This is a question asked frequently by patients who want the best possible dental care but are not always prepared to pay the price. While patients may often request dental implants, many will seek out dentists who offer this service at impossibly cheap prices, not realizing why good implant treatment is more expensive. To gain a greater market share, dental practices will advertise enticing offers for patients, promising successful placement, and understandably, many patients are interested in any option that seemingly saves money.
Good dental implant components are expensive, without factoring in additional costs such as drills, a surgical stent, impression posts and implant analogs, not to mention the cost of training to place dental implants. Some dentists will try to become more competitive by offering generic implants and abutments that can be as little as a quarter of the cost of implant components from the major manufacturers. Other ways to cut the costs of treatments include not using a surgical guide and choosing to use cheaper and lower quality dental labs.
Why Using Brand Name Implants is Preferable to Generic Implants
Although more affordable, generic implants are often an unknown quality. For example, the composition of the titanium alloy may not be specified or verified. The surface type of the implants, as well as their design and sterility, is frequently undocumented. They will not have undergone evidence-based testing and trials, and there is unlikely to be any literature on success rates and healing times. Patients could be placed at an increased risk of infections and bone loss, or poor healing. In comparison, brand name implants have been developed through years of research, producing quality results with less chance of failure. Patients gain peace of mind from knowing their dental implants are made by reputable companies so any necessary component replacements can be carried out virtually anywhere in the world.
Disadvantages of Using Stock Abutments
Stock abutments are available in several different standard sizes. For some very straightforward implant cases this might be fine but they cannot replicate the natural shape and contour of a real tooth. Custom abutments can provide superior esthetic results, better tissue management, and may make it easier for the patient to maintain good oral hygiene going forward.
Disadvantages of Not Using a Surgical Guide
A highly experienced dentist may not feel the need to use a surgical guide for every implant case, but its use can be invaluable when placing multiple dental implants or when planning a complex case. However, dentists who are trying to meet market demands for cheaper dental implants may try to cut corners, saving lab fees and time. Unfortunately, this can result in poor implant placement where it will be next to impossible for the lab to create an aesthetically pleasing crown that is fully functional. Restorations may be difficult for patients to keep clean, ultimately increasing the risk of implant failure.
Why Using a Lower Quality Dental Lab Could be a False Economy
Good lab work requires training and experience with excellent quality control. A decent dental lab will use high-quality materials produced by top manufacturers where the provenance is easily traceable. By using custom abutments, they can manufacture high-quality, precision-fitting restorations that are essential for the longevity and success of implant treatment. There is also much reassurance in knowing you can get in touch with your dental lab to discuss cases with a technical team who cares about your patient. When you use high-quality products, you gain the confidence of knowing implant surgery is more likely to proceed smoothly and restorations will be easier to fit, resulting in superior long-term results.
It can be difficult for patients to understand that a quality product will cost money and some will always go for the most affordable implant offers. Choosing cheaper implant solutions could be more expensive in the longer-term, particularly if it results in the heartbreak of implant failure. Education may help a patient understand the benefits of choosing brand name dental implants over generic components, ultimately producing a quality restoration that will give years of use.
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