Most of us like to consider ourselves savvy shoppers. We go online and research. We ask friends and family what products they like and how much the items should costs. We compare prices and do our best to make smart shopper decisions. Not so hard when we need AA Eveready batteries for a TV remote. Or we want a box of Honey Nut Cheerios. Or we need to replace our favorite jeans and know the size, color, and style number of the ones that are just too worn out to wear again. But, there are other purchases we make that are not as cut and dry and are not best explored by seeking the ‘best price around’. Our hairstylist may charge a bit more than another stylist for their haircuts; our gym membership may be more than the gym down the road. Oftentimes our decisions are based not merely on the dollar cost, but the value we place on the product or the value placed on the provider of the services we receive.
One of our most challenging decisions, and the most important, is how we invest in our health. We cannot compare our healthcare needs to another’s; we cannot compare our unique concerns, questions, and health-related issues to another’s, and we cannot compare what our expectations are in a healthcare provider to another’s. So, when it comes to making a decision that impacts our personal well-being and our day-to-day lives, it comes down to doing some homework and accepting the fact that the bottom line may not be the best or only factor to explore.
Patients frequently call and ask our Colony Square Dental Associates front office team: How much is a filling? A crown? A bridge? A dental implant? All good and fair questions. After all, one needs to know if the service is affordable based on their personal finances. But, unlike the AA Eveready batteries, how do you know that you need a filling? How many surfaces require restoration? What type of crown do you need and from what type of material will it be fabricated? Is a core buildup or a post & core needed? Is a bridge the best treatment option? Are extractions needed? Are you a candidate for a dental implant? Is there sufficient bone to support the implant? Is bone grafting or a sinus lift necessary? Not questions that can be answered in a phone call.
So, for example, you ask – How do I know how much dental treatment, such as dental implants, cost? And, of course, there is an answer; but one you can only obtain after a consultation with the treating dentist. Like your haircut, the answer will vary from office to office. Some differences will be due to the possibility that one dentist’s approach to the development of your treatment plan differs from another’s. Some differences will be due to different services incorporated in your plan of care and their associated fees. And other differences are related to each office’s determination of the fee structure that is developed to offer that office’s quality of care, as well as the healthcare provider’s training, experience, and expertise.
COMPARING DENTAL IMPLANT QUOTES
With the stipulation that an in-person visit to those dentists you’ve researched is imperative, there are several services you may see on your treatment plan that are in common from one office to another. Those may include fees related to: determining whether you are a candidate for dental implants, the fees for diagnostic workups prior to implant placement, dental implant placement – the surgical procedure and the associated dental implant abutments and dental implant crowns – the final restorations. While each patient’s situation is unique, treatment estimates could include:
- X-rays – pre and post-operative
- CBCT Scan
- Diagnostic imaging
- Bone grafting / Healing membrane(s) / Sinus lift(s)
- Dental implant placement or multiple implants
- Custom Abutment(s)
- Dental implant crowns
- Post-operative evaluations
But, the caveat is that each treatment plan is based on the dentist’s determination of the patient’s needs. So, when attempting to compare costs, a phone call to ask for a ‘price on the phone’ will not provide you with the needed information. As a consumer, making a most important decision – related to one’s health, it is incumbent upon you to evaluate the dentist’s training and qualifications, schedule a consultation with the dentist to discuss their recommendations and associated fees, and a breakdown of the dentist’s plan of care that delineates the components of the plan. Ultimately, there will also be a value, though not one with an associated dollar amount that can be put on paper, on the trust and confidence inspired by the dentist when exploring your options.
SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION
Dr. David G. Hochberg has been providing his patients, as well as the patients of referring dentists, dental implant treatment options for over 35 years. Trained in both the surgical and restorative phases of dental implants, he also served as the past president of the American Academy Implant Dentistry. To learn more about your oral health investment, call us at 404-874-6464 to schedule a consultation.