In the United States, about 3 million people have dental implants and every year 500 thousand more go through the process.
Considering that the cost of dental services is already expensive, dental implants have a high price tag. Dental implants are a last resort and long-term solution for tooth loss.
If you need dental implants but cannot afford them, hope is not lost.
Read on to learn how you can get affordable dental implants.
1. Start Comparison Shopping
If you want to get the best deal on dental implants, you cannot take the first estimate quoted by a dentist. Like any big purchase, you need to do your research and compare prices before you buy.
You need to do more than look at the total cost when asking a dentist for an estimate. Each dentist you consult should give you a complete breakdown of all the costs. The breakdown of the costs should include office visits, x-rays, modeling, anesthesia, surgery, and other materials.
After you review each breakdown, you can make an educated decision that fits your budget.
2. Try to Negotiate With Your Dentist
As we mentioned in the first point, you must shop around to find the best price for dental implants. If you found a better deal than the one your dentist offers, you can always use it to negotiate a better rate.
Take the estimate back to the dentist of your choice and present them with the lowest offer. Let them know another clinic is willing to do it for a lower price.
If you want your dentist to do the work, they might be willing to match the lowest offer or offer another significant discount.
3. Location Plays Role
As with many medical services, the cost of dental implants varies depending on the area where you live. For example, if you live in New York City or Los Angeles, the cost of dental implants will be a lot higher than in a smaller city or town.
The price difference has a lot to do with the cost of living and other overhead costs such as rent and insurance. Rural locations oftentimes don’t have to deal with these issues, so their services are a lot cheaper.
If you can travel to a rural location to get your dental implants, you will notice the difference in price.
4. Dental Savings Plan
If you know you will likely need dental implants in the near future, you can start saving for the procedure in a dental savings plan. All of the money you put into this account will go towards your dental expenses.
Of course, it might be helpful to have a treatment plan from your dentist, so you know exactly how much you need to save.
5. Layaway Plans
Similar to retail stores, some dentist offices allow you to participate in a layaway plan to pay for dental plans. Although these plans are not that common, you can still ask your dentist if they offer it as an option.
Depending if the dentist allows for layaway plans, you will pay a deposit to secure the dental implant and pay the rest over time.
6. Look Into Self-Financing
If you cannot afford dental implants out of pocket and your insurance only covers a portion of the total cost, there are ways to obtain financing. Companies such as Care Credit offer financing that is specifically for dental work and medical-related treatments.
Care Credit allows you to make monthly payments. Oftentimes, Cara Credit offers 0% interest when you pay the full amount in 6 or 12 months.
Financing is a great option when dental work cannot wait.
7. Try to Get Supplemental Insurance
As you know, dental insurance might cover the partial cost of implants or nothing at all. Since dental insurance is more affordable than medical insurance, you could look into getting supplemental dental insurance on top of what you already have.
Make sure you read the terms to ensure they cover dental implants.
8. Travel Abroad
Because many people find the cost of dental work in countries such as the U.S., UK, Canada, and Ireland higher, many people are resorting to dental tourism. Many developing countries are opening their doors to tourists looking to get dental work done for the fraction of the price.
View here to learn more about the U.S dental implant market and how it affects costs.
If you want to explore your options, look into countries that offer great dental treatments such as a few Asian countries, Costa Rica, Hungary, and Mexico.
Before you start looking for plane tickets, it’s important to do diligent research on the country and take into account if the traveling costs are worth it.
It might be easier to do if you were already planning a vacation at that destination.
9. Use Credit Card Rewards
You might have money set aside you don’t even know about such as credit card rewards. Because almost all dentists take credit cards you might be able to take advantage of any cashback rewards you might have accumulated on your credit card.
If you don’t have cashback rewards, it’s never too late to start accumulating them. Some credit cards offer introductory cashback rewards when you spend a certain amount in the first 90 days.
You could take this as an opportunity to get some of the cost of the implants back.
10. Dentistry Schools
Another way to save money on dental implants is by getting them done as a school of dentistry. Some schools offer dental implant clinics where they allow their recent graduates to get real-life experience.
Of course, students are supervised by an experienced dentist or oral surgeon. Participating in one of these programs can be extremely beneficial if you’re looking to save a fraction of the cost.
Since students are properly taught and supervised by experienced dentists, you can be sure they will produce quality work. However, you will likely have to go on a waiting list.
The work will also take multiple visits to complete and the hours might not be the most convenient.
If you’re willing to go out of your way, you can save thousands going this route.
How to Find Affordable Dental Implants: The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are many ways to save and find affordable dental implants. Start by doing your research, negotiate with your dentist, consider a clinic in a rural area or a school of dentistry.
Want to learn other ways to save on the big things? Check out the rest of our frugal living section.