Dental consumers sometimes think that a dentist who charges more may provide the best dental implant care. This attitude stems from the often-held belief that if something is expensive it is automatically better. I do not believe this logic is applicable in choosing from whom and where you will obtain dental implant care.
You, the potential dental consumer, should learn what exactly you are paying for, especially when you select pricy versus affordable dental implant care. You should also acquaint yourself with facts that truly identify successful outcomes of implant dental care.
Research on the outcome of using specific brands of dental implants today is largely done in university environments. Most of this research is funded by the companies, whose dental implants are being tested, creating a situation with obvious potential for conflict of interest. The majorities of these studies are very short in duration, and exist primarily to promote the new implant products benefactor companies are anxious to bring to the dental marketplace as soon as possible. These types of “self-serving” studies are of little value except for marketing.
When examining the costs of placing and restoring dental implants, it becomes apparent that the final cost of dental implant care by the dentist to you is determined in a very subjective manner. By subjective, I mean that the out-of-pocket expense for a dentist to purchase a dental implant, place it, and restore it, is largely limited to:
1. What the dentist elects to pay for materials.
2. Elective costs for direct and indirect forms of advertising decided upon by the dentist.
3. The dollar amount (click to Exhibit 2) that the dentist wants to charge for his or her time to complete a dental-implant-related service. This fee is essentially based upon what the dentist wants to make as profit. It is a feeling, not necessarily based upon competitive factors.
Additionally, as much an advocate I am for marketing, I believe consumers should be aware of hidden costs and other slick sale strategies beyond “hype” when responding to any ads, bait-and-switch strategies are common in all industries, including the dental implant field. You must research who is treating you, their experience, and their outcomes.
I believe the prudent consumer seeking dental implant care needs to educate themselves to make good decisions in choosing who to take care of them, now as well as in the future. Educated shopping is consumers’ responsibility to themselves.