The Financial Test of Dental Implantology
One of the basic threshold tests any new medical technology must pass is proving its medical worth. Sure, cosmetic procedures arise on a daily basis, but only a few of these get promoted from elective to essential in the eyes of our nation’s medical adjudicators: the insurance companies.
Dental implants are currently at just such a crossroads. Although endless ink has been spilled extolling the value and benefit of these powerful devices, many insurance carriers still see them as a cosmetic choice, rather than a medical necessity. The reason isn’t complicated:
First, an explanation as to what implants are. Dental implants are a titanium rod inserted in the jaw and topped with a crown to replace a missing tooth. Unlike dental bridges, implants don’t need to be replaced. Since they are implanted in the jaw, they help preserve the jaw bone itself. Implants don’t decay, and unlike bridges are easy to floss between. While they might be more expensive at first, ultimately they save money. Bridges are one thing usually covered by dental insurance, though – unlike implants. [Emphasis added]
Saving money over the long-term is a complicated proposition to prove, but we are making progress. Given the ever-widening circle of dentists who offer implantology services throughout the country, it’s only a matter of time before the powers that be come around and recognize that dental implants save money along with smies.
Until then, we’ll keep advocating and improving our patients’ lives one case at a time.