In this economy, consumers are more cost conscious than ever before and discretionary spending is being scrutinized and prioritized, including healthcare. Since most people assume that all dental implants are the same quality and that all dentists providing dental implant treatment deliver the same level of care, many people shop for the lowest cost possible. Unfortunately, not every dentist provides quality dental implant treatment. In addition, many of the dentists promoting “bargain” implants are not using the best quality dental implants, which is frightening considering that these are medical devices being surgically implanted into human beings!
In the long run “bargain” implant treatment is not really a bargain. Numerous patients have succumbed to the advertising claims of affordability, only to find that they had to have a real specialist completely redo their treatment. Unfortunately, stories about subpar treatment and unacceptable outcomes are widespread. Many of these problems are the result of cutting corners to lower the cost of treatment. This often involves rushing through the diagnostic and treatment planning phase, which can cause problems from poorly placed or positioned dental implants, to issues with the final fit, function, and esthetics of the replacement teeth. Other compromises include utilizing cheap dental laboratories that often fabricate poor quality replacement teeth, which rarely fit properly, or the use of inexpensive, substandard dental implants and components.
Some clinicians will cut corners by placing a quality dental implant and then using components that were not made by the same manufacturer to fabricate the replacement teeth. This can create problems, since components are manufactured to precisely fit together. It should also be noted that documented success rates of dental implants in the scientific literature are based on cases where components from the same manufacturer are used. There is another potential problem if the dental implants and components are manufactured by a small company that goes out of business, making replacement components unavailable in the event that restorations need to be revised in the future.
Most surgical specialists utilize dental implant systems that have been thoroughly researched in numerous clinical studies before they are brought to market. These dental implants are not inexpensive due to the extensive research and development behind them. The surgical specialists who use these dental implants believe that all patients deserve the highest quality treatment possible and therefore, since the dental implants are more expensive than the cheaper “knock-off” implants, the treatment fees are higher than those advertised for “bargain” dental implants.
All too often, people who choose bargain dental implant treatment end up having treatment redone to correct the problems resulting from cutting corners and cutting costs. So, in the long run, it is actually more costly to proceed with cheap dental implant treatment, rather than having it done properly in the first place. Therefore, the experience of the surgical specialist and the quality of the implants being placed should be higher priorities than the cost of treatment. With implant dentistry, as with most healthcare, you get what you pay for – and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
In April and May of 2016, KGTV 10 News in San Diego reported the stories of patients answering ads for inexpensive dental implants and suffering the consequences of treatment that was not done properly. The reporter also interviewed the oral surgeons in San Diego who replaced the failed implants and provided appropriate treatment.