Dental implants are a popular, effective way to replace a missing tooth or create a support structure for bridges and dentures. Unfortunately, they can also be pretty expensive. Implants often make the most sense for your dental health, but they’re not always a great fit for your budget.
Dental insurance can help lower implants costs, but there are often limitations and restrictions. Let’s take a closer look at what implant coverage is provided through an Aetna dental insurance policy – and whether a different option called an Aetna Dental Savings Plan might better serve your needs.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots. Made from titanium and other materials, implants are surgically inserted into the patient’s jaw. Once in place, they act as an anchor for artificial teeth or as a support structure for dentures and bridges.
Dental implants have two main benefits. Because they’re permanently implanted, they provide a strong, solid foundation for replacement teeth. Plus, they act as a substitute root system which helps prevent bone loss and other dental problems.
There are a few different types of dental implants:
Endosteal implants are the most common. They have a titanium post which is inserted underneath the gum line. The post connects to an abutment which is visible above the gums. The dental crown or artificial tooth is then attached to the abutment.
Subperiosteal implants are a bit more complex. They’re placed either just above or directly in the jawbone. These implants are used in cases where the patient’s bone structure is too weak or damaged to support endosteal implants.
Mini Implants are the newest type of implant. Also called Small Diameter Implants, they have a diameter between 1.8 to 3.3 mm (standard implants are 3.4 to 5.8 mm). Installing mini implants is a less invasive procedure than installing standard ones.
How Much Do Implants Cost?
The average cost of an endosteal implant is $2,400. Mini-implants average around $1,500. However, costs can vary significantly based on the type of implant used, your overall oral health, the location of your dentist (rural practices are typically cheaper than ones in urban areas) and other factors.
Keep in mind that’s the cost for just one implant. Additional implants, as well as related procedures such as creating custom crowns and dentures, will increase the costs.
Does Aetna Dental Insurance Cover Dental Implants?
It can, although dental insurance isn’t always the best option for reducing dental implant costs.
Most dental insurance companies consider implants to be a cosmetic procedure, which isn’t covered by most policies. However, your Aetna policy may cover costs related to dentures, crowns or related procedures.
Additionally, dental insurance policies have annual limits, which typically range from $1,000 to $1,500. Even if your dental insurance covers implants, you’ll almost certainly reach the policy’s annual limit quickly.
Finally, dental insurance companies often limit treatment for pre-existing conditions. Almost no policies cover treatments for teeth which were missing before the policy was purchased. Waiting periods are also common for more advanced procedures like implants and crowns. You’ll likely have to wait at least six months before coverage begins. Waiting periods prevent folks from buying insurance, maxing out their benefits immediately and then simply dropping the policy.
What Other Savings Options are Available?
Aetna Dental Insurance is often a great option for preventative care, but it’s usually not ideal for dental implants. Fortunately, Aetna understands this, which is why they also offer Aetna Dental Savings Plans.
For about $110 a year, members gain access to discounts between 15% and 50% on a huge range of dental procedures (the specific discounts vary based on the type of procedure). Unlike dental insurance, savings plans cover a variety of cosmetic issues. They also cover dental problems you had before purchasing the plan, like missing teeth.
Plus, dental discounts plans have no waiting periods. If you’re missing a tooth right now, an Aetna discount plan can help you save immediately on dental implants and related care. Don’t let a lack of dental insurance coverage prevent you from the full, healthy smile you deserve!