If you’re a kid, losing a tooth is a pay day. The 2013 Tooth Fairy Survey by Visa revealed that the average kid living in the north east gets $4.10 for a missing tooth. But what happens if you lose a tooth as an adult? There is no tooth fairy – and if there were, she’d need to fork over much more than a few bucks.
According to the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons, more than two-thirds of adults age 35 to 44 are missing at least one permanent tooth. By age 74, nearly a quarter will be missing all of their permanent teeth.
How Much Does A Missing Tooth Cost?
Philadelphia dentist Dr. Pamela Doray says, “replacement options for missing teeth might seem expensive, but choosing not to replace a missing tooth is the most expensive decision you could possibly make.”
A missing tooth sets off a chain reaction in your mouth:
- Supporting bone begins to deteriorate
- Gums are exposed to more bacteria and more susceptible to gum disease
- Neighboring teeth shift and move
If you replace a missing tooth right away, you’ll avoid these problems and have more conservative and less expensive treatment options available to you.
Dental Implants For Missing Teeth
The gold standard in cosmetic dentistry for replacing a missing tooth is a dental implant, which replaces the root of the tooth. Through a process called osseointegration, the dental implant will integrate with the living bone and form a strong, stable bond.
Depending on how many teeth are missing, the dentist will place either a dental crown, partial or full denture over the implant(s) to restore the smile and proper function.
Average Cost of Dental Implants in Philadelphia
It’s nearly impossible to quote an average price for a dental implant because the treatment is so unique to the individual patient. In the Philadelphia area, a dental implant can cost in the range of $4,000 to $6,000 per tooth. Keep in mind this cost will increase if other dental work is needed.
Dental Implants Vs. Dental Bridge
A dental implant is a one-tooth solution to a one-tooth problem. An alternative to an implant is a bridge, which may cost the same or slightly less than dental implant treatment. But, a dental bridge involves placing caps on the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth, which may compromise their health over the long term. Also, a dental bridge may only last 8-10 years compared to a dental implant which could last a lifetime.
What About Dental Insurance?
It would be nice if dental insurance worked more like the tooth fairy, but unfortunately, it does not. Dental insurance is a health benefit designed to offset very basic preventive care. When dental work is needed, most dental insurance plans will only allow benefit on the least expensive alternative treatment solution, which is generally the minimum standard of care.
In our Philadelphia dental office, we do what’s best for the patients, not the insurance companies. While we don’t participate in any dental insurance networks, we do offer assistance for patients to help recover the dental insurance benefits to which they are entitled.
How Can You Save Money on Dentistry?
The best advice, says Dr. Doray, is to invest in excellent preventive care. “Investing in preventive care is key to saving money on dentistry. Most major dental problems can be avoided if you visit your dentist on a regular basis, follow a good at-home oral care routine and maintain a healthy diet. Our goal is to help people avoid major dental work.”
If you already have problems, you can still save money by choosing the right dentist.
“You never want to go for the cheapest option when it comes to dentistry. This tends to result in a never-ending cycle of dental work.” says Dr. Doray. Instead, “research and choose a skilled dentist who will work to solve the underlying cause for your dental problems, rather than simply mask the symptoms. A comprehensive approach to dental care yields more conservative treatment options and provides more stable, longer lasting results.”
Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Doray
Over the last 25 years, Dr. Doray has established a reputation as one of the leading cosmetic and reconstructive dentists in the Philadelphia area. In 2012 she was selected by her peers for recognition in Philadelphia Magazine as a “Top Cosmetic Dentist.” In 2013, Dr. Doray became Philadelphia’s only AACD Accredited cosmetic dentist, an accomplishment achieved by only 350 dental professionals to date.
Call our office: (215) 395-6076 or request an appointment online.