The number one question on Google Trends reference dental implants is cost. After a few seconds of searching around it is quite easy to see why. I found a ten fold variance in estimated cost from £320 to £3000.
I will not get involved in how good or bad these implants are. I am sure there are some fantastically good inexpensive implants out there and some expensive disasters. All I want to do is clear up some of the cost issues and clarify some information on the websites out there is cyberspace.
1. “Not all implants/dentists/patients are the same”.
2.The premium priced implants will usually belong to the large companies such as Astra, Straumann and NobelBiocare etc. these companies pioneered almost all the research and development of implants and have excellent global support and after-care. The less expensive systems can involve generic copies and clones specific to only certain countries. Product quality and customer support for these products can be variable and some would be illegal to use in the EU.
3.Beware of overstated claims of success that exceed the published research. As a rule of thumb in an ideal world 10 year success should be around the 90% mark at best.
4. You will need to differentiate between a clinic that does implants and a dentist who does implants. How long has the dentist worked at that practice and how many days a month are they there to deal with any problems. There is a running joke in the profession which goes ” If you want super high success rates and no complications then move your practice every 18 months. Success improves even more if you move country”. There are a lot of advantages in seeking out a stable practice enviroment because implants throw up a lot of complications especially after 5 years in place, you don’t want to find your dentist has moved on.
5. It’s not how many implants you can place in a patient’s mouth but how few will get the job done well. I have seen patients with 11 implants where 2 would have done an equally good job. Make sure all sensible alternatives to implants have been discussed and potential complications and additional expenses covered.
6.Make sure you treatment plan makes sense and get a second or third opinion and research the subject very carefully.
7. A polo pony breeder once told me ” A polo pony is expensive and a bad polo
pony is even more expensive.” Correcting implant mistakes can become a very expensive excercise. Remeber the saying “Act in haste and repent a leisure”.
8. It might sound obvious but the more a practice focusses on implants as a treatment option the less they will focus on alternatives. The alternatives may have the same success rates but with less cost and be less invasive .
9. If you chose to go overseas for any dental surgery are you prepared to go back if there are complications. Consumer protection may be different then here in the UK.
All that glitters is not gold and all thats gold doesn’t necessarily glitter – be careful.