Dr. Tarun Agarwal says that offering immediate dental implants and making them more affordable can attract new patients to your practice.
The future of implant dentistry has never been brighter. With that being said, it has also become very crowded with more dentists providing some form of dental implant care. So how does one stand out in a crowded marketplace?
Let’s start by understanding the real problem: As a profession we haven’t truly made it easy and desirable for patients to choose dental implant therapy. We have only scratched the surface of potential.
Let’s look at some numbers.
- 36 million Americans do not have any teeth.
- 120 million Americans are missing at least one tooth.
- 20 million teeth are extracted each year.
- 3 million dental implants were placed in the United States in 2021.
This should beg the question, Why are so few implants being placed relative to the massive opportunity? As an industry, we should be turning our focus to solving the problem of making dental implants more accessible.
So what can we do as a profession to help make dental implants more mainstream?
- Reduce the time from tooth loss to replacement tooth.
- Reduce the number of visits involved with completing dental implant therapy.
- Reduce the overall cost of tooth replacement with dental implants.
Solutions to make implants more accessible
I have found the best way to reduce the time from tooth loss to tooth replacement has been emphasizing immediate implant placement at the time of tooth extraction. Of course, this requires having a site that is free of infection and with adequate bone. Advances in implant geometry that promote primary stability have made immediate placement possible in many more cases.
For those who have struggled with immediate placement due to difficulty keeping the osteotomy and/or implant on trajectory, I would like to suggest the use of guided surgery. With 3D CBCT coming down in cost, implant-planning software has become easier to use; and in-office 3D printing, guided surgery has become a viable, if not ideal, option for dental implant therapy.
Another way to reduce time and visits is to take the final impression at the time of implant placement. With the emphasis on digital dentistry, it is now more feasible than ever to take your final impression at the time of implant placement. Combine this with CAD/CAM fabricated screw-retained restorations, and you have a real-time and cost saver.
Truthfully, the price of dental implant care is not the issue — it’s the affordability. Too many dental offices are not utilizing and consistently offering patient financing. Implementing a financial menu that clearly spells out the costs and payment options for patients has been a game changer for our practice. Modern-day consumers (our patients) are looking for payment plans — so don’t make it difficult to do business with your practice.
There is no magic bullet when it comes to increasing the volume of dental implants in your practice. Instead it requires a cumulative, intentional, patient-centric approach. The end result will be significant.