An analogy I like to make is let’s say you have a hole in your roof. Are you going to cheap out and just get paper or a tarp and just put it up there and hope for the best? Or are you going to do it right? Hire somebody who knows what they’re doing, fix it correctly, put shingles on there and you’ve got something that’s not going to leak for a long time. I think everyone should be a great steward of their money, so I don’t begrudge people for trying to look for a good deal and trying to save money. You’ve probably been driving down the road and seeing those billboards, $99 implant, $200 tooth and implant all in one, and thinking to yourself, well, that’s just a great deal. Why would I go spend thousands on a tooth when I can spend a couple hundred dollars?
I’m going to tell you why that’s not a good idea, and you should definitely make sure you do your research and your due diligence before going to any kind of discount dental. Hi, I’m Dr. Brett Langston. I’m an experienced prosthodontist and the director of Dental Implant and aesthetic specialist here in Brookhaven, Georgia, and I’m here to help you watch your mouth.
Issue #1: Subpar Materials
You can get dentistry for very cheap because they’re using subpar materials. There’s been a lot of money invested in research and development and these companies have come a long way in figuring out not only what’s the most durable material, but also what’s the most biocompatible material. You’d be amazed if you could see all the different developments and awesome engineering things where they come up with different coating surfaces, they come up with different styles, they come up with different things that they’ve proven will cause the body to accept the implant better, you’ll have a better long-term result and it’s going to last longer. These are all things that your cheaper knockoff implants are not going to have a lot of time. These implants are using subpar materials that aren’t tested and certified to be what you’re looking for.
In our practice, we only use American labs. We use companies that we know have a long track record and we know exactly what we’re getting in putting in your mouth. All our implants are commercially pure titanium. There’s no knockoff, there are no other parts and substandard parts and pieces that are in there. And that’s really important because when we put an implant in, we expect it to be in the mouth for the rest of your life. And so the question you want to ask yourself is, do you want to cut corners and take a chance that you’ve got something subpar in your mouth or do you want to spend the time, make the right investment, and get something you know is going to last a lifetime?
Issue #2 Poor Front-End Planning
Dental implant therapy involves a lot of front-end work, and by that I mean we do a lot of planning. There’s a lot of measuring. We use a combe, which is a three-dimensional scanning system that allows us to see the density and quality of the bone. Not only that but let’s just see where the adjacent teeth are. So when we place an implant, we’re not just throwing it in there to fill a space. There’s a lot of thought and a lot of planning that goes into it because there are a lot of ways that an implant can go wrong and fail. Not only can the implant fail, but if you don’t properly plan out if you put it too close to a natural tooth, you can cause bone loss and then all of a sudden that natural tooth can fail if you put it in the wrong place and you have to cantilever or hang something off, that puts a lot of force and a lot of torque on the implant. And while it may solve the problem short term, a lot of times that leads to bone failure and implant failure. And what people don’t like to hear is that when an implant fails, it’s a big problem because the implant is surrounded by bone and if it fails, that means the bone all around the implant has failed. So now all of a sudden you take that failed implant out, you’re left with a big hole in the bone.
Essentially, to get back to where we want to be, we have to grow the bone back. And so that involves a bone graft and unfortunately that takes time. So when an implant fails, we don’t have an instant fix. It’s a pretty prolonged three-month fix to place the bone. If the bone heals properly and everything’s good, we can place another implant, but that’s another three months.
And so again, while you might’ve saved some money on the front end or you might’ve saved some time on the front end if you don’t properly plan it out and you have a failure, it’s a big process to fix it.
Issue #3: Finding the Right Implant for You
There are actually hundreds of different dental implant companies and while yes, they’re all the same in theory, they’re a root-shaped screw that goes in the bone. There are so many differences amongst the companies and in the United States, we probably have about 70 major brand name companies that we utilize, and each one has a different kind of surface area, different kind of tip or technique they bring that makes their brand different. So it’s really important if you go to a dentist or a dental office that only uses one kind of implant, only uses one thing. It’s kind of like if you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
So you want to come to a practice and you want to seek dental care where they can look at your mouth and look at the space available, look at the adjacency, look at your health history, look at your timeline, and kind of take all these things into consideration so that your dental implant can be very customized because the last thing you want to do is rush it. Just put the same thing in that the next person got. It’s not going to last long and it’s not the best thing for you.
Issue #4: Ignoring the Investment Factor
Something to keep in mind too is that this is an investment because this implant is going to be in your mouth for a long time. Every time you chew, every time you eat, when you look at yourself in the pictures, when you look at yourself in the mirror, when you talk, when you speak, it has a profound impact on your daily life.
This is not a piece of art that you hang in your house, and if you don’t like it, just take it down and get a new one. And this is very impactful. So it’s important that you take the time and work with a team that’s going to make sure that you’re happy with the implant that it integrates into your mouth and dental pain is one of those things. Nobody thinks about their teeth until they have dental pain and discomfort. And so the last thing you want to do is go through this whole process and end up in a constant irritation, a constant perpetual annoyance because it wasn’t done correctly.
Issue #5: The Dark Side of Vacation Dentistry
The last thing I want to address is so-called vacation dentistry. There’s a big push to go on vacation, whether to Mexico, Costa Rica, or even just to another country like India, or Turkey. There are lots of different areas where you may have had a friend or a buddy or a family member who said,
“Hey, I can get all this work done for less than it costs in the United States, and I get a free trip to name your country.”
While I’m not saying it’s going to end in disaster, there are plenty of qualified great dentists in other countries – One of the main reasons that we see problems is that the standard of care and the regulation in the United States means that when you come somewhere here, you know that everything’s going to be above board. The materials are going to be above board. The labs that we use are going to be what you would expect to use. The problem is there’s no way to kind of ensure that when you go elsewhere, and unfortunately, we do have a lot of cases where people saved money and they had a great trip, but you do see a lot of complications. And part of the problem too is when you go to places that are outside the country, it’s hard to keep track of what materials were used, what brand implants were used, and what lab they used. So when you come to us and you have a problem, it’s a lot harder for us to not only diagnose and figure out what’s going wrong, but it’s more difficult for us to come up with a plan to fix that problem.
Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Brett Langston Today!
You want to make sure you’re with a dental team that cares about your dental health. You can also schedule a consultation with us. We would love to see you meet you, come in, let us take a look around, and also kind of figure out what works best for you and make a custom treatment plan. Definitely check out our website, Dr. Brett Langston.com to click and make a consultation.