never bothered me enough. Just try to come in a bit more, then stop. Once every year or two. Eventually, on of them started to have decay. Out they came.

Well, about a year ago, seems the tooth that one of the wisdom teeth had been pressing against had gotten some kind of defect in the enamel on the backside where nobody noticed (or the process of removal and nobody noticed) and decay had proceeded “back to front” under a nice crown (put in some many many years ago). OK, it was basically slicing the top off of the roots, so “not repairable”.

Silver Nitrate & Fluoride

As a new procedure had been approved by the California Dental Weenies In Charge Of Gate Keeping, that of applying Silver Nitrate to decay in non-repairable places, my Dentist and I decided to see if it would do any good. I thought that was almost a year ago, but the time stamp on the article is 17 months ago… I think I need to check with my dentist just how much life extension the treatment gave and how much after the article my tooth was treated.

The result of 2 applications of silver nitrate solution and a fluoride varnish seems to have been about a 3 month extension on expected tooth life. Nice for scheduling, not so good for cure… Perhaps a more frequent, quarterly?, schedule would help more in such severe cases. But at least we learned something. Silver Nitrate as a treatment for minor surface defects might well work longer term, for an already significant decay process, not so much. But it does slow things.

Information gained, we now reached the “time to go” point for the tooth. It was starting to show signs of forming an abscess on the root / tooth body interface as the decay reached the pulp and headed down the roots. One interesting sidebar: It didn’t hurt. Perhaps a side effect of the silver. Perhaps the nerve was just shot early and insensate. Whatever. Everyone kept commenting on “You sure that doesn’t hurt?” in a slightly incredulous tone.

It’s the lower left rear molar. #18.

So my dentist doesn’t “do” extractions anymore. He just likes doing repairs. I’m given a referral to have the tooth pulled. That’s it.

The Doctor Of Dental Surgery & Upselling

So I go to my referral appointment to have the tooth pulled. I’m seen by a nurse / dental tech / don’t really know. Nice cute gal in a blue surgical suit. I’m in the chair, and we are talking. After about 10 minutes, I figure out I’m being sold an “implant”. “Did your Dentist talk to you about implants? No? Oh, well, here’s why you want one” kind of stuff. Maybe 20 minutes in, I’ve been told that to properly figure out where the nerve is in the jaw so that I can still taste food and not have a rubber lip the rest of my live, they would really really like to do a “CAT scan”. (Nice little head only sized unit that looks at your teeth.)

Well, I’m all for that, even after being told insurance doesn’t cover it for “just an extraction”, which is all I really need… But I go for it anyway.

KA CHING! $250 out of pocket.

Back in the chair some time later, the continued sell on an implant proceeds. Oh, look at that (on the CAT scan), Dr. Foo will be able to tell if we can do the implant NOW or have to just do a bone graft now and later do the implant. Along the way, I mention that we’ve talked about everything possible other than “What is the Cost?”

More hemming an hawing about well you know everyone is different and it depends on this and that and the other thing and I’ve decided to push it.

“I’m not going to hold you to it, but I need some idea of if we are talking $50, $500 or $5000.” After more beating around the bush, I figure it’s about $2500, all up, if they can do the implant then, and insurance covers the extraction. Maybe.

Dear Dr. Foo comes in, looks at the X-ray / CAT Scan and says need to do a bone graft first, for the implant to work and not hit the nerve. (Never stated, but I suspect, a simple extraction and waiting a year would have the bone recovered more than enough, given how the bone looks where my wisdom teeth had been…) But, what the heck, I just want the damn thing gone and us to “get on with it”, so I suggest we just do the extraction and bone graft, as they suggested, and I get on my way.

Well…. Turns out “Oh, not today, today is just a ‘Consultation’ visit”… meaning today was the Sales Job Day. OK… Would have been nice to know that FIRST, so I’d not brought the spouse along as Designated Driver… BUT, someone else had cancelled, so I got scheduled for the next day…

THEN, and ONLY THEN, I was taken to the quote room and given the papers with the actual estimates for all this.

Frankly, I was very tempted to just cancel the whole thing right there just based on my fundamental rules of:

1) NEVER accept an “upsell”
2) Unless you know the cost FIRST, never set an appointment
3) Negative Surprises mean “Walk away, just walk away”

But this Dear Dr. had been referred by my family dentist who we’ve used for about 30 years+ now and is GREAT. And maybe he ought to have told me this was going to be a sales appointment with selling me an implant… not just a “yank and go”.

Besides, I really needed the tooth dealt with. I’d cancelled one appointment prior to the one with my dentist where “time to go” and been pronounced, and I was pretty sure it was time to go then. Starting over with a new referral and likely the same process was just not interesting. In a week, I’m booked somewhere and it would NOT be a good time for medical procedures. Sigh. OK, let’s just get this step done.

The Steps

Seems that a “dental implant” consists of several steps, NOT explained to you up front, but metered out piecemeal. Maybe they figure you won’t notice the Salami Technique on your wallet…

The first step was that CAT scan I’d already done – $250 and dental insurance doesn’t cover it.

The second step is the extraction, covered by insurance. Now you might think $50 like it was 20 years ago, or even $75 as it is at regular dentists now. No, this is a “Surgical Extraction”. $345. But the insurance got that.

Next up, I see on my bill for that day, “Consultation Implant” $109. What? I got to PAY for being SOLD? One hopes the insurance covers that. Since they were rather pushy (forceful? demanding?) that payment was DUE SAME DAY, that they didn’t ask me to pay that says they called my insurance and it was covered.

After the extraction, to make the site more suited to an implant, they wanted to do a “bone graft”. Knowing my bones, I’m pretty sure they would fill in on their own in a year. But I figured, may as well get it done. That’s a key area of the jaw in terms of forces and I’d rather have it stronger sooner and without a hole to fill in.

So, on the day of the extraction and bone graft, I’m showing up bright and early. In hand, the “required before we start” payment in full. A bit shy of $1700. (Not including the $345 for the extraction billed to insurance). The bone graft itself runs about $1k (a bit over). That consists of packing some filler (like ground coral?) into the socket space after cleaning out any infection and / or stuff you don’t like. Then there is about $700 for the ‘closure’ and a “bio mat” with “serum growth factors” on it to promote healing / growth. This is via a blood draw and spinning out the cells, so your own “growth factors” are given back on a bit of gauze stuck on the surgical site. (I suspect some may be blended in with the aragonite filler too).

OK, so were up to a bit over $2000 and I’ve had my tooth pulled…

The Actual Implant Costs?…

Now you wait “4 to 6 months” (I’m likely to make it 8 to 12…) for the actual installation of the “implant”. Turns out this isn’t the whole implant. This is a peg on which the actual tooth is installed.

The quote for THAT, breaks down into 3 parts. A “Surgical Implant Body: Endosteal” (procedure) at about $2250, more “Bio Mat” at about $700, and the actual “implant components” at $200. That is, a little titanium peg with threads I think for $200.

Total? About $3000.

So now were up to about $5000, all up. (Really a couple of hundred over, but who’s picky about $Hundreds…)

But Wait, There’s More!

Talking to my dentist afterward, he points out that to build the tooth that actually goes on the peg is much more complicated than just any old cap, and guesses it will be about $1000. (He’s usually about right on his guesses and he doesn’t play games).

Now, note that the “implant” costs are not covered by my insurance. Some dental plans do, many do not.

All up,l we’re now at about $6000 before I actually get to chew anything on that ONE TOOTH.

Other sources?

Looking on line, I found LOTS of places doing the same hem ‘n haw about actual prices. Lots of song and dance, actual $$$ Price not so much. Prices at one site, for California, said this price was bottom quartile to middle of the pack. Some ran up to $25000 (what are they, solid gold?) but that looked to be for a denture that had many teeth stuck onto two implanted posts.

Here’s one such site:

CostHelper > Health & Personal Care > Dentistry & Orthodontics > Dental Implants
Dental Implants Cost
How Much Do Dental Implants Cost?

average cost Single Dental Implant Average Cost: $2,488 high cost Abutment, Implant and Crown Average Cost: $4,263

A dental implant functions as an artificial root to anchor a replacement tooth or teeth. A small titanium post is surgically implanted in the jawbone, and as part of the healing process it bonds with the bone. A metal abutment is connected to the implant, and then a crown, bridge or denture is attached to the abutment. The work is typically done in stages, often with separate prices for the implant surgery, the abutment placement and the replacement tooth or teeth. There may also be a charge for a temporary “flipper” tooth while the jaw heals after surgery.

Typical costs:

A single implant typically costs $2,400-$3,000, but can be $4,000-$10,000 or more if additional procedures like extractions, bone grafts, tissue grafts or a sinus lift are needed. CostHelper readers report paying $1,000-$5,000 for an implant with an average cost of $2,488.

Placing an abutment and a dental crown on a single implant typically adds $500-$3,000 to the cost of just the implant, for a total of $1,500-$13,000 or more. CostHelper readers report paying $1,750-$8,270 for an implant, flipper tooth, abutment, crown and all needed procedures, with an average cost of $4,263.

Two to six implants topped with a partial or full-mouth dental bridge can cost $3,500-$30,000 or more, depending on the number of implants, bridge size and materials, and any other needed procedures. CostHelper readers report paying $4,000-$16,000 for a three- or four-tooth bridge on two implants, with an average price of $8,486.

Two to six implants with a removable denture plate can cost $3,500-$30,000 or more depending on the number and type of implants (mini-implants are less expensive), denture materials (in some cases an existing denture plate can be adapted for use with implants) and any other procedures needed. A full set (upper and lower) of implants and dentures can cost $7,000-$90,000 or more. CostHelper readers report paying $3,800-$27,858 for implants with a single denture plate, at an average cost of $14,226; and $6,549-$80,000 for a full set of implant-supported dentures (upper and lower), for an average expense of $34,119.

Dental insurance typically does not cover implants, because most insurance companies categorize implants as cosmetic procedures. However, some surgical costs might be covered by health insurance.

Gee, a range of $1000 to $90,000 listed. I guess that’s helpful… They do list it by how many teeth are involved, so maybe…

Has a couple of interesting comments:

Dental implant cost

Implants fees can range from as low as $1000 to as high $4000. It depends on a variety of factors that can affect the cost of an implant. Patients should choose the clinician that they feel comfortable with. Sometimes the cost can be secondary to a piece of mind. Implants are the best option in dentistry, outside of your natural teeth.

James Magee, DDS
Altamonte Springs Dentist

Well, I’ve been to Altamonte Springs. It is just north of Orlando. I’m going to be there about the time my jaw has finished healing. $1k to $4k sounds a lot better than $4k + to go.

At this point, I’m pretty sure some “shopping around” can save me a couple of $K on the “drill a hole and stick a screw in it”… and likely the “put a tooth on top of that” too.

The same article raises the point of “Tourism Dentistry”. I’m OK with that, too. Heck, I’d be FINE with spending $2k on a vacation and the next $2k on the tooth at the end of it… Note this posting was put up in 2012, last contact was “5 hours ago” and has 4.8 out of 5 “stars”.

June 6th, 2012
Implants in Mexico

Dear patient,MEXICO does not produce any dental materials or implants, everything its imported from germany,USA,switzerland, the implants are FDA approved, probably you might check some dental vacations,based on what you say,you request several of them.there are several options you will find,for implants and prosthetic restorations,each case its different, and we can give you a more specific answers,and diagnosis.

Learn more:

German Arzate, DDS

Mexico Dentist
4.8 out of 5 stars 17 reviews
01800 565 1424
22 yrs experience 1 offer

Last contacted 5 hours ago

OK, I’ve got 1/2 a year to do some more shopping. I’ve got a very well prepared install site that just needs time to finish bone growth / filling in. I’ve got a $4000 price tag in front of me and it doesn’t look that hard to beat. Makes a fella go Hmmmm….

So I’m finding the idea of “Dental Tourism” very very attractive at the moment. I do need to find out if my insurance covers out of country ( I think it covers the $1k actual crown that goes on the peg.) I also need to decide if I really care enough to finish this process. I’ve, maybe, got 10 more years. I figure about 15 tops. That beats my parents by a lot, and it comes up to about what my Grandad was when he died. He worked his whole life on a farm eating “natural organic food” as that was what it all was then ;-) I’m not in anywhere near his shape.

Just what are the real benefits of a decade of that one tooth, really? Is it worth another $4k? I’m not really seeing it… I’d figure at about the $2k point, I’d likely be interested. $1k for sure… Then $1k and 2 weeks on the beach in Mexico… well, he DID say pain killers as needed ;-)


In an email I was pointed at these folks:

They state:

A single-tooth dental implant cost between $1,000 and $3,000. The abutment and crown add between $500 and $3,000. So, the total dental implant cost per tooth is between $1,500 and $6,000.

This is the average out-of-pocket price without the help of dental insurance or dental plans. This estimate includes dental implant surgery and some associated costs such as the initial consultation), but the total cost of your procedure may be even higher depending on your circumstances.

If you need implants for multiple teeth, the costs only rise higher. There are several types of dental implants, and depending on your tooth replacement needs, one or more could be an option for you.

It then goes on with much more information and prices for more teeth at one “go”.

In Conclusion

So I posted this just so folks could have some idea what the steps and costs are in getting a single tooth implant in California. Hopefully it will help other folks to avoid having a “yank the tooth” turn out to be a $109 “Consultation” sales opportunity by surprise…

Do I think this Dental Surgeon was unethical? Not really. Just using common “practice building” and sales tactics. He did a great job on the extraction and bone graft. It’s “day two” and my jaw feels fine. Nerves are fine so taste is fine ;-) Needed minor pain killers yesterday, post op, but really could have skipped them. Less pain than a cap, in some ways.

HOWEVER: I do think ALL the sites I visited looking at “San Jose Dental Implant Cost” indicated the same process and that the entire Implant Industry is playing a “hide the cost and up sell” game. That isn’t really “Customer Friendly”. I also think my dentist could have taken a minute to say “Here’s a referral for the extraction. The first meeting is just a ‘consultation’ and they will talk to you about getting an implant. If you just want it pulled, tell them to skip that step and just pull it. Oh, and implants run from about $2k to $8k for one tooth.” Then again, he knows I’m pretty bright and generally research things, so maybe he just figured I didn’t need the prep talk….

With that, I’m open to suggestions on good places to get a peg in my jaw and a tooth put on it… Or places with $4k of Scotch at the bar instead ;-)

Or $4k yielding 5% would give me $200 / year or about one cheap bottle of whiskey a month forever…
I think I could forget about one tooth for that …

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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24 Responses to The Surprising Cost of Dental Implants, and the “Upselling” Chain

  1. P6o6d3O9 says:

    Many thanks for an interesting and useful post. I’ve been through this recently. I went for an implant, choosing a dentist who (a) promised [on line] to do the entire job for $3000, including crown and (b) took my insurance and (c) was close by. Alas, the implant failed. They promised to give me my money back. They didn’t. I threatened to sue in small claims court. They gave me all of my money back. My regular dentist did a bridge instead. After insurance it cost less than the implant. So far, I’m happy with it.

    The important thing is to check for state regulations regarding dentists. What is their obligation if an implant fails? Sure, they make you sign a form that says they have no obligation [while you are under anesthesia, no doubt], but this is probably not binding in California, or any state that has intelligent consumer protection laws [such as my home state of Massachusetts].

    Mexico sounds like a real option. But see what the dentist promises in case of failure, and ask for his failure rate. Sinus lifts are sometimes essential [and very expensive]; look for a bridge instead.

    Good luck!

    {Reply: Welcome back Serioso. Didn’t need a new handle, though… -E.M.Smith]

  2. Power Grab says:

    Thanks for the info. It does sound familiar.

    I have a friend (really!) whom I observed over some months (maybe even 1+ year) undergoing the implant process. It involved front teeth. So this poor individual spent a very long time without some front teeth. Apparently, the bone graft step didn’t work very well and had to be re-done another time or two (months apart) before the person left my area. I may not even see this person once a year now. I felt really sorry for how that process went for them. Observing that extended ordeal, it sure made me disbelieve the advertisements where they offer an implant in one visit!

    I definitely hear ya’ regarding the upselling at the dentist’s office, and the problem of never being given an answer about how much something will cost. In my case, at one point, it was just, “You have $600 left on your deductible this year, so let’s have it.” That was the only solid dollar amount I ever heard. And that was only the beginning.

    If that was all I owed on my deductible, why was I expected to shell out another 2-3 G’s?

    I don’t have the heart to dig into things like this because it seems so deceptive. When I ask, all they will say is, “We will file your insurance.”

    I cut out an article from the paper this year that talked about some meetings that were going to be held in different places to help advise seniors on how to avoid being a victim of fraud. Here is a snippet of the article, and the reason I cut it out:

    “…seniors are a sought-after target for con artists because many of them have a ‘nest egg,’ own their own home and have excellent credit.”

    The reason that rang a big bell for me was that I used the negative of those same factors, plus a couple more, to explain why I would not be darkening their door again. At least, not until the two years had passed that it will require me to pay off my deductible (?) for last year.

    So, IMHO, it sounds like the con artists and the medical professionals have the same M.O. these days.

  3. P6o6d3O9 says:

    Many thanks for an interesting and useful post. I’ve been through this recently. I went for an implant, choosing a dentist who (a) promised [on line] to do the entire job for $3000, including crown and (b) took my insurance and (c) was close by. Alas, the implant failed. They promised to give me my money back. They didn’t. I threatened to sue in small claims court. They gave me all of my money back. My regular dentist did a bridge instead. After insurance it cost less than the implant. So far, I’m happy with it.

    The important thing is to check for state regulations regarding dentists. What is their obligation if an implant fails? Sure, they make you sign a form that says they have no obligation [while you are under anesthesia, no doubt], but this is probably not binding in California, or any state that has intelligent consumer protection laws [such as my home state of Massachusetts].

    Mexico sounds like a real option. But see what the dentist promises in case of failure, and ask for his failure rate. Sinus lifts are sometimes essential [and very expensive]; look for a bridge instead.

    Good luck!

    [Reply: Don’t know why this one was in SPAM. Looks like a duplicate of one that didn’t go to SPAM. -E.M.Smith]

  4. Lynn Clark says:

    I’ve concluded that medical tourism is the way to go for stuff like this. I spent 30 days in Thailand in March and saw three different dentists while I was there:

    1) An infection in the same molar that started your quest that didn’t quite get put down by the time I left for Thailand started to flare up again the first week I was there. A roughly five-minute consultation/exam with a dentist in Kanchanburi resulted in being given a ten-day supply of antibiotics and 400mg Ibuprofen pills. Total cost: 100 THB (about $2.90 USD). (In case this is not clear, this is the total cost, including the consultation/exam and the drugs. The same applies to the costs for #2 and #3 below.)

    2) I started getting some canker sores, which always happens when something (traveling with my 88-year-old father?) is stressing me. Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought along the “Kenalog in Orabase” medicine that I’ve used for about 45 years to treat canker sores. I dropped in at a dental office in another city to see if I could get some of it. Again, a five minute consultation/exam with a dentist in Nakhon Ratchasima (AKA Korat) resulted in leaving with a 1-gram foil packet of the Kenalog medication. Total cost: 150 THB (about $4.35 USD). BTW, a couple months before I left for Thailand, I’d gotten a new, 5-gram tube of the Kenalog medication at the local Costco pharmacy. Its retail cost is $80, discounted to $72 by Costco. By that measure, the 1-gram foil packet that I got in Thailand should have cost about $16 USD. (Although $80 for a 5-gram tube of any medication sounds outrageous, a 5-gram tube typically lasts me around 10 years, so it amortizes out to about $8/year.)

    3) Over time my teeth lose enamel on the outside surfaces. Over the years my dentist has filled the holes with composite fillings for cosmetic reasons. In the eight months or so prior to going to Thailand I’d been having this kind of work done at the local dental school which charges $105 for each such filling. It would cost at least double that at any normal dental office. A dentist in Bangkok charged me 8,000 THB ($237.60 USD) for eight such fillings (1,000 THB / $29.70 USD per filling). This was 300 THB more per filling than they advertise on their web site*, so either I got the farang (foreigner) price or the prices on their web site are a little out of date. In any case, $237.60 for eight fillings was $27.60 more than what the local dental school would have charged me for two fillings.

    For what it could cost you to get your implant in the states, you could get the implant and have a nice vacation in Thailand for a couple weeks.

    * if it doesn’t come up in English, click on the little “union jack” in the upper-right part of the screen, then click on “Fees” in the menu bar along the top part of the page to see what they charge for various services. Imagine that, all prices listed out in the open. Divide all prices in THB by 33.67 (the exchange rate today from to convert to USD. Then factor in a possible “farang” undiscount. ;-)

  5. Sandy McClintock says:

    Our local dentist in country Australia went to the USA for a course on the latest Dental Implants.
    He came back ready to milk the locals using this wonderful new tech. I for one, have just left a gap and have no intention of filling it for the same reason as you.

  6. philjourdan says:

    I should have posted earlier. My wife wanted 4 implants. She had those teeth pulled a long time ago. Dentist quoted $15k! and Insurance would pay almost nothing. So we go to Los Algodones. Dentist quotes us $5k (it came out a little higher). That was 9 years ago. Had to have one cap replaced a couple of years back. But other than that, my wife loves them. I used an MSA to pay for it (spread over 2 years). So (based upon tax rate), it cost me about $3500.

    I will not allow local dentists to do anything except clean and if necessary pull a tooth. I have a very good dentist in Los Algodones that I can have other dental procedures done for the cost of the plane ticket plus dentist cost – and the total is equal to or less than the locals!

    If you are interested, ask for Dr. Janira Alcalde.

  7. David A says:

    E.M. you are quite close to USFC. up on the hill. Call their dental program. Yes a student would do the procedure under the direct supervision of an instructor. I belive the cost is about 1/3 of what you were quoted.

  8. David A says:

    And yes, the entire implant upsell stuff feels like a racket, and Tijuana, while cheaper, plays a similar game. I have done both with my wife, and we found USFC better.

  9. John F. Hultquist says:

    My wife had #17 & #18 fixed, one empty and one an old repair that was failing. Our regular dentist (Margi) discussed the possibilities with her, and that after the implants she would return for the finishing work.
    The referral was to a place that has ” Dental Implant Specialists” on all their material on the web (info and videos**) and the front door.

    **Link to this site and go to videos of implants explanation:

    We were advised that the first visit would be with the #1 assistant to the doctor, but that he would appear briefly.
    The #1 assistant was a young lady that knew exactly what she was doing. She explained the entire process, answered all questions.

    When she was satisfied that she had the information she and the doctor needed, and that we knew what was going to happen – she called the doctor in. He did an inspection and answered questions.

    The assistant went over costs with, and without, insurance. There’s the rub.
    No one can make sense of insurance either for dental or regular medical. Not only did we need to know the Insurer, but we had to know the plan (this, that, or something else). Our plan had a yearly cap, so with #1’s help, a time line was planned to spread the steps out over 2 years. [Later, their coder put the wrong plan code into the computer, thus screwing up the cost estimates. Once corrected, we were back on track.] When paper work does appear from the insurer’s office it looks like Egyptian hieroglyphs. Consultations with the insurer (via phone) and the office staff of the doctor are necessary to make sense of such things. Seems, in my wife’s case the insurance plan was better than yours.

    The bottom line, in our case, was that we knew all along what was going to happen, what the retail cost was, what the “preferred provider” cost was, our share of that, and so on. From the initial recommendation of our dentist until the finish, we were never surprised. At both dental practices, we felt comfortable and that we were in the hands of professionals.

    I wonder if the community size has anything to do with these issues that so annoyed you? Our county is quite rural (45,000) and to the south where the implant specialist is has one large city (94,000). The medical folks are part of the community, and information is quickly and easily shared. Could there be a correlation between community size and the medical experience?

  10. Richard Ilfeld says:

    FIrst you need a good surgeon. This is surgery as much as dentistry. I have 9 implants. Seven required bone grafts, 2 did not. A good surgeon can explain why — essentially you need a good margin between the base of the implant and the nerve,. And plenty of bone ot hold the threads, and a good base on top for your gum. There is serious 3D engineering involved. Technology has improved recently. —
    they now screw the crown on and fill the hole so the crown isn’t sacrificed if there needs to be maintenance. There might be. Your mouth is a dynamic place, and we can generate a LOT of force when we bite.
    I like the healing abutment rather than a temporary. Yes, you have a notch for a few months, but there is little risk of pressuring the growing graft, or the gum regrowth which is equally important.
    Yes, its not insured.
    But, for all practical purposes, implants, well done, are teeth. Dentures are not. Figure $5000 a pop. You probably want both xrays and a cat scan. Everything in you head is close together, nerves, sinuses, etc. The guy who did my implants does restorations, plastic surgery, and accident restoration. My dentist handled the crowns. They are different disciplines.
    Also, be aware that there are lots of nasty things in your mouth. infection is a real risk, and there is lots of piping for it to travel through. Especially if you have an impacted infection being fixed, you are releasing lots of toxins into a newly drilled hole.
    I talked with several of the guys patients before proceeding, even though he was recommended by my dentist. I’d recommend this. This is one of those things where the risks for a few bucks can be serious. As much of a nuisance as a bridge or a gap is, a failed implant is a real bad experience.
    In Florida, $3400 is available turnkey, I pay about $5K per across both practicioners, and feel I’m getting value. You are amortizing the cost over the rest of your life. Neither guy I got to has a fish tank in the waiting room, both take the time needed to explain what, why, and allow me a second opinion without rancor if I want one. Unlike some ‘insured’ procedures, if you pay you are a customer and can shop. I don’t think this is necessarily one where I’d go for a low cost option.
    It’s your mouth.

  11. cdquarles says:

    @ John F, yes there is a correlation to community size and medical expenses. Why the correlation is what it is, though, is more complicated. A very small area won’t have specialists or only a few of them, so those expenses get incurred elsewhere. Insurers, particularly Medicare, has different payment rates, depending on where you live. Rural rates are lower than urban ones, for instance. ‘Flyover country’ rates are lower than the coasts even when comparing ‘rural’ to ‘rural’ and ‘urban’ to urban’. Where you get your care matters, too. Teaching hospitals are all in a handful of urban areas.

  12. cdquarles says:

    Oh, yeah, medicine is part art and part science. Still, had the government not gotten into it, either directly or indirectly, the system would not have gone in the direction it has gone.

  13. R. de Haan says:

    German Dentists specialized in impants operating in implant practices in Poland servng mostly German and Dutch patients simply because of the prices in Germany and the Netherlands that are quickly becoming just as redicilous as in the USA. This is only one of the many links.

  14. R. de Haan says:

    In the Netherlands we have an excellent company called Van Straaten. They were already in the market wehn the entire implant hype took off. They supply the practices with the tools, the implants and the training. A friend of mine called them and said he needed some implants and that he didn’t mind to act as a volunteer for an in vivo training of surgeons. He received an A+ treatment and received a very small bill to pay, Maybe you can pull something like that off in the States. Just look for the guys that market de implant systems and deliver the training to denstists and surgeons. It really could save you a bundle.

  15. JS says:

    A friend of mine here in the UK had a front tooth break about 10 or 12 years ago and would have had to pay well over £1,000 for an implant in Britain. For way less than that (maybe half, from memory) they went to Bratislava in Slovakia twice a few months apart for the treatment.
    Excellent service and a couple of pleasant short holidays, with a side trip to Vienna,.thrown in. Fingers crossed, the implant is still fine.

  16. R. de Haan says:

    Dyna Implants in the Netherlands (The Van Straten company mentioned earlier) free consult, and the price mentioned for the implant including a crown 1.750,-

  17. R. de Haan says:

    Just for your information. This is the most used implant in the Netherlands: The Dyna System:

  18. David A says:

    Oh, E.M. I believe the correct acronym is UCSF. Their ciat is cimparable to Tijuana, around 2 K.

  19. David A says:

    Ron D, yes San Diego has such a program. Not certain about Northern California

  20. David A says:

    Tijuana dentist take your blood type and claim to use cadaver bone grafts, whereas in the States, this is not done

  21. Svend Ferdinandsen says:

    We all reach the repair age, and have to decide what to do.
    Regarding tooths you have to be aware that infection in the tooths can give unexpected symptoms in other places. Among those are hart conditions because of raised infection all over, much like a blatter infection that raises the infection level without any other symptoms.
    In older peoble it is sometimes just diagnosed as dementia, where an antibiotic treatment would cure both.
    A danish man was diagnosed with hart problems, and was told he had to get his tooths ordered before the doctors would take care of his hart, because the hart problems were caused by the tooths.
    From Denmark you can also travel to Poland and other countries to get a much lower pice for the dental work. They even have danish personal/dentists, but it all depends on trust and what if it eventual goes a litlle wrong.
    Just an update from Denmark, and here we have to pay the most dentist work ourselves out of the pocket or by a private insurance.

  22. E.M.Smith says:


    Well, the good news is that American lawsuit paranoia has me on strong antibiotics for a week… seems to be killing sny bug on me snd they insisted I get probiotics (since it seems to be cleaning like a white tornado…)


    Thanks for the various suggestions… now I’ve got 1/2 a year to contemplate…

    Since I already had the bone graft (I think it was crushed coral packed in the hole) all it ought to take is the pin installation, but I’ll be studying up on what’s involved.

    I like the idea of an eastern Europe trip, but we’ll see…

  23. Jimbo says:

    If you think that your bone grows back after a tooth has been extracted, you’re not as bright as you think you are!

  24. E.M.Smith says:


    Bone does grow back. Just very very slowly. In fact, I’ve got a couple of places where a trauma to the bone caused even more to grow so it is now larger than before (mostly on shins…) Jaw bones are like any other bone in that way.

    Now it doesn’t grow back quite the same, since the regular pressure / release of tooth pressure is missing (and that causes piezoelectric currents that stimulate bone growth).

    But I’ve had teeth extracted, and then had the oral surgeon / dentist follow up on how well the bone filled in. (Wisdom teeth). The deep socket becomes a shallower depression in the bone and over time remodeling smoothes it even more. My oral surgeon for this last extraction even said that the bone would fill in ‘enough’ most of the time without the graft, but would take longer and not be quite as strong (thus, the graft). It was presented as an option, but a preferred one. Though I wonder how much the kilo-buck in his wallet influenced the recommendation…

    Am I an expert or even done research on this? Nope. Just what I saw on followup x-rays and what my dentists and oral surgeons have said to me, along with some general bone knowledge. (Medical Records tech on Orthopedics ward for a year or two… had to read ALL the medical records for the ward when on shift to assure quality was met.)

    Sidenote on impacted wisdom teeth:

    Seems this is largely due to a soft diet. IF we would eat hard foods that take a lot of chewing as in the past, we would grow larger jaw bones (due to that piezoelectric effect) and all our teeth would fit better like they did prior to cooked soft foods. So, want a stronger jaw line? Eat hard stuff that takes a lot of chewing. It will tend to wear your teeth down over time, though…

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