Today’s breakthroughs in dental implant technology have driven down the cost to manufacture and made them stronger than ever. But 15 years ago, just the parts could cost your dentist over $1000 per tooth and the dentist has to make money on the procedure so a single tooth could cost thousands! Today that same implant is stronger, lasts longer, can be computer modeled to match your exact shade and color and cost the dentist only $1501.
The Old Dental Implant Industry
In the early 2000s, the implants your dentist would purchase could cost $600 for the implant, $300 for stock abutments, and $50 for a healing abutment. The implant manufacturers would even charge $50 for a single screw cover. $50 sounds crazy for the cost of a single screw.
Then at the same time, dentists don’t work for free and have to make money on the procedure so they could have charged a patient close to $2500 per tooth! How’s it possible for anyone to afford that? The average human mouth has 32 teeth so can you imagine it would cost over $80,000 to get your whole mouth done?
It makes sense dental implants were not a popular choice 20 years ago. Dentists were just not in a good place in 2001 – they wanted to help their patients but the cost of the actual implants were so high and they need to make money on the procedure so it just wasn’t affordable for most people. Unless you were wealthy and willing to shell out $80,000 for a full set of dental implants, you’d be out of luck.
Driving Down Costs
In 2004, a dentist by the name of Dr. Niznick began working on a new dental implant company, where he would make high-quality products, including clones of many products from the big companies, but at a fraction of the cost. The “Zimmer system” dentists refer to today was originally developed Dr. Niznick as the screw-vent internal hex implant.
He launched his company in 2006 and it changed the industry by offering the complete implants to dentists for $100 – the implant, stock abutment, impression analog, and cover screw1. And as classic economic theory on pricing would dictate, other implant manufacturer’s sales began struggling at higher prices and naturally the higher-priced manufactures were forced to lower their prices as well.
So who benefits the most from the disruption? The dentists and the patients. Dentists could finally lower the implant prices and increase the number of implant procedures they did all at the same time. The dentists could still make a profit and help their patients achieve a perfect smile for less.
Dentists today can now buy implants from the manufacturer in the $180–$240 range with a different variety of components. There are new manufacturers based out of Israel that are trying to push that cost down even more to $150 for the dentist so that they can pass that savings onto their patients1.
New Breakthroughs In Dental Implant Technology
In addition to lowering costs of the implants themselves, there have been huge advancements in computer designed implants in recent years. Let’s dive into how computer designed implants can help you replace missing or failing teeth.
While the ultimate goal of dental implants is to achieve bone stability, bone loss is an unavoidable effect of the procedure. However, with advancements in computer aided design and computer aided manufacturing (CAD-CAM), doctors can take a scan of your mouth to create a perfect replacement based on your actual mouth and teeth. This helps create a exact duplicate of the missing teeth and reduces bone loss overall. The best part of this technology is that it offers patients reduced post procedure symptoms and speeds up healing time2.
The dentist will first take a 3D image of your mouth and identify the missing or failing teeth that need to be replaced. Because of the advancements in 3D printing, doctors are now able to model the exact size, shape and dimensions and “print” an exact match for your mouth. This offers a simple and effective solution for artificial tooth replacement which reduces the number of visits and painful procedures. That’s why it makes sense that everyone is getting dental implants these days – the industry is supposed to grow to over $8.3 billion by 20253.
While still not widely available yet, another area where there have been advancements in dental implant technology is the coating materials themselves. There are new antibacterial coatings currently being developed that increase the longevity of the implants.
Many foods that contain high acid content have the potential to cause dental enamel erosion but there are also new coatings that can give patients more freedom to eat and drink what they want without being concerned about damaging their implants2.
Better Fit, Stronger, and Cheaper!
Today’s implants aren’t your grandparents’ kind! Forget the “false teeth” look that patients once had to live with. Today, dentists use computerized images to create a look that is just right for your face and that fit perfectly in your mouth. As technology evolves, implant manufacturers, dental labs, and dentists are all able to pass savings onto patients making care more affordable and improving patient’s lives.