I need some help. I want to get dental implants, but can’t seem to get my medical insurance to cover it. Why wouldn’t they? It’s not like being unable to eat is good for my health? Will dental insurance cover them? If not, what do I do? I’ve heard dentures are bad for someone my age (I’m 52) but that may be all I can afford.
Dear Grannie G.,
We sometimes forget that insurance companies are a business. As such, they want to make money. They’re not really there to think of the best option for the patient. Because dental insurance is available, medical insurance companies won’t cover anything which has to do with your teeth.
Dental insurance plans tend to cover the least expensive option available. For tooth replacement options, that would be dentures. So, you’re more likely to get most or full coverage of dentures, but only partial coverage of dental implants. That leaves you covering most of the bill.
Whoever advised you about the dangers of getting dentures at your age was correct. When your teeth are removed, your body begins resorbing the minerals in your jawbone to use elsewhere in an effort to be efficient with its resources. This has the unfortunate effect of shrinking your jawbone. Depending on how quickly the resorption takes place, in ten or so years you’ll no longer have enough jawbone left to retain your dentures. This is known in dental circles as facial collapse.
I don’t want you to despair, though, there are ways to afford dental implants.
Affording Dental Implants
The first thing you should know is payment for the dental implant procedure is usually done in two stages. First, is the surgical stage when the implants are placed. Then, after a period of time designed for both healing and osseointegration to take place.
Once that is done, the second payment is usually made when the implant crowns are designed. This allows you to break up the cost.
For some, even that is too much. Because of that many dentists will work through Care Credit, which allows you to take out a low-interest payment plan in order to get the treatment you need. If you qualify, this company allows you to choose how long you’ll take to repay it, thereby essentially choosing the cost of your payments.
Dental Implant Options
You don’t have to get a one-to-one tooth/implant replacement ratio. It is much more affordable to get implant overdentures which will use four to six implants per arch and then anchor your dentures to them.
If this is still too much money, snap-on dentures are a great option. It will allow you to use as few as two dental implants. It will anchor the denture in that spot and protect the bone where the implants are. This will get you started while allowing you to save up for more implants if you so desire.
This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.