Cost of Treatment
The BC Dental Association (BCDA) publishes a fee guide every year in February. It is a guide, therefore some practitioners may bill above the guide, some below, and some as recommended by the guide. Our practice more often than not will charge below the fee guide, especially if more than one treatment is being performed simultaneously. Generally speaking, our practice will charge based on the value of our time and the value of the treatment being provided using the BCDA published guide as our primary guide.
Insurance Coverage for Treatment
Our experience has been that many dental insurance companies will use an older fee (older year) and a fee guide for general dentists, then take a percentage of that amount for which to base their coverage.
Interestingly, I am not aware of any dental insurance company that performs a dental exam on a patient before determining coverage. A dental exam would in practice determine what a patient’s individual’s needs are. Thus I am hard pressed to understand the logic behind what they will and will not cover. Our experience has also been that with larger employers (companies, unions, corporations, etc.) coverage is negotiated between the employer and the dental insurance provider. Unfortunately my experience has been that when I talk to patients, many claim to not have been aware of what “benefits” were negotiated on their behalf.
It is important to understand and realize that as a health care provider my job is to diagnose and recommend treatment based on my diagnosis(es).
Q: How much should my implant therapy cost?
It depends on what is needed to provide a successful long-term (i.e. beyond 5 to 10 years). Examples provided on my Dental Implants page exemplifies instances where the success of treatment may have been influenced by cost (i.e a cost savings).
Q: How long do implants last?
It depends on the health and quality of bone AND soft tissue around an implant on the day the restoration (crown, bridge, denture, etc.) was placed, as well as how well the restoration fits onto an implant(s) AND how stable the bite (occlusion) is on the restoration over time.
Explanation of “how well a restoration fits on to/into an implant” depends on:
a) Whether or not original (i.e. not third party or aftermarket) components are used.
b) Whether the restoration has been inserted passively in to the implant (if the restoration is forced to seat into an implant rather than passively then stress will be transferred to the surrounding bone, causing bone loss which is often asymptomatic and CAN go unnoticed).
c) How stable the bite (occlusion) is on the restoration. A natural tooth is connected to its surrounding bone via a periodontal ligament (PDL). This ligament has some “give” such that when we bite hard, we feel some movement in our teeth. This PDL is like a “shock absorber” and since we chew in 3 dimensions, our natural teeth take some degree of stress “side to side.” This “side to side” stress is absorbed somewhat by our ligament. An implant however does not have a ligament, and instead is directly connected (ankylosed) to bone. As such, an implant can tolerate bite forces downs its long axis (i.e. one can stand heavily on top of the restoration on an implant), but it does NOT tolerate “side to side” forces/stress. This is also why if someone grinds their teeth they should be fitted with a “bruxism appliance,” and why a crown on an implant tends to look “flatter” than a natural tooth so that lateral (side to side) forces on an implant are minimized.