Many people are quite rightly concerned about the cost of replacing missing teeth and specifically the cost of dental implants. Implants are often the preferred choice for many reasons (Please see our previous blog post) and so this is often the focus of attention. In this blog post we will address the key concerns about the cost of dental implants, look at what a few other people say about the costs and consider what your options could be to keep costs as low as possible.
The first thing to consider is the constituent parts of the dental implant. If we understand how the cost is made up of each individual component of the dental implant we can begin to work out which ones cost the most and which ones we can look to replace to keep costs down.
What are the constituent parts of the cost of a dental implant?
The cost of a dental implant is made up of the following components:
- The dental implant surgeons time involved in initial assessments, diagnostic, planning and communications stages with the dentist and laboratory.
- Continuing training and education for the implant surgeon and team on the latest techniques, ideas and materials to replace missing teeth.
- The precision made dental implant components which are manufactured to tolerances of a few microns.
- The restoration which goes on top of the dental implant. This is the Crown/bridge/denture, the part which you will see manufactured by a dental technician.
- After-care and postsurgical appointments to ensure that the phase continues as required and that the implant remains healthy and infection free.
- Ongoing dental healthcare appointments. Your dental implant needs to be looked after the same as a natural tooth.
Dental implants are custom-made dental devices which are made exclusively for your own use. Each bespoke implant will only ever fit one individual person and it is this time and effort in customising this precision made piece of engineering to your own requirements that adds to the cost.
Making dental implants cheaper.
It is possible to cut down on some of these costs, for example you could have a dental implant placed by someone with not so much experience. Their time would then be cheaper. You can also request cheaper dental implant components however, you may find that these cheaper components are not made to the same tolerances as more expensive implants and could be more prone to failure.
Using a cheap dental laboratory is also a possibility. However, cheaper dental laboratories may not use such good quality components in the manufacture of their restorations and may spend less time. This could result in a lower quality product which doesn’t look as good.
What is the cost of the dental implant?
This is a difficult question to answer, it depends upon how many you need and exactly what your own situation is, however a typical dental implant works out normally from £2500.
Deciding to travel overseas for dental implants.
With the advent of modern information technology it has become easier to research different ways to replace missing teeth. Unfortunately many patients have decided that the solution to the problem of reducing costs is to go overseas the dental implants. The National Health Service has created their NHS choices website which has plenty of information about travelling overseas for dental implants, they quote:
“You may not get all the information or reassurance you would normally get from your dentist at home” – Damien Walmsley, professor of restorative dentistry at the University of Birmingham
The General Dental Council also have excellent information about the cost of dental implants and travelling abroad, here’s a list of the recommendations they make with our own comments.
1. Who is going to undertake my treatment and what experience/education do they have?
One of the most important aspects with any type of invasive dental treatment is the amount of trust you have in your surgeon. Not only must they be a nice person and you should like them but you need to be sure they have adequate qualifications. Here in the UK the General Dental Council have a specialist register for dentists that have undergone a Masters level degree and joined the specialist register for periodontics which will qualify them to place dental implants. For this reason in our opinion the best person who should place your implant is a periodontist (gum specialist) with experience. Before having dental implants in the UK we recommend that you check the register to find a local dentist, preferably working with a periodontist… If you’re going abroad do they offer the same high level of trust and assurance? Periodontists do gum surgery and understand gums very well. They will get the best gum contour around your implant and this will get you the best aesthetics result so that the gum around your implant looks good and as a result make your implant look very natural.
2. What references and reviews do you have from patients??
It is highly recommended that you ask the dental practice that you’re going to visit a list of patient reviews and testimonials. These reviews would give you an idea as to the type of treatments the practice is able to carry out an what patients may think about such treatment. The dental practice website should have these reviews or you may perhaps want to look at their patient testimonials on their YouTube channel. Here is ours.
3. What regulatory body exist in your country and are you registered with them??
In order to practice dentistry in the United Kingdom every dentist, including those that place implants must be registered with the General Dental Council. Each practice must also conform to the guidelines and protocols as laid out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), this ensures your standard of care meets defined standards, especially with cross infection control and your ability to feedback to the dentist any concerns. If you’re travelling overseas to have dental implants does your dentist have to register with a professional body? Who is going to hold them accountable for the treatment? And most importantly, if they are registered with a professional body is that registration compulsory?
4. What happens about paying for additional flights, hotels and costs if I am not happy with treatment?
As we have already mentioned a dental implant is a bespoke dental device and as such may not be perfect the first time. The dental implant itself is manufactured in a precision way and will not be seen however, the dental restoration which goes on top (crown, bridge or denture) will be bespoke made by a dental technician. Precise matching with the shape, contour and colour of the surrounding teeth and/or opposing teeth is vital in order to ensure that the completed restoration functions, performs and looks as good as possible.
With the greatest intention in the world this does not always go right first time. You may be required to visit the dental practice a couple of times for minor modifications in order to get the restoration looking perfect. If this happens and you have travelled overseas you may incur considerable additional costs, what happens to these?
5. Do you have complaints system in place? And can I see a copy of it?
Part of compliance with the CQC, which is compulsory in the UK, is to have a robust complaints procedure. This ensures that you have the means to complain to your dentist if things don’t go right, they then have an obligation to follow-up this complaint. The CQC audit these complaints in the UK and ensure that the procedures are strictly adhered to. If you travel abroad for your dental implants will you get the same level of compliance? Who is going to monitor any complaints? Who will ensure that any complaints are followed up? Here is our full audit with the CQC.