Dental implants are a popular option to replace missing teeth, and the market continues to grow by the day. Here’s a closer look at how fast the market for implants is growing and what kind of coverage Delta Dental offers.

What are implants?

Implants are artificial tooth roots inserted into the bone of the jaw or skull to provide a permanent base for fixed, replacement teeth. Archeologists have found rudimentary implants — tooth-like pieces of bamboo, shells and metal lodged into human jawbones — some dating as far back as 4,000 years ago. Modern dental implants have come a long way since then, particularly since the 1957 discovery that incorporating titanium allows an implant to fuse with bone.

An illustration shows the structure of a dental implant being placed in a jaw.

Why are implants such a popular choice?

Missing teeth are a common problem. The majority of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth, and by age 74 more than a quarter of adults have lost all their permanent teeth.

About 3 million people in the U.S. have dental implants, and another 500,000 implants are placed each year, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.

Implants are an appealing option because they closely resemble real teeth. They’re also permanent and comfortable, and they slow down the bone loss associated with losing a tooth. Unlike traditional dentures, implants aren’t removed for overnight soaking or cleaning, and they don’t require adhesives or anchoring to healthy teeth. Dental implant placement has a 95% success rate with minimal risks or associated complications.

Implant trends

One of the strongest factors affecting growth in the implant industry is the aging demographic in the United States. The Census Bureau estimates that by 2030, people aged 65 and older will outnumber those aged 18 and under. Since tooth loss is more prevalent in older populations, demand for implants is increasing.

An increasing number of dentists have therefore begun integrating dental implant procedures into their practices. A recent market study showed that around 31% of all dental implants placed in 2020 were done by general practitioners rather than specialists, a significant increase from the days when primarily specialists performed implant procedures and a rate which is expected to grow steadily over the coming years.

The growth of group practices and dental service organizations is also expected to drive the cost of implants down and the popularity up, since group practices can make the procedures more affordable and accessible for their patients. Overall, despite the recent slowdown caused by COVID-19, the US market for implants is expected to grow to exceed $1.5 billion in 2027.

What kind of implant coverage does Delta Dental offer?

Implants are an attractive option, but they can be an expensive one for patients. Costs vary, but implants can cost up to $3,000 to $5,000 per implant. It’s one of the reasons enrollees value implant coverage so highly.

Delta Dental offers implant coverage for both groups and individuals:

  • Group-sponsored Delta Dental PPO™ plans vary and may include implant coverage.
  • Groups with DeltaCare® USA coverage can choose the i‑series plans for comprehensive implant coverage.
  • For individuals, the Delta Dental PPO Premium Plan covers implants at 50%, after a 12-month waiting period.

Your clients will feel confident knowing that Delta Dental implant coverage was named Best Overall Dental Insurance for Implants for 2022 by Investopedia.

Covered benefits typically include implants, abutments, implant crowns, retainers (either abutment-supported or implant-supported), removal of implant, maintenance procedures, recement and repairs. Parts of an implant may be covered under prosthodontic coverage, such as the crown, bridge or denture supported by the dental implant itself. Some plans may include waiting periods, maximums and deductibles for implants, and not all plans cover pre-existing conditions such as missing teeth.

Since the many cost factors, such as consultations, x‑rays and anesthesia, may be confusing for members, Delta Dental provides a pre-treatment estimate that details what’s covered. Encourage members to ask their dentist to request a pre-treatment estimate from Delta Dental.

The demand for implants continues to grow every day. In this competitive job market, offering coverage can make all the difference in giving your clients the edge to attract top talent, and it’s also a benefit that individuals seek out and value when selecting a dental plan. With Delta Dental, your clients can find affordable, highly rated implant coverage.