In the world of dentistry today, there's a whole lot of unknown factors where dental implant costs are concerned.
When you buy a car, you want to know exactly what you're paying for - be it the car make and country of origin, OMV/COE price, or fuel-efficiency. A 4 series BMW coupe, for example, will naturally cost you much more than a Mazda sedan.
The same transparency doesn't apply to dental implant costs in Singapore:
- Why do dental implants in Singapore cost anything from $1250 - $15,000?
- What exactly are you getting for the fees you pay for your dental implant?
- How much Medisave can you claim?
This post will reveal all the insider pricing information for dental implants that only dentists know about, and help you to make a better-informed decision about dental implants in Singapore.
Before you start, you need to look for a dentist you are comfortable with.
1. How much do dental implants cost in Singapore?
Dental implant costs in Singapore range from about $4000 - $6000 in total for a routine non-complex case. Most dentists are happy to give you free cost estimates.
The fee you pay is Medisave claimable, up to a limit of $1250 for one dental implant.
The Ministry of Health website also provides a rough gauge of dental implant costs in Singapore. As of 2015, public hospitals charge $1600 - $1944 per surgical implant fixture placement, while private clinics charge $2000 - $4815.
These costs are for the implant surgery alone and do not include any associated costs as broken down for you below.
2. Dental implant surgery cost breakdown in Singapore
What are you paying for in the final price for a dental implant?
Here's an example of a bill breakdown:
$40 - $80
$80 - $120
CT scan (if required)
$350 - $500
Tooth models (if required)
$100 - $250
Surgical guides (if required)
$350 - $800
Bone grafting (if required)
$800 - $2000
Sinus lifting (if required)
$1000 - $3500
Dental implant crown
$1000 - $3000
Dental implant surgery
$2000 - $4000
$35 - $80
A surgical guide is a piece of guiding plastic that's placed in your mouth during surgery. This enables your dentist to place the dental implant in the correct angle.
Bone grafts are required when there isn't enough healthy bone to place the dental implant. The cost varies according to how much bone graft is required.
Sinus lifting is a bone-grafting procedure that increases the amount of healthy bone to place the dental implant.
3. What accounts for the difference in dental implant costs?
The cost of a single dental implant in Singapore can range from $1250 to a whopping $15,000.
As you can tell from the breakdown in 2, additional procedures can significantly increase costs (eg. whether bone grafting is needed).
Other factors which affect the total cost you pay include:
- Your expectations: do you prefer a natural-looking result over a functional "tooth replacement"
- Your dentist: a vastly experienced and skilful dentist will be significantly more expensive
- Lab fees: modelling and crafting of required dental implant materials
- Brand of dental implant: Korean vs European brands
- Pain relief: Local anaesthesia vs IV sedation vs general anaesthesia
There's no one size fits all solution for dental implant surgery.
Also read: Your Guide To Choosing the Right Dental Surgeon in Singapore (2020)
4. What's in a $1250 vs $15,000 dental implant?
Some of my patients are the perfect candidates for dental implant procedures. They have good oral health, and ideal bone and gum quality to place the dental implant. This means that dental implant surgery is straightforward and hence cheaper.
However, some patients have pre-existing problems, which often require additional costly procedures.
Do note that more expensive doesn't always mean better! It's helpful to discuss the proposed treatment plan with your dentist to understand what you are paying for.
If in doubt, don't hesitate to seek a second opinion. A different dentist may be able to tailor an alternative treatment approach according to your expectations.
5. "I'm not convinced why a dental implant surgery can cost $15,000"
An expensive dental implant case is most commonly due to the following patient factors:
- Extreme dental anxiety requiring general anaesthesia
- Complex medical/dental histories, eg: previous failed dental implant surgery or diabetes
- Long-standing missing tooth, which can result in significant bone and gum loss
- High aesthetic requirements
For example, the best crowns are made with many layers of custom colouring, so that it exactly mimics the colour, shape and texture of your neighbouring teeth.
This requires a highly skilled lab technician. Your dentist may decide to have the crown made by a world-famous ceramist based in USA/Japan/ Europe. The lab fees for this alone could cost as much as $2000 - $3000.
6. Why are some dental implants in Singapore so cheap?
The cheapest dental implants you see advertised in Singapore are usually mini-implants.
Mini dental implant surgery costs about $700 - $1500 on average. These type of surgeries are inexpensive because they are reserved for very simple cases.
Mini implants are NOT substitutes for "normal" dental implants. Conventional dental implants are much stronger as they provide a larger surface area to bond with your bone.
7. How much Medisave can I use for dental implants?
1 dental implant
8 dental implants
You can usually claim up to $1250 in Medisave for one dental implant, subject to a maximum of $7500 for 8 implants.
No dentist can guarantee the success of any Medisave claim. We can only submit the request, but the final claimable amount is still subject to approval by MOH.
To make a Medisave claim, just bring along your Singaporean Identity Card to prove that you are a Singaporean Citizen or Permanent Resident. The clinic staff will do the rest, including submitting all the necessary paperwork.
8. Are there any discounts for dental implants in Singapore?
Certain scenarios where you may be able to get some subsidies include:
- Personal accident insurance claims if your tooth is lost via an accident
- Your dental implant surgery is used as a lecture/study case
- Discretionary courtesy discounts for long-standing patients
You can always seek out a free quote estimate from a few dentists to get an idea of the costs.
I hope this post helps you to understand why there's such a big variation in dental implant costs in Singapore!
Dr Gerald Tan is a past president of the Aesthetic Dentistry Society of Singapore and Global Head, Novena Global LifeCare Dental Division and Founder of Elite Dental Group Singapore. Besides that, he has a special interest in bespoke cosmetic dentistry, dental implantology and digital smile design. In addition, he enjoys basketball, tennis and looking after his pet cockatoo in his free time.