I need some advice. I’ve had two dentists give me a quote for dental implants and one is a little higher than the other. I asked the one dentist why he was more expensive and he said he does custom abutments and the other quote likely only includes pre-fabricated abutments and other cheaper parts. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to pull one over on me, so I went back to the first dentist and asked whether his quote included custom abutments. Come to find out, the other dentist was right! Quite honestly, I’m still not sure what my best option is. Are custom abutments really that big of a deal? Should that be a reason to pay more for dental implants? — Cecelia
You bring up a really great question. There are three main parts to dental implants – the implant itself, the abutment and the crown. All of these parts need to fit together perfectly to ensure the success of the implant long-term.
When it comes to prefabricated or “stock” abutments, dentists only have a few sizes to choose from and it can be difficult to achieve a natural shape with the crown, making it more difficult to keep the area clean. When a crown is cemented, cement often seeps out of the edges and dentists can’t get all the extra cleaned off when the space is too tight. Cement that is left behind traps food and bacteria, and when you’re unable to remove those particles, infection, inflammation and eventual implant failure can occur. If this happens, your only option is to start over, and you’ll likely incur even more expense for bone grafting before having surgery again.
Are custom abutments really that big of a deal? They do provide a better fit than stock abutments which means you’re less likely to be at risk of infection. And while custom abutments are not necessary for every implant case, it’s still good that you have both options on the table. You’ll need to decide what’s right for you (and your budget), but keep in mind that you may be risking a lot if you choose to go the prefabricated route. Good luck!