All-on-4® Treatment Concept Cost?
Temecula Facial Oral Surgery — Oral Surgeon Dmitry Y. Tsvetov, DDS, MD
Cost of an All-on-4® procedure? Done cheap vs. Done right!
The All-on-4® Treatment Concept procedure, short as All-on-4®, also known as “teeth-in-a-day” is becoming a frequent and popular treatment option for patients. The procedure allows one to replace all decayed/failing teeth in upper or lower jaw with dental implants and a dental bridge all in one day.
The subject of cost frequently comes up and becomes an issue for the patients trying to decide where to have the procedure done and whether to have it done at all.
Does one go through the procedure at a place that charges more or at a place that charges less? The answer is not as straightforward as you think, and this article will explore this question in detail.
Why does All-on-4® procedure cost more at some offices and less in others? The reasons are:
THEY USE IMPLANTS OF INFERIOR QUALITY
There are many implant companies that make implants. Some implants are brand names, and others are well…cheap knock-offs of brand name implants. Using cheaper knock-off implants allows the doctor to decrease his cost during the procedure, often to the detriment of the patient if substandard knock-off implants are used.
THEY USE CHEAP DENTAL LABS AND CHEAP MATERIALS
Dental labs are an integral part of the process. There are only a handful of reputable dental labs around the country that have a wealth of experience making bridges for this procedure and utilize precision-crafted processes and equipment to provide optimal outcomes for the patients. Just like all implants are not created equal, all dental labs are not created equal either. In order to save costs, a dentist may choose to use a cheaper dental lab, but again, at what cost to the patient?
THEY DO NOT USE PRE-SURGICAL COMPUTER PLANNING AND DO NOT MAKE SURGICAL GUIDES
For a complex procedure such as All-on-4® why not take advantage of the use of technology, especially if it is readily available? Yes, it costs more for the doctor to pre-plan the case on the computer and to have the surgical guides made that allow for precise surgery on the bone and implant placement. If a doctor is trying to cut corners and save money, they may not be willing to spend extra to make use of that technology. But it is without a doubt (and many medical studies prove it) that even the most experienced surgeons greatly benefit from having surgical computer-generated drill guides. The surgical outcomes are better and the overall benefit to the patient is better.
THEY ARE NOT CONCERNED ABOUT COMPLICATIONS/FOLLOWUP
Ever heard a saying “You get what you pay for”? Well, it is especially true in this case. I’ve had a number of patients who had the procedure done at other offices come back to my office for the treatment of complications. The office that placed implants in the first place is either no longer in business (these places usually exist for 2-3 years and then close shop) or the doctor keeps telling them that everything is fine and there is nothing to worry about.
So at the end of the day, ask yourself a question: Do you want things done cheap, or do you want things done right? A vast majority of patients on a budget want to have things done right the first time. Here at Temecula Facial Oral Surgery we use brand-name dental implants, partner with nation-leading dental labs for both pre-surgical computer planning of the case and for subsequent making of the bridge restoration. And we stand by our work. We hope you consider us if and when you need our help with your All-on-4® procedure.
Two Quick Thoughts on All-on-4®
“You get what you paid for” and “Timing is Everything”
I wanted to share two quick stories with you regarding the All-on-4® procedure. Just to recap, the All-on-4® procedure involves replacing the failed or missing teeth in one jaw with implants and a permanent dental bridge. It’s a procedure that has been done for the past 20 or so years, and has made a tremendous positive impact on the lives of many patients. For more information about the All-on-4® procedure please see our previous blog posts as well as our Temecula Facial Oral Surgery YouTube Videos.
I wanted to present two quick situations that recently occurred in my office to underscore the importance of two things: First—The importance of not delaying the procedure . Second—If you do the procedure, making sure you don’t let the cheapest price or “best deal” guide your decision on where to get the procedure done.
Lets look at both of these a little bit closer. First example is a patient that came into my office two years ago. She had failing upper teeth due to gum disease and multiple dental infections. At the time she was definitely a candidate for All-on-4® procedure. We discussed the treatment options at length, but since she did not want a denture, we decided that All-on-4® was the way to go. The patient decided to wait to get the procedure done. When I saw her again recently, the dental infection has spread deeply into the jawbone, destroying the jawbone in the process. Now, there is no way to do the All-on-4® procedure using traditional implant placement. She needs to have special zygomatic or cheekbone implants which are a lot more challenging to do and needless to say a lot more expensive.
Second example is a patient that had a consultation for the All-on-4® procedure in my office a few months ago. She also had a few other consultations at different offices for the same issue. She finally settled on getting the All-on-4® procedure done south of the border. She was promised she will get permanent teeth done in one day and that it will only take two visits. Well, she got the procedure done, but only half of the implants were placed and she was told that she now has to wear dentures for a full year before they can continue with the treatment. Needless to say, she is not very happy with the outcome. Yes, she paid less, way less south of the border, but did she get what she was promised or what she wanted? No, I think she ended up “getting what she paid for”, just like the old proverb says.
So just to summarize—when it comes to All-on-4® procedure, many things are important, including timing and price. First–timing is important because if you have the jawbone to place the implants now, does not mean that you will have the jawbone or still be a candidate some time later. In fact, if the bone disintegrates, you may end up getting a more complex procedure and end up paying more. Second, you really do get what you pay for, so please do not let the price be the ultimate deciding factor in where you get the procedure done. As we know, cheaper is not necessarily better, and you may not be satisfied with the outcome if you let the treatment price influence your decision.