Editor’s Note: Please help me welcome guest contributor, Mark Jubbs specializes in writing articles for one of the UK’s leading dental implant providers - Dental Care Plus. Jubbs fills our need to include more stories involving oral health here on Medtopicwriter.
When an individual requires the replacement of broken, diseased, or decaying teeth, you have several options available including: partial dentures, a dental bridge and dental implants. Although dental implants come at a considerably higher price than other options, they offer significant advantages when compared to the traditional forms of treatment. Such advantages include improved longevity, preservation of the facial structure, and a similar level of functionality to that of natural, healthy teeth.
The complexity of the treatment, cost of component parts, and use of highly specialized dental equipment contribute to the higher costs associated with dental implant treatment. The dental surgeon must also undergo specific postgraduate training in the field of dental implantology, in addition to the standard qualification required for general dentistry.
Complexity of Dental Implant Procedures
Dental implant treatment consists of a combination of several different dental procedures. The properly trained and qualified dental surgeon possesses an exceptionally diverse range of skills, including a comprehensive knowledge of surgical procedures to provide remedial treatments to the patient’s jaw and the other soft tissues within the mouth. These restorative treatments include various types of bone augmentation and sinus lift procedures. The overall cost of treatment will increase considerably in cases that require such remedial measures.
The dental surgeon must also have knowledge of a wide selection of prosthetic components, surgical implant techniques, and continually evolving dental technologies.
The doctor will create a unique treatment plan for each patient in order to precisely meet each person’s individual needs.
Elevated Cost of Dental Implant Components
A completed dental implant includes three main component parts; the implant, abutment, and crown.
- The implant itself consists of a precisely engineered tapered threaded titanium post and represents a significant cost.
- The choice of abutment – a metal post which is attached to the implant and supports the crown – has an impact on the overall cost as it can be manufactured from of various metals including titanium, gold alloy, aluminum oxide or zirconium oxide.
- Dental implant crowns also contribute significantly to the cost and are individuality manufactured from ceramic of porcelain. The manufacturing process takes place either at a dental lab or at the dental clinic where the patient receives the treatment.
Specialized Diagnostic, Design & Manufacturing Equipment
With modern implant dentistry, the dentist utilizes CT scans to reveal the form and density of the patient’s jaw. At the relatively few implant clinics that own their own CT scanner the patient often receives the scan at a lower cost than they would get at an independent CT Scanning Service. The data provided by the scan is uploaded to a computer with specialized software installed, enabling the dental surgeon to determine the types of surgery required and create a detailed treatment plan.
Dental staff within the clinic also use other computerized dental technologies as part of the implant procedure; including Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) to precisely fabricate a surgical guide to fit securely over the patients’ teeth enabling the dental surgeon to accurately drill into the jawbone and insert the implant.
Many of the smaller independent dental implant providers outsource the manufacturing of the crown to a dental laboratory, which incurs further considerable expenses. Companies which specialize in providing dental implants will most likely own another type of CAD/CAM dental equipment used to design and mill the crown from a single piece of ceramic material enabling significant savings to be passed on to the patient.
Variation in Clinic Charges
Various implant providers charge substantially different fees for virtually identical treatments; with the most expensive dental clinics charging almost 3 times the amount as the least expensive clinics. These huge variations in fees are primarily due to the individual marketing and business strategies employed by the facility and have little impact on the quality of treatment due to stringent regulation of the dental industry.
What are your thoughts? Do the benefits outweigh the higher cost of dental implants?
Image credit: familydentistrygreenwood dot com