It’s one of the first questions everyone wants answered about a dental implant procedure: how much is this going to cost me? Admittedly, that’s one of the first questions we ask about anything, from a cheeseburger to a new car. But pricing dental implants isn’t like pricing a cheeseburger or a car. In the case of these products, most of the cost is related to the main item, and when additions are requested, they’re predictable and relatively low cost.

But imagine buying a car if not everyone needed an engine. Or wheels. Think what that would do to the pricing of cars. And with dental implants, that’s the situation we’re in. We don’t know if you’re going to need a bone graft or gum disease treatment. We’re not entirely sure how many implants you’re going to need, or if you’re even suitable for dental implants until we do a comprehensive exam. That means that the cost of dental implants can vary widely, and we won’t know that the cost is until your exam. Dentists handle this cost uncertainty four different ways.


One approach is to give you a lowball estimate. This is the absolute least you could possibly play for a dental implant, and few people are going to qualify for this price. The goal is to attract patients who are only looking for a low price and may not be concerned about quality. And even then the strategy is typically to ratchet up the price a little once they’ve got you interested.

Some may even excluded necessary costs from the final estimate, such as exams, anesthesia, operatory fees, and others that you don’t find out about until you get your final bill.

That’s why it’s always critical to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples when looking at estimates. If one estimate is a lot lower, chances are good that something’s been left out.

High End

Another strategy would be to tell you the maximum you’re likely to pay for dental implants. This strategy is less popular because it tends to scare off patients, even though, as with the lowball estimate, most people will be nowhere near it. And it’s even more uncertain.

A Wide Range

Another option is to try to communicate the full range of potential costs for your dental implants. This strategy is good in that it can seem honest and up-front, but if the range is really honest, it’s likely to be too large to be of any value in your cost estimates.

Don’t Give a Price

This fourth option is the one we follow in our office. It’s really the only truly honest answer: until we perform a comprehensive exam, we just won’t know what your dental implant procedure will cost.

If you are considering dental implants in Orange County, please call  for an appointment with an implant dentist in Irvine to learn more.