Dental implant screws are a critical component of dental implants. They act as the device that secures the dental implant to the jawbone. Determining the cost of dental implant screws depends on several factors.
What are dental implant screws?
Dental implant screws are tiny titanium screws that anchor the dental implant to the jawbone. The screw is placed into the jawbone through the gums during a surgical procedure. A cylindrical socket is drilled into the jawbone, and the implant screw is threaded into place using a small driver. The implant screw serves as the foundation upon which the visible tooth will be secured into place. Implant screws come in different lengths and widths depending on the unique needs of the patient’s jawbone structure.
Factors that determine dental implant screw cost
Several key factors influence the overall cost of dental implant screws:
- Type of material: Titanium is the standard material used for dental implant screws. Pure titanium is more expensive but offers greater compatibility and strength. Titanium alloys can reduce costs but may carry higher risks of rejection.
- Brand name: Major dental brands charge more for their implant screws compared to smaller generic manufacturers. Branded screws meet rigorous quality standards but come at a premium.
- Length and width: Longer and wider implant screws are needed for certain jawbone structures and positions. These non-standard sizes cost more than basic short and narrow screws.
- Quantity: Dentists order implant screws in bulk packages. Larger bulk orders generally have a lower per-unit cost.
- Supplier: Ordering through third-party online dental suppliers can save substantially over buying directly through a dentist’s office.
- Location: Prices are affected by factors like material costs and real estate which vary regionally.
Dental implant screw material types
Two main material types are used to manufacture dental implant screws:
- Pure titanium: This is considered the gold standard material for dental implants and abutments. Pure titanium offers strength, biocompatibility with bone and soft tissue, corrosion resistance, and stability. It also integrates with bone through a process called osseointegration. The downside is the higher cost compared to titanium alloys.
- Titanium alloys: Alloys like Ti-6Al-4V (titanium, aluminum and vanadium alloy) are more affordable but come with higher risks of fracture and rejection by the body. Common concerns include metal sensitivity and galvanic corrosion between dissimilar metals used in the mouth.
Most dentists recommend pure titanium screws, even with the added cost, to avoid potential device failure or rejection. The small difference in price is worthwhile to ensure long-term stability and success.
Average cost range
On average, individual dental implant screws range in cost from:
- $35 – $75 per screw for pure titanium
- $25 – $60 per screw for titanium alloy
Many factors affect where in this range a particular screw will actually cost. Generic implant screws tend to fall on the lower end while name brand and custom sizes range higher.
Some examples of average pricing for a single dental implant screw based on common brands:
|Average Cost per Screw
Keep in mind that these are approximate prices for singular screws. Many implant cases require multiple screws, which is where bulk pricing discounts come into play.
Cost differences by screw characteristics
Some of the factors that account for pricing variations include:
|Longer screws are more expensive
|Wider screws cost more
|Pure titanium is pricier than alloys
|Special coatings increase cost
|Premium brands are pricier
|Bulk discounts apply to larger orders
Dentists select screws based on patient anatomy and implant positioning. Wider diameters and longer screws provide more stability in soft bone. Surface treatments like sand-blasting and etching create more friction and bonding surface area.
Geographic location also impacts the pricing somewhat for dental implant screws. Some general guidelines:
- Major cities tend to be 6-15% more expensive for screws vs rural areas.
- Coastal regions and metropolitan areas are generally 5-10% pricier than inland locations.
- Prices in the Northeast and West regions are typically higher than the South or Midwest.
- Costs in Alaska and Hawaii average 10-20% more compared to the mainland.
These location-based price differences relate to factors like supplier availability, labor, real estate, and transportation. Ordering through online dental retailers can sometimes offset geographic pricing variances.
Price differences by supplier
Where a dentist purchases implant screws also greatly impacts the final cost. Some guidelines on pricing by supplier:
- Direct from implant manufacturer: Most expensive
- Dental supply company: Moderate pricing
- Online dental retailer: Lowest pricing
- Overseas dental suppliers: Lowest pricing but higher quality risks
Dentists traditionally purchased implants and components directly from major manufacturers like Nobel Biocare and Straumann. These companies offer integrated implant systems but at premium pricing.
More recently, specialized online dental retailers have emerged selling compatible implant hardware at significant discounts compared to the name brands. However, dentists must ensure the components adhere to similar material and quality standards as the implant systems they use.
Cost differences by quantity
The more screws a dentist purchases in bulk, the lower the per-unit pricing with volume discounts. Typical price drops based on quantity:
- 1-4 screws: No discount
- 5-9 screws: 5% discount
- 10-19 screws: 10% discount
- 20-49 screws: 15% discount
- 50+ screws: 20% discount
Small dental offices are limited in the bulk order discounts they can obtain. Large dental practice groups and clinics are better positioned to buy screws in volume for greater cost savings.
Does insurance cover the cost?
Most dental insurance plans provide some level of coverage for dental implant screws as part of the overall implant treatment. However, the extent depends on the individual plan details:
- Dental PPO plans often cover 50% of total implant costs, including screws.
- Dental HMO coverage varies greatly by plan and provider network.
- Discount dental plans provide set fee reductions on implants and hardware.
- Major medical insurance may provide limited coverage if deemed medically necessary.
Many policies have annual maximum benefits that cap implant coverage. Patients should thoroughly understand their insurance benefits before undergoing treatment to avoid surprise costs.
Can I buy my own implant screws?
While some online dental retailers are geared towards patients, buying dental implant components on your own is not recommended. Special training and licensing is required to safely handle and place implant screws. Purchasing screws also requires detailed knowledge of the specific implant system and dimensions needed.
Dentists have very strict legal and ethical regulations about only using dental products that have been designed, tested and calibrated for their intended purpose. Internet-bought discount screws violate those standards in most cases. Significant risks include screw fractures, misalignment, bone loss, and serious infections.
There are some situations where dentists allow patients to source their own compatible implant parts. But direct doctor consultation and guidance is strongly advised against patients shopping for uncontrolled implant system components on their own.
Additional costs beyond the screws
When budgeting for dental implant treatment, keep in mind that screws make up just a portion of the total costs. Other standard expenses include:
- Implant post/fixture
- Bone grafting materials
- CT scans
- Surgical guide
- Temporary restoration
Most patients can expect to spend around $3,000-$4,500 per implant tooth when getting treatment through a licensed dentist in the United States. Surgical expenses, office visits, temporaries, and lab fees often equal or exceed the implant hardware costs.
Some money-saving suggestions to keep dental implant screw expenses as low as possible:
- Compare costs between dentists and suppliers
- Ask your dentist about generic compatible screws vs brand name
- Use online retailers if your dentist allows it
- Choose titanium alloy over pure titanium if suitable
- See if a dental school offers discounted treatment
- Enroll in dental savings plans and memberships
- Pay cash instead of financing payments
- Apply for medical credit cards with promotional financing
Working closely with your dentist and using supplemental discount programs are smart ways to get quality implant screws at the most affordable pricing.
Dental implant screws range in cost from $25 to $75 per unit on average. Factors like material, brand, size, quantity, supplier, location, and insurance coverage affect the final price. While implant screws represent just one component of overall treatment costs, choosing an affordable quality product is key to keeping expenses in check.