Pros and Cons of Offering Dental Implant Treatments

Written by on January 3, 2017 in Practice tips - No comments

Dental implant treatment is one of the biggest billing procedures in dentistry. However, one often fails to realize the steady cash flow of big dollars going out of your office due to the costly overhead such as the surgical setup, drill cost, implants cost (which is gigantic) and hours of staff time.

Let’s start with the hard cost. Your drill and implant system will be one of the most expensive Investments when you decide to offer this procedure in your clinic. Many general dentists think they will get around this by purchasing Low-Bob’s Dental Implants because they are just like the real thing. They even have matching parts. The problem is, they aren’t and a specialist can tell. “So what?” you may ask. “I’m placing them, not a specialist.” Well, if an implant procedure goes wrong (likely if you’re not a specialist), you’ll need to refer the case to a specialist, but he isn’t going to know Low-Bob’s Dental Implant Company and he sure as heck isn’t going to “try out” your new kit on this new patient for the first time. This is why you want to stick to a major vendor that a specialist uses.

Next are the hours of staff time required.  Labor is THE greatest cost to a practice. Most likely, when you start into placing implants, there will be a tremendous amount of treatment planning time as you learn new imaging systems and technology. Your surgical time will not be all “slam dunk” cases and you most likely will have a decent amount of post-operative time. This, of course, will get better as time goes on. Make sure you have the financial means to shoulder the burden of this slow time in your practice while you adjust to the learning curve. As for billing, if you are not a specialist, it is not right to charge the same as a specialist. You are not on their fee schedule.

Then there’s training cost. If you were trained in the military, a general practice residency or AEGD, you probably just need some refresher continuing education and you are good to go. If not, you may choose to go to an outside continuing education course. Now consider the cost of having to leave your office for weeks or months on end to learn dental implants. This can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Maybe you plan to be a weekend warrior where you go to courses only on the weekends. The tuition is still about the same, but you don’t leave your practice for weeks on end. Another option is doing a year-long implant residency. This is one where you do nothing but implant training.

Financial costs aside, you also need to consider your level of surgical experience. Implant treatment is a surgical procedure. Sharpen your surgical skills before introducing implants into your practice. You may want to start extracting the broken down molars that you normally send out and lay some flaps with them. Get out some sutures and practice.

In summary, dental implant treatment is an excellent addition to your dental practice, but not when you are still a newbie. Your debt must be under control. You must have time to spare in your schedule and your surgical skills must be on point. From there, proceed forward with the proper training and implementation of implant dentistry into your practice. Get really good at it. Your patient deserves the best so you must practice to the standard of care of a specialist if you are doing procedures usually reserved for specialists.

By Ahmed Ezzeldin DDS, Easy Dental Care and Dr. Justin Clemens

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