Dental cosmetic procedures are dental procedures that can help improve the appearance of a your teeth, gums, and smile. Beyond giving you a beautiful smile, these processes also help your teeth function better.
However, cosmetic dentistry procedures can also be expensive and the costs vary depending on several factors. So, you need to understand the costs associated with cosmetic dentistry so you can figure out which process is suitable for you and when to opt for reasonable alternatives that can deliver similar results.
Here, let’s explore the factors influencing the cost of cosmetic dental surgery, insurance and financing options in cosmetic dentistry, hidden costs to watch out for during cosmetic dentistry, and more.
Understanding Cosmetic Dental Surgery
Cosmetic dental surgery, also known as cosmetic dentistry, is a branch of dentistry that focuses on the appearance of the teeth. It seeks to address visual aesthetic dental concerns such as discoloration, misalignment, misshape, cracks, chips, and gaps.
Cosmetic dentistry procedures can offer oral benefits, but not comparable with general dentistry, which focuses on treatment and preventive services for oral diseases.
Essentially, a cosmetic dentist performs treatments and operations on your gums and teeth, to give you a beautiful smile, which boosts your confidence in the public. Common cosmetic procedures include teeth whitening, tooth dental implants, veneers, bridges, and tooth reshaping.
Teeth whitening, also called teeth bleaching, is a procedure for removing tooth discoloration and brightening the teeth. This can be done at home using teeth whitening gel and mold or professional whitening at the dentist’s office. However, note that teeth whitening may not remove all tooth discoloration, especially discoloration due to dental disease or injury. Also, you may experience minimal tooth sensitivity after the process.
This cosmetic dental procedure is used to replace missing tooth. Here, the dentist places a metal post within the jawbone to serve as the base for the tooth implant. After this, the dentist attaches an abutment on the metal post and finally fixes the artificial tooth (or dental crown). A dental implant looks, feels, and functions like natural teeth, improving your smile.
Veneers are custom-made porcelain or resin shells usually applied on the tooth surface. They cover the front surfaces of teeth to improve teeth appearance and address various cosmetic issues such as cracks, chips, misalignment, misshape, and severely discolored teeth that do not respond to teeth whitening.
This involves placing the crowns on the gap created by your lost teeth. Dental bridges may consist of several pieces of crowns made to fit into the gap. It serves as a good cosmetic alternative to dentures.
Also known as tooth contouring, tooth reshaping corrects misshapen, uneven, crooked or misaligned teeth. It involves removing, filing, and lengthening the tooth enamel to achieve a harmonious shape or size in your dentition.
Factors Influencing the Cost of Cosmetic Dental Surgery
Type of Procedure
Complex procedures, such as a dental implant or full mouth reconstruction, usually cost more than relatively simpler cosmetic dentistry treatments like teeth whitening, dental bonding, and cosmetic filling. Complex procedures are more costly because they require more expertise, surgical intervention, time, precision, and more materials. For example, full mouth reconstruction costs between $20,000 to $80,000 while teeth whitening may cost between $300 to $1,800.
Cosmetic dentistry costs vary with location due to factors such as cost of living, demand and supply, regulation and licensing, etc. For example, dental offices in metropolitan areas like New York will likely charge you higher than those in smaller cities like Beverly Hills, due to higher costs of living and competition.
Dentist’s Experience and Reputation
Highly experienced dentists command more authority due to their track record of successful treatments and ability to deliver superior outcomes. Their expertise and track record usually attract high demand for their service, so they charge more than other less experienced dentists.
Dental Clinic/Hospital Facilities
The level of infrastructure, technology, and facilities in a clinic or hospital can impact the quality of its dental services and the cosmetic dentistry cost in the institution. Hospitals with modern equipment and facilities will likely charge more than hospitals with outdated facilities due to higher overhead costs.
High-quality materials offer more durability and better aesthetic appeal. Hence, the higher the quality of the material, the higher the cost of the procedure. For example, porcelain veneers are more costly than composite veneers.
Dental Laboratory Fees
Some dental procedures require the fabrication of custom materials such as veneers, crowns, and bridges in the dental lab. The lab fees can spike the overall cosmetic dentistry procedure costs depending on the complexity of the material and the nature of the lab.
Follow-Up Care and Maintenance
Most cosmetic dentistry requires follow-up appointments with the dentist for periodic checkups, adjustments, or additional treatment. These appointments are necessary to address possible issues that may arise and to ensure the durability and effectiveness of the procedure. Such regular follow-up maintenance, however, impacts the overall cost of the dental procedure.
Insurance and Financing Options in Cosmetic Dentistry
Most insurance companies consider cosmetic dentistry as optional and not medically essential. Hence, they often offer insurance plans that do not cover cosmetic dentistry. However, some insurance plans still cover cosmetic dentistry costs if they’re deemed medically necessary.
For example, teeth whitening procedures may be covered if the discoloration is caused by a medical condition or injury. Also, insurance coverage for veneers may apply when it’s being used to restore decayed or damaged teeth.
For your insurance claim, carefully review your dental insurance policy to determine if your desired cosmetic procedure is eligible for coverage. Also, consult with your cosmetic dentist to discuss your treatment process and how you can file an insurance claim.
If your dental procedure is covered by insurance, your dentist will need to get prior authorization from the insurance provider and also inquire about your reimbursement and co-pay amount.
Alternatives to Insurance For Cosmetic Dentistry Cost
- Loan: You can obtain a personal loan from banks or credit unions to cater to your cosmetic dentistry costs. Compare different loan options, including the interest rates, fees, and repayment terms before making a decision.
- In-House Financing: Some dental clinics have in-house financing options, allowing the patient to pay for their cosmetic procedure over a period of time. One common example is the EMI (Equated Monthly Installment) plan, which allows you to pay for dentistry procedures in monthly installments.
Hidden Costs to Watch Out For in Cosmetic Dental Surgery
Consultation with your dentist is the first necessary step before the surgery. During the consultation, the dentist will assess your overall oral health, discuss your expected outcomes and create a treatment plan. The dentist may charge you a fee for the consultation, which may not be part of the surgery cost.
X-rays and 3D Scans
X-rays and 3D scans are necessary for assessing your oral health and planning your treatment. They provide detailed information about your teeth, gums, and jawbone, helping the dentist plan your surgery. Some dental clinics may charge you separately for X-rays and scans, while others may include it in the overall cost.
Post-Surgery Medications or Therapeutic Measures
After surgery, you may need some medications or therapeutic measures such as antibiotics and oral hygiene products to prevent infections and aid the healing process. This post-surgery medication may add to the overall cost of the procedures.
Potential Corrections or Touch-Ups
Setting up several appointments with your dentist for potential corrections and touch-ups may lead to additional costs.
How to Save on Cosmetic Dental Surgery
There are different strategies you can apply to minimize the cost of cosmetic dentistry procedure. Here are some pro tips to help you save some bucks.
Consult different dentists and seek multiple quotes, especially when it has to do with expensive procedures like dental implants or full mouth reconstruction. This will help you find the best offer that fits within your budget.
Discount Plans and Membership
Some hospitals or cosmetic dentists offer discounts on certain procedures, helping you reduce dental surgery costs. Taking advantage of such discount plans or inhouse membership plans to save on cosmetic dentistry.
Traveling Abroad for Dental Tourism
Dental tourism is thriving today because of the savings advantage they offer. Countries like the Dominican Republic, Panama, Mexico, Hungary, and Thailand offer lower-cost dental procedures than the United States while maintaining similar quality.
However, it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable dentist to ensure quality treatment. Also, consider other implied costs such as travel expenses, accommodation, etc.
Choose Less Expensive Alternatives
Evaluate all treatment options and opt for the less expensive alternatives that will deliver similar outcomes. For example, you opt for composite veneer instead of porcelain. You may also consider dental bridges instead of dental implants. But then, be careful to ensure you don’t sacrifice quality for lower costs.
You can negotiate with cosmetic dentists instead of just accepting their initial offer. They may consider the uniqueness of your case and tailor a discount or flexible payment plan that is budget-friendly for you. Also, ask if there’s any special offer that will help reduce the cost of your procedure.
Importance of Quality over Cost in Cosmetic Dental Surgery
The enticement of cheap cosmetic dentistry may have some negative outcomes behind it, especially in the long run. Cosmetic dental procedures require expertise and precision to achieve optimal results, which is often why they’re costly. So, sometimes, a cheap dental procedure may be a reflection of the dentist’s experience and quality of service.
Sacrificing the service of an experienced dentist to save money might land you inferior results that may leave you vulnerable to serious health concerns such as severe pain, discomfort, tooth decay, gum swelling, infections, chewing difficulty, or bone loss.
Additionally, cheap dental procedures may lead to higher upfront costs, as materials used tend to be less durable and ineffective. This means you will have to opt for a more expensive corrective surgery, and that is only if the damage is reversible.
Here are some vital reasons you should invest in quality dental procedure:
Long Lasting Results
Quality dental procedures require high-quality materials and techniques, such as crowns, dental implants, or veneers, to provide long-lasting restorations. For example, porcelain veneers may last for 10 to 15 years while composite veneers may last up to 5 to 10 years. Investing in quality dental work saves you from regrets and reduces the need for corrective procedures, saving you money in the long term.
Quality dental corrections significantly boost your smile and aesthetic appearance, compared to the cheaper options. For example, the teeth whitening procedure performed by the dentist in the office can lighten your teeth up to 10 shades in an hour, whereas cheap teeth whitening products in drug stores may be less effective.
Improved Oral Health
Although most cosmetic dental procedures are for aesthetic improvement, they can also offer functional oral benefits. For instance, dental bone loss can shrink your face and negatively impact the functionality of your mouth. But you can prevent one loss with dental implants. Also, dental treatments like crown and veneer corrects misalignment and improve your bite alignment and jaw function.
Opting for cheap dental work may negatively impact your dental health in the long term, so you must strike a balance between affordability and quality. Consult with qualified dental professionals to get a proper understanding of the cost of cosmetic dental surgery and find the best offer for your budget. Book a free consultation with our experts today for proper guidance.