Veterans Can Lower Dental Implant Costs 55% to 74%

Many veterans struggle to afford dental implants after leaving the military. Missing teeth or poorly fitting dentures can impact quality of life.

What if there were a way to reduce costs by 55% to 74%? Free dental treatment from the VA or a charitable foundation is not guaranteed.

This article provides clear proof of how to reduce these costs.

Critical Points

  • The Veterans Administration offers free dental work to 8% of applicants.
  • Implant manufacturers offer free appliances, but the eligibility rules are unclear.
  • The remaining veterans who do not qualify for free care must seek alternatives.
  • Many veterans can enroll in federal dental plans offering comprehensive coverage.
  • One carrier combines affordable rates and critical features for dental implants.

FEDVIP Dental Implant Costs

The Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) can lower dental implant costs by 55% to 74% for most veterans and their families. Follow along as we break down the critical factors, narrow down the choices, and do the math.

Retired Service Members

Many veterans are eligible to enroll in FEDVIP, which can lower dental implant costs significantly. Retired uniformed service members, active duty family members, and survivors meeting specific criteria qualify.

Before enrolling in a FEDVIP option during the open season, which runs from mid-November to mid-December, review the critical features to choose the plan and carrier that offer the most significant cost reduction.

Seven carriers offer two plan choices nationwide.

  1. The standard option has restrictive benefits that are typically unsuitable for implants.
  2. The high option has more comprehensive benefits and is better suited for implants.

Follow our analysis step-by-step to ensure you are making the optimal choice.

No Missing Tooth Exclusion

Only FEDVIP offerings without a missing tooth exclusion can deliver the lowest-cost dental implants for most veterans. These legal statements deny benefits for teeth removed before coverage begins.

Dental insurance without a missing tooth exclusion is scarce. Edentulous (toothless) patients won’t find a better deal outside FEDVIP.

Our reading of the official benefits statements indicates that five carriers do not have missing tooth exclusions, while two do. Therefore, we eliminate two from our list of ideal choices.  

No ExclusionHas Exclusion
Blue Cross Blue ShieldAetna
GEHADelta Dental
United Concordia 
United Healthcare 

Highest Annual Maximum

The FEDVIP offerings with the highest annual benefit maximum deliver the lowest-cost dental implants for veterans. The yearly maximum is the total amount the plan will pay for a member’s dental care within 12 months.

The annual benefit maximum is a crucial plan feature because the cost of dental implants often dwarfs these limits. For instance, consider this example of a plan with a $2,500 annual maximum.

Median CostMember Responsibility
Multi-tooth bridge$8,000$5,500
Full-mouth replacement$60,000$57,500

Our reading of the official benefits statement indicates that you can cross two additional carriers from the list of ideal choices because they have restrictive annual maximums. 

CarrierIn-Network Annual Maximum
Blue Cross Blue ShieldUnlimited
Delta DentalUnlimited
United Concordia$2,500*
United HealthcareUnlimited
*These plans restrict implant benefits, while other services have no upper bounds.

Lowest Coinsurance

The FEDVIP offerings with the lowest coinsurance percentage make dental implants more affordable for veterans. Coinsurance is the patient’s share of the covered expense or allowed amount.

The coinsurance percentage is more impactful for patients needing full-mouth replacement than those restoring a single tooth. Even a tiny percentage difference adds up for the most expensive restorations.

Median Cost50% Coinsurance65% Coinsurance
Single Tooth$3,500$1,750$2,275
Multi-tooth bridge$8,000$4,000$5,200
Full-mouth replacement$60,000$30,000$39,000

Our reading of the official benefits statement indicates that you can cross one more carrier from the list of ideal choices because their coinsurance is higher. We now have two survivors. 

CarrierIn-Network Coinsurance
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS)50%
Delta Dental65%
United Concordia50%
United Healthcare (UHC)50%

In-Network Providers

Veterans can further reduce dental implant costs by choosing a nearby prosthodontist participating in-network with at least one of the two surviving FEDVIP contestants.

In-network providers offer significant discounts, and the plans typically impose higher out-of-pocket expenses if you choose an out-of-network provider.

Allowed Amount Discount

In-network providers agree to accept the allowed amount as full payment. The allowed amount is a lower wholesale rate negotiated by the issuing company, providing a significant discount (50% is typical) compared to retail charges.

A 50% discount on the allowed amount, followed by a plan covering 50% of the discounted rate (coinsurance), results in the patients paying 25% of the original retail charge.

Your gross savings could reach 75% off the retail price!

Retail ChargeAllowed Amount*50% CoinsuranceGross Savings
Single Tooth$3,500$1,750$875$2,625
Multi-tooth bridge$8,000$4,000$2,000$6,000
Full-mouth replacement$60,000$30,000$15,000$45,000
*Carriers do not disclose the allowed amount publically.

Nearby Participating Dentists

Finding an in-network prosthodontist near your home is more affordable than one in a distant town. Travel expenses can add up quickly.

You can save money on gas, tolls, and fast food meals by choosing a provider in your neighborhood. Dental implants often involve multiple treatments, not just one.

  • Tooth extractions
  • Bone grafting
  • Body placement
  • Abutment insertion
  • Crown installation

Find an in-network provider from the carrier websites.

Monthly Premiums

The FEDVIP offerings are not free. Veterans must pay the monthly premiums after tax unless they work as civilians in the federal government. These monthly charges factor into your net costs for dental implants.

Monthly Rates

A quick comparison shows that one carrier has cheaper rates in all regions, narrowing our list to one potential finalist: Blue Cross Blue Shield. BCBS should be your choice if they have a solid provider network near your home.

Rating AreaBCBSUHC

Cost to Benefit

All of the FEDVIP offerings have no waiting period for dental implants, meaning you can begin treatment right after the coverage starts in January. This universal feature allows straightforward financial comparisons between plans based on their costs and benefits.

Suppose you complete the process in one year, making twelve monthly premium payments of $59 (the highest rate BCBS charges), totaling $708.

Retail ChargeGross SavingsNet Savings*Percentage**
Single Tooth$3,500$2,625$1,91755%
Multi-tooth bridge$8,000$6,000$5,29266%
Full-mouth replacement$60,000$45,000$44,29274%
* Gross savings minus $708 in annual premiums
** Net savings divided by retail charges

Enroll in the BCBS FEP Dental coverage now that you see how we arrived at the 55% to 74% savings figures and eliminated the other contenders.

VA Dental Implant Costs

Dental implant costs vary considerably across three Veterans Administration (VA) programs. One initiative offers significant help to a small percentage of retired service members, while the other two offer limited assistance.

VA Dental Care

A select group of Veterans may get free tooth implants through the VA Dental Care program – even when their teeth are already missing. However, the criteria are strict, and only about 8% of applicants qualify.

Apply for VA Dental Care if you fit into one of the listed categories.

  • Have a service-connected dental disability
  • A former prisoner of war
  • Have a service-connected disability rated 100%
  • Unemployable due to a service-connected disability
  • Other qualifiers lead to limited oral care


The VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP) does not offer significant cost reductions for tooth implants compared to the FEDVIP offerings. The two VADIP plans offer lesser benefits without a discounted price.  

You can apply for VADIP if you are enrolled in the VA health care or a family member participates in the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the VA (CHAMPVA).

VADIP might be a sensible choice for those with long-term general dental needs living in Region 4 because the premiums are lower in this one area than the FEDVIP options.

Lesser Benefits

The VADIP benefits are unsuitable for dental implants but might work well for ongoing preventive care. Below is a summary of the disqualifying features for the two highest-price options.  

VADIP Delta DentalVADIP Met Life
Missing tooth exclusionYesYes
Annual maximum$3,0003,500

Discounted Premiums

The VADIP website claims to offer discounted premiums. However, this assertion does not hold up to scrutiny.

Compare the “discounted” VADIP premiums to the FEDVIP recommendation from above. The rates are lower in Region 4 only!

Rating AreaBCBS FEPDelta Dental VADIP

Region 4 comprises Colorado, Idaho, and parts of Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.  


The Veterans Administration recently launched a pilot program in New York and New Jersey called the VETSmile program. However, the small geographic area means few can take advantage.  

The VETSmile program collaborates with compassionate dental care providers willing to provide free or low-cost care. So far, the VA has identified two dental schools where students hone their skills under the supervision of trained faculty.

  1. New York University (NYU) College of Dentistry
  2. Rutgers School of Dental Medicine

Manufacturers Helping Vets

Several dental implant manufacturing companies promote low-cost or free appliances for military veterans. Unfortunately, we cannot estimate the percentage of applicants they serve, as the criteria are unclear.

However, we offer advice on how to qualify. Remember the manufacturers’ business interests as you choose a provider and complete the application.

These programs have a dual purpose: providing veterans benefits while offering business advantages. They want to expand their market share and strengthen relationships with dental practitioners and dealers.

Smile Veteran

The American Academy of Implant Dentistry Foundation (AAID) runs the Smile, Veteran program, which offers to replace missing teeth at little or no cost.

The AAID Foundation partners with a corporate sponsor, ZimVie, a surgical and medical instrument company that manufactures dental implant appliances.

Both AAID and ZimVie benefit by supporting the Smile, Veteran program.

  • Only AAID-certified dentists receive free appliances from ZimVie, encouraging more providers to join the association and pay member dues.
  • ZimVie introduces their products to prosthodontists who might begin ordering from them with other patients.
  • The veteran patient application form permits AAID to use your personal and medical information for public relations and promotional materials.

Therefore, choose a prosthodontist with a robust practice, and make sure your uniform still fits. You want to look good in those before and after publicity photos!

Smiles for Vets

Biotech Dental USA promotes the Smiles for Vets program, which provides free implants and abutments for any procedure performed on a former armed services member.

Biotech Dental manufactures implant prosthetic devices. Their philanthropy helps to increase brand awareness and sales through dental professionals and dealers.

The Smiles for Vets application form reveals how Biotech Dental benefits by supporting the program by giving away free hardware.

  • It asks how many implants the provider placed in the last year.
  • It asks for the name of the dentist’s preferred dealer.
    • Atlanta Dental
    • Benco Dental
    • Burkhart Dental
    • Patterson Dental

Choosing a prosthodontist with a high volume of implant procedures could indirectly benefit Biotech Dental’s business by potentially increasing the use of its products.