The 5 Most Expensive Dental Procedures

If you’re considering major dental work, oral surgery, or an elective smile makeover, don’t let the sticker shock catch you off guard. Here are the top five most expensive dental procedures you’ll find in most dental offices (so you’ll know before you call.)

Key takeaways:
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    The cost of some dental procedures is significantly higher than others.
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    Lab fees, surgeries, and materials impact the cost of dental care.
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    Procedures like dental implants and veneers tend to be the most expensive.
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    Insurance may not cover some expensive dental treatments.

Dental procedures can be expensive, but some are more costly than others. This article looks at the five most expensive dental procedures — dental implants, veneers, oral surgery, orthodontics, and dental crowns. We will discuss the benefits of each of these procedures and how pricing compares. By the end of this post, you will better understand which of these dental procedures is the most expensive and why.

Dental implants

While dental implants are among the most expensive dental treatments, they also offer many benefits that make them an attractive option for those looking for a more permanent solution for tooth loss or tooth decay. Because they’re surgically placed in the jawbone, dental implants are strong and durable, providing a secure anchor for artificial teeth like dentures or crowns. They also protect surrounding healthy teeth from wear and tear while providing improved stability and bite force compared to other solutions.

Most dental implants can last for the rest of your life, providing the best return on investment of any tooth replacement treatment. The implant itself may cost anywhere from $1500 to $5000, depending on numerous factors (and if the price of the restoration on top of the implant is included with the implant fee.)

Ultimately, the number of dental implants you need will impact the total cost. As few as 4-6 implants can replace an entire arch of teeth, eliminating the need to pay for an implant for each missing tooth.

Dental veneers

When it comes to why someone might want veneers, the answer is simple: to significantly enhance the appearance of their smile. Veneers offer a cosmetic solution to crooked, chipped, gapped, or misshaped teeth by covering them with a thin layer of porcelain. This treatment is often referred to as a smile makeover because of how dramatically it can change the appearance of one’s teeth.

As with many dental procedures, veneers aren't cheap. The average price for a single veneer can range anywhere from $500-$2,000, depending on the material used and the complexity of the procedure. For a complete set of veneers, prices can range anywhere from $2,000-$15,000, so it's important to research your options thoroughly before deciding which route is right for you. In addition, because veneers are an elective procedure, they are not usually covered by dental insurance.

Oral surgery

The cost of oral surgery is typically higher than that of other routine dental work, such as fillings or crowns. However, it should not come as a shock that the treatments that oral surgeons, periodontists, and other highly-trained specialists need to perform are a bit more expensive.

Common types of oral surgery include:

  • Wisdom tooth removal.
  • Sinus lift surgery.
  • Bone augmentation.
  • Cyst or tumor removal.
  • Cleft palate or lip repair.
  • Dental implant installation.

While oral surgery may be expensive, it can provide long-term solutions to many dental issues. It can also improve the function of your mouth. The cost of oral surgery depends on the complexity of the procedure and your insurance coverage. One of the most common types of oral surgery is wisdom teeth removal, which can vary from $200 to $700 or so per tooth, depending on the type of surgery involved and if sedation is required.

If you need oral surgery, you should talk to your dentist about available options. Your dentist can advise on controlling costs and how best to proceed with the treatment.

Orthodontics

Orthodontic systems like aligners and braces use gradual pressure to move teeth into the correct position. Braces are made from metal, ceramic, or plastic and can come in traditional or clear designs. The type of braces recommended will depend on the severity of tooth misalignment and your personal preferences.

The cost of braces varies depending on the type of orthodontic system chosen and how long treatment will take. On average, metal braces cost between $3,000 and $7,000, while ceramic braces can cost between $4,000 and $8,000. The cost of clear aligner systems is typically about the same or only a little more than traditional braces, with treatments ranging from $3,000 to $8,000.

Overall, orthodontic treatment can be one of the most effective ways to improve the appearance and health of your smile. Because tooth misalignment contributes to issues like TMJ disorder, worn teeth, and gum disease, investing in braces or aligners can serve multiple purposes (and be a smart health investment.)

Dental crowns

If you have an extremely large cavity, your tooth is fractured, or you recently received a root canal, your dentist may recommend a crown. A crown covers your entire tooth to the gum tissues, protecting and reinforcing the remaining tooth structure. In addition, crowns distribute biting pressure evenly across the restoration to prevent additional breakage or wear.

In some cases, crowns are often made from porcelain, zirconia, various ceramics, or gold. Porcelain and ceramic crowns are the most popular type because they blend in with the natural color of your teeth and can be made to match the exact shape of your original tooth. Gold crowns are strong and durable and are sometimes recommended for upper molars.

Crowns are one of the more expensive dental treatments, but they can provide an effective solution for restoring the function and appearance of your teeth. Unfortunately, some types of crowns cost more than others, and dental insurance companies may only cover about 50%. Most crowns cost about $500 to $3000, depending on the type of materials used (before insurance.)

How to talk to your dentist about pricing

Most dentists and specialists will provide you with an itemized care plan that breaks down your treatment options, timelines, and estimated insurance benefits (if applicable.) Consider asking your dental provider about comparing two or three different types of treatments to select the best one for your situation.

In some cases, you may want to consider getting a second or third opinion to compare costs in your area.

Most dental offices provide low or even 0% interest financing on major procedures such as smile makeovers, braces, and oral surgery. Be sure to ask about flexible payment options, as financing your treatment can allow you to complete the procedure sooner.


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