Dental Implants on a Budget: What Are Your Safest Options?
Dental implants offer a near perfect solution to restoring teeth that have been lost or pulled. Because they are considered cosmetic, most insurance companies don't cover the cost, which can often run in the thousands of dollars. However, there are several options available to reduce the cost and, in some cases, allow you to receive the implants free of charge.
Research Dental Schools
A great way to get dental implants on a budget is to look into local dental schools. Many of them offer open clinics, providing low-cost or no-cost care to patients as a way for students to learn. Implants can be a great deal cheaper because they are provided by dental residents instead of private-practice dentists or prosthodontists.
All work is supervised by licensed dentists, which makes the cost well worth it. Be advised that initial appointments are for consultations and X-rays, which means the time spent getting the implants is sometimes more extensive than if you went to a private practice. Getting an appointment is also a bit more involved, and most schools work on a need basis. One positive is that dental students are often learning the latest techniques and tend to use newer equipment.
If you don't have a dental school in your area or feel more comfortable going to an established practitioner for your implant work, do you homework before making an appointment. The cost of cosmetic dental work can vary greatly and depends on several factors. Established practices tend to cost more, while newer prosthodontists may be willing to perform work for a fraction of the cost.
Read reviews and ask friends and co-workers before committing to a specific dental office. This not only gives you insight into what it might cost, but also provides an overview of the quality of care and the office in general.
Finance the Work
Another good option for budgeting dental implants is through financing. Many dentists are willing to divide the cost into affordable monthly payments after an initial down payment. Some offices offer credit financing through local banks for extensive and expensive work.
When calling for cost, it's a good idea to ask about financing options before making an appointment. A downside to financing can be the added interest cost, but some offices offer same-as-cash financial arrangements.
Use a Discount Dental Plan
Look into signing up for a dental discount plan to help cover a portion of the cost of dental implants. While not insurance, these discount plans can cut the cost of implants by up to 20 percent, which can really add up for expensive implant treatments. When you sign up, you receive a list of dentists and prosthodontists who offer the discount, making setting up an appointment easier.
Apply for a Grant
In cases where a patient is able to pay very little for dental work or implants, cosmetic dentistry grants offered through charitable organizations offer a solution for restoring your smile. Prospective patients fill out an application and wait to be accepted. Costs are covered on a need-based scale, with some or all of the procedure being paid for by the charity.