More than 30 years ago, soon after I finished Dental College, I had the amazing opportunity to work side by side with the person who developed dental implants as we know them nowadays, the wonderful Professor Per-Ingvar Branemark from Sweden. Professor Branemark made quite the impression on me and since that time my entire career has been focused on Oral Surgery and Implantology. I now have Master and Doctoral degrees with advanced surgical training and have successfully placed close to 30,000 implants. I was an Adjunct Professor for 15 years in Portugal and Brazil and I have lectured and run many implant courses internationally
The perfect Implant Treatment
It is important to realise that dental implants are surgical treatments which impact on your health. Dental implants demand experience teamwork careful planning and a high level of surgical skill. Dentistry is the kind of occupation that requires two distinct components: a good scientific base and a deep understanding of human Biology and Physiology.
And so here is my first secret to be revealed: Common Sense.
Well, this is not really a secret as such I hear you say. Dental implants and oral surgery impact your health and so of course you should check very carefully anything everything that would potentially have an impact on your health and will directly interfere with your quality of life. Ok, so what? Well surely checking the credentials and experience of the surgeon and his team is the first very important step. Failure to do so may create another problem often bigger than the one we are trying to solve. It never ceases to amaze me how little research some patients put into the most important medical decisions. Like can I ask to speak to my surgeon? If a problem should arise is there help or advice at hand? What are the follow up and maintenance protocols? These are common sense questions. If ignored the results may be catastrophic and difficult or impossible to correct.
Now, welcome to the second secret: Cost V Benefit
Why are implants so crazily expensive? And why is there such variation in cost especially when I can go abroad and pay maybe half the price and take a holiday? The answer is not so difficult when we again apply common sense. We understand that placement of dental implants will impact on your health. We also realize the importance of study and how years of experience helps deal appropriately with this. You may not be aware but there are hundreds of different implant brands on the market, and the sad truth about low-cost implants is they will not achieve the healthy and predictable healing developed during decades of research. Like most things in life higher quality and scientifically proven implants cost more. This is the same with your cell phone, your car or your chosen Hotel. But with these there is no implications for your personal Health.
If you get a quotation for implant treatment, be careful to ensure you are being quoted on a like for like basis. The surgery should be performed by an experienced and highly qualified team in a practice that meets all the certified safety and health requirements. Ideally a CT scan and state of the art Dynamic navigation equipment would be used to assist in safe and predicable implant placement. The Implant itself will ideally be one of the leading brands and medically approved and certified. Post op review appointments should be set up at one week then eight-week intervals to ensure good healing and stability of the implant. This should then be restored with a quality Zirconium porcelain crown ideally made by an approved and certified dental laboratory. It is also reassuring to have ongoing Implant maintenance, hygienist visits and prompt support should any issues arise.
Then we are comparing like with like. But even then, there will be some variation between practices, let alone countries. A Hilton Hotel or a BMW in Munich may not cost the same as one in Dublin for example, but the quality should be very comparable.
The main differences between countries may be related to local taxation specifically for importation, indemnity insurance, staff and other practice costs. These costs will vary from country to country, but not massively for top top-class work.
I have treated many thousands of patients over more than three decades and trust me, most of them were not rich people. The best advice I can give you is, if you cannot afford an excellent dental implant at this moment then it is best not to do it at all. Instead consider another simpler option (we have plenty) and when you eventually go for the implant treatment go for the best one, safely, supported, protected.
Dr Wilson Grigolli, DMD – PhD.