Dental implants are the longest-lasting and most natural looking solution for replacing missing teeth and restoring your smile. But with a single implant costing £2,000 or more in the UK, many people want to know how to find cheap dental implants or more affordable solutions.
Although you shouldn't make a decision based purely on cost, we know it's an important consideration.
Fortunately, there are ways for Brits to get affordable implants both in the UK and overseas. In this guide we have a variety of tips for making the cost of private dental care – not just implants – less restrictive. We also offer some advice on the other things to consider when choosing a dental professional.
So if you or a loved one need to replace missing teeth but are put off by the high cost of teeth implants, we hope you can find a solution here which makes cheap implants (or even free dental implants) a reality.
Table of contents
- 1 Implants: the basics
- 2 Dental costs in the UK
- 3 Find more affordable implants by shopping around
- 4 For full mouth implants consider All-on-4
- 5 Get a dental plan
- 6 Get dental financing
- 7 Go abroad for cheap dental implants
- 8 Visit a dental school for free or cheap implants
- 9 Appeal to a charity
- 10 Consider the alternatives
- 11 Don't cut corners just to get low-cost implants
Implants: the basics
Before we get stuck into ways to find low-cost implants, we'll quickly go over what exactly a tooth implant is and how it is placed.
The term ‘implant' refers to the titanium screw inserted into the jaw bone, where the tooth root would usually be. An abutment is placed on top of this, then a tooth crown (artificial tooth) is attached to the abutment.
However, when people refer to a tooth implant they often mean the entire structure, including the abutment and crown.
The process for placing an implant is as follows:
- Consultation with a dental surgeon to confirm you are a suitable candidate for implants – this includes x-rays and/or scans of your mouth
- Cost estimate provided
- Extraction of any teeth that are being replaced
- Bone graft or sinus lift surgery (if required)
- Placement of implant – site stitched over and left to heal
- Installation of abutment – plus a temporary crown, if provided
- Dental impressions for creation of tooth crown
- Fitting of crown
This entire process can take the best part of a year because of the healing time required at each stage. For patients who don't require teeth extractions or surgery, it will be a little quicker (and cheaper). Some dental surgeons may place the implant and abutment at the same time, which also shortens the overall procedure.
Your experience will vary depending on your overall oral health, the number and position of implants required, and the type of implant you choose.
You can read about this process and the types of implant available in much more detail in our full guide to dental implants. The following animation shows the full process of placing a traditional implant:
Dental costs in the UK
Now you know what is involved with fitting an implant, you can see why cheap dental implants are hard to come by. You're not only paying for high-quality materials that will last 10 or 20 years – or even a lifetime – but also for the expertise of a skilled dental surgeon who can plan and perform effective treatment.
Teeth implants in the UK cost £2,000 on average (including the abutment and crown). That's a lot of money, especially if you need more than one.
Cheap teeth implants on the NHS?
Free dental care on the NHS is only available to pregnant women, those who have recently had a baby, children up to the age of 18 and people living on low incomes receiving benefits. Patients who don't fall into one of these categories have to pay for their treatment in full privately.
In England there are three charging bands, Wales has a similar system with slightly different rates, while Northern Ireland and Scotland have a different system, with the patient being charged 80% of the dentist's fee but with a maximum price.
But this is all besides the point if you're after affordable dental implants, because this treatment is very rarely covered by the NHS. Unless there is a clear medical need for an implant, you will be offered an alternative such as a crown, bridge or denture.
Can you get free dental implants in the UK?
It is possible to get free dental implants in the UK, but it's not easy. Even if a dentist offers their services for free and doesn't apply a mark-up, the materials required still come at a cost.
First of all, watch out for misleading promotions for free dental implants. An implant consists of several parts, and a dentist may offer the implant screw for free while still charging for the abutment and crown. They will probably also apply a fee for the implant procedure, to help cover their costs. So, “free” dental implants could still end up costing thousands of pounds once completed.
However, there are a few ways to get truly free dental implants in the UK. You might be able to visit a dental school for free dental implants by students, or you may qualify for funding by a charitable organisation. You could take part in a clinical trial, or you might get lucky and win a competition.
Generally speaking, though, opportunities for free implants are few and far between. With fairly slim chances of securing the treatment completely for free, the next best option is to pay as little as possible for it.
This brings us back to the question of how to find the cheapest dental implants in the UK with private dental care.
Find more affordable implants by shopping around
Don't just accept the quote given by your regular dentist. As with any significant purchase, you should shop around to compare prices.
A dentist can't give a detailed cost estimate without first examining your mouth. This consultation may or may not be free, and of course you don't want to outlay too much money at this stage. However, you can get an idea of implant prices by contacting the surgery or checking their website.
Even dental clinics located close together can charge quite different prices for dental implants.
When you compare quotes, be sure to check exactly what is included. One dentist may appear to offer affordable dental implants – until you realise there are a ton of additional costs to pay. You should check for things like:
- Radiography (x-rays and scans)
- Preparatory surgeries
- Materials (implant, abutment and crown)
- Medication (antibiotics, painkillers, etc.)
- Follow-up visits
If you're unsure, ask your dentist to clarify what is included and what you will have to pay extra for. Only then will you be able to see whether you've found cheap teeth implants or a dentist with a sneaky quotation procedure.
Look further afield
A dentist's prices will be affected by a number of factors, including business overheads. In big cities where building rents and staff wages are higher, this will be passed on in the cost of treatment, making it less likely you'll find cheap teeth implants.
If you live in a large town or city, try travelling to the outskirts or a nearby suburban area to check if any dentists there offer more affordable implants. The inconvenience of driving a little further may well be worth it if you save yourself hundreds or thousands of pounds.
Research published by WhatClinic in 2016 shows a huge difference in prices across the country. Leicester comes in cheapest for implants, with an average price of £1,655 reported. But less than 100 miles away, in Reading, you'll be paying more than double – £3,646.
You might not want to drive quite that far for your dental appointments, but these figures show it's worth checking prices from several nearby locations.
Below are some of the other cities reported on; see the full list (including prices for checkups, root canals and veneers) here:
You may find that dentists who have recently opened a practice in your area are offering low-cost implants in order to attract new patients. Similarly, a dentist who has just started offering implants may have lower prices. Of course, you should still check they are properly qualified and ask to see examples of their work.
Do remember that you'll have to make several visits over the course of your treatment, as well as visiting for checkups afterwards. Consider factors like travel costs and time off work when deciding where to get your treatment.
To explore some of the best dentists in your area with affordable prices for implants and other treatments, choose your nearest city from the list below:
For full mouth implants consider All-on-4
If you have lost all or most of your teeth because of decay, trauma or a medical condition, you may need full mouth implants.
These, of course, can be extremely costly. If you choose traditional implants and implant-supported bridges you can expect to pay £8,000 to £21,000 per jaw.
A more affordable option is an implant-supported denture such as All-on-4. These let you replace a full jaw of teeth using as few as four implants, making them significantly cheaper than traditional methods which require 8-10 implants per jaw.
Implant solutions like All-on-4 cost between £4,000 and £14,000 per jaw on average, making them some of the cheapest dental implants in the UK for a full arch. Another benefit of All-on-4 is they can be fitted in a single visit – giving them their nickname ‘teeth in a day'.
Naturally, this method has drawbacks as well. Read all about the pros and cons of All-on-4 or similar systems before choosing it purely because of the cost benefits.
Get a dental plan
If you have health insurance with dental cover or a separate dental plan, check to see whether you can claim for some or all of your dental implant work.
Cheaper dental plans usually only cover certain treatments, including emergency dental care. Some limit their cover to work carried out by an NHS dentist.
More expensive policies often make some allowance for implants, even if they don't cover the full cost. Still, a 50% rebate can make implants much cheaper. You'll usually have to pay for treatment in full yourself and then claim back the portion allowed by your policy.
However, dental plans will usually only pay out when an implant is replacing a tooth lost in an accident, because of a medical condition, or possibly to natural causes. If you are getting implants for purely cosmetic reasons, you're unlikely to get cover from even the most generous of insurers.
Keep in mind that dental insurance policies almost always come with a waiting period for non-emergency treatment. Fortunately, there is usually not an urgent need for implants so if you have to wait three or six months after taking out insurance, it's not the end of the world. You can have a bridge or denture fitted in the meantime if you're conscious of how your teeth look.
Also remember that dental plans may not cover pre-existing problems, so check the small print carefully before signing up.
Get dental financing
Payment plans, loans and credit cards are all ways to spread the cost of dental treatment to make it more affordable. Although they don't necessarily make it any cheaper, these options all might enable you to get the work you need, sooner.
It's possible to combine dental finance with one or more of the other ideas mentioned in this article to make your dental costs much more manageable. Read more about all your finance options here.
Go abroad for cheap dental implants
Dental tourism has become a popular option for those looking for cheap tooth implants. Eastern European countries such as Hungary and Poland, plus several Asian and South American countries, offer treatments at a fraction of the price they could cost in the UK.
Don't assume that you have to compromise on quality in order to get these lower prices; you may actually find that standards are higher, equipment is more advanced, and service is better than you'd experience at home.
Travelling abroad for implants can bring substantial savings, even if you only need a single implant. If you need several implants or full mouth treatment and are looking for ways to save money, we strongly recommend you consider dental treatment abroad.
With prices 50-75% lower than in the UK, you could save yourself thousands of pounds while being treated in a state-of-the-art clinic. Plus, you get to enjoy a well-earned break. The table below gives an idea of the savings to be made by travelling to another country for dental implants or other treatment:
|Destination||Capital city||Flight time from London||Example flight cost (return)||Average cost for implant crown|
|Average price for an implant in the UK is £2,000|
|Poland||Warsaw||2 hours 20 mins||£50||£830|
|Hungary||Budapest||2 hours 30 mins||£55||£730|
|Czech Republic||Prague||1 hour 45 mins||£54||£900|
|Spain||Madrid||2 hours 25 mins||£44||£1,100|
|Prices don't include medical insurance or accommodation costs|
Visit a dental school for free or cheap implants
Another option is to go to a dental teaching hospital in the UK. These nationwide programmes allow undergraduates to gain clinical experience and education while under the close supervision of experienced dentists and dental surgeons.
Some schools offer these services free while others charge a reduced price for treatment. They are a good way to access affordable teeth implants and other dental care in the UK. Dental schools are understandably popular among people who can't afford private dental costs, though, so don't be surprised if you find yourself on a long waiting list!
It's also normal for free dental treatment at dental schools to take longer than if you visited an experienced dentist. Longer and more frequent appointments may be a small price to pay for free dental implants or whatever other work you need, though.
Appeal to a charity
Some dental clinics put a portion of their profits towards charitable work, and this may include providing free dental treatment for people who couldn't otherwise access it. Ask around some clinics in your area to see if they have any such schemes that you can register for.
If you have lost teeth as the result of an illness, consider appealing to a charity which supports people with that particular condition. Although they won't have the funds to hand out free dental implants to anyone who asks, they may be able to offer some financial help if your story strikes a chord.
Consider the alternatives
Bridges and removable dentures are the principal alternatives to implants to replace missing or removed teeth.
A dental bridge replaces one or two missing teeth with the support of healthy neighbouring teeth. You can also get an implant-supported bridge which uses two implants to replace three or four teeth in a row.
Bridges aren't as durable as implants, lasting around 10-15 years if looked after well, and there is a risk of bone loss where the missing teeth are. However, they are a good, natural-looking alternative if implants are too expensive.
Dentures, also known as ‘false teeth', can replace any number of missing teeth. A metal and plastic frame holds the artificial teeth in place. Dentures are removable and may not be as comfortable or natural-looking as the alternatives. However, they are by far the cheapest option.
If it's going to take you a while to save up for implants, you might opt for a bridge or denture in the meantime, especially if your missing tooth is in a prominent position.
Finally, you could consider mini dental implants. These can cost 50-60% less than regular ones, but they may not last as long. Usually, they are recommended when the patient has insufficient bone structure for traditional implants; not for the cost savings along.
Don't cut corners just to get low-cost implants
In your search for cheap teeth implants you may come across an offer that seems too good to be true. Well, guess what – it probably is.
Things you should avoid doing in a bid to cut costs include:
- Choosing implants made from inferior quality materials (the cheapest dental implants aren't always the best option)
- Using a dental professional who is not trained in implantology
- Overloading implants by getting fewer than you actually need
There are many good brands of implant available – too many to list here – so you should ask your dentist which brand he or she uses and then research it carefully. Some dentists offer a choice of brands at different prices. They should be quite open about the differences in quality and cost so you can make an informed decision.
Dentists who are qualified to specialise in placing implants should be registered as a prosthodontics specialist with the UK's General Dental Council. You can check the register of members here. Prosthodontists are dental professionals who have undergone special training in the placement of prosthetic teeth including crowns, dentures, bridges and implants.
The British Society of Prosthodontists (BSSPD) is another body which dentists may be members of, although this is not compulsory.
Ultimately, we're talking about surgery to place a piece of metal into your jawbone. Finding an experienced professional who doesn't cut corners will help minimise your chances of complications.
However, as you have just read, there are ways to find affordable dental implants while still doing things the right way.
- WhatClinic https://www.whatclinic.com/about/press/pdfs/Dental%20Cost%20Comparison%20UK%20-%20May%202016.pdf Consulted 23rd April 2019.
- British Society of Prosthodontics – BSSPD https://www.bsspd.org/For+Patients/Find+a+Prosthodontist.aspx Consulted 23rd April 2019.
- Dentistry https://www.dentistry.co.uk/2016/05/31/dentistry-fees-survey-results-single-tooth-implants/ Consulted 23rd April 2019.