How Much is a Tooth Worth?

To preface a tooth is only worth as much value as you put into it, but that is beside the point. But if you asked the tooth fairy how much a baby tooth is worth the answer is $3.70, but that was back in 20181. So, if you account for inflation a baby tooth is worth $3.88 dollars today.

That number could pale in comparison to the cost of a permanent tooth, the one that comes in after a baby tooth is lost.

Humans can afford to lose a back tooth or two, but after that the damage from undue stress placed on the remaining teeth can be cataclysmic.

Now if you lose a tooth at the front of your smile, how much is that worth? Maybe this is where the phrase ‘A Million Dollar Smile’ comes into play. But if you lose too many of your back teeth, that can affect your front teeth. As mentioned above, if too many back teeth are missing damaging forces can destroy your million dollar smile up front2.

Let’s get back to the question of how much is a tooth worth and we will go with the worst case scenarios, which usually do occur.

Scenario: You have a tooth that needs a filling but you decide to put off that filling for one reason or the other.

  1. You wake up in the middle of the night with a toothache: Root Canal to save the tooth ~$1000
  2. The tooth now requires a crown to help protect the root canal that saved the tooth ~$1500

Now all is well on the outside, the tooth no longer has a nerve and it is protected with a crown. But if you refer to our post “How Long Will My Crown Last” by Andrew Otto, you will see that crowns only last for an average of 15 years 50% of the time.

If that root canal and/or crown fails you will be faced with either a retreat of the whole process or extracting the tooth and placing an implant to restore the area.

  1. Let’s say the extraction costs ~ $250 on average
  2. Then the fun part of getting an implant placed ~$1000-3000
  3. But wait that implant needs bone grafting and a new crown, another ~$1000-3000

Add up all those costs and you’re footing about a $8750 bill, and that could be on the low end. The price boils down to how important your teeth are to you. Do you value being able to eat all kinds of different foods? Would it affect you if people changed the way they think of you if they see missing teeth?

Summary: The moral of this story is to reiterate the point as to how important it is to take care of your teeth. This may explain why dentists want to push you to do everything they can to help you save your teeth. Small investments in your teeth such as brushing, flossing, avoiding sugary foods and drinks, and taking care of those fillings you may need can save you a literal boatload on down the line. If you have any questions about what you can do to help keep your teeth as healthy as possible and for as long as possible, reach out to your dentist!

  1. Tyko, Kelly. “How Much Does the Tooth Fairy Pay for a Lost Tooth? It May Depend on What’s in Your Wallet.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 22 Aug. 2019, http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/08/22/national-tooth-fairy-day-2019-heres-going-rate-lost-tooth/2075890001/. 
  2. Shugars, D. A., Bader, J. D., Phillips, S. W., Jr, White, B. A., & Brantley, C. F. (2000). The consequences of not replacing a missing posterior tooth. Journal of the American Dental Association (1939)131(9), 1317–1323. https://doi.org/10.14219/jada.archive.2000.0385

The Author of this post does not assume any liability for any injury and/or damage to persons or property as a matter of products liability, malpractice, negligence, or otherwise, or from any use or operation of any methods, instructions or ideas contained. The foregoing parties will not be liable for any direct, special, indirect, incidental, consequential, or punitive damages as a result of the reader’s use of this information.

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