Friday, May 29, 2009

Dental Implants around NYC

This is an odd post but here's some general information about Dental Implants in New York City. It may be useful if you are shopping for one and you hate dentists like I do. There are few choices in fact; one of the better features of a Metropolitan Area as great as New York City.

Here is a guide for one Implant for the molar(last 3 teeth on the ends. upper or lower). Most will lose a molar due to problems with a root. Always ask whether an implant can occur on the same day you extract a tooth as this will cut down on follow up visits and costs since your time is money.Hopefully not before a very long root canal that cannot save it otherwise you may have some other options since some accidents which involve losing teeth may be covered by your insurance. That's not the topic of this post so let me get back to it.

The best option is actually not the Dental Schools around NYC which is basically Columbia University and New York Dental School. They do have some odd pricing:

-Columbia will charge around 650 for the implant which includes an intial visit which includes an electronic xray panorama of the whole jaw. The whole visit shouldn't take longer than an hour. This of course does not include the intial registration (takes a long wait and another appointment at the implant department on another floor). The horrible thing is that they will charge 90 dollars which is a standard consult which may be ok but this is another appointment even though that dentist will be there in the initial visit?!?. That would be ok if the crown wasn't around 1500 dollars. Very odd pricing and why hospitals are such a pain in the ass. Every doctor charges a high amount so insurance will cover the lesser amount. Make sure to state you just want a implant consult or they will charge you the 90 dollar registration where a student will do a regular exam with xrays.

-New York University College of Dentistry have similar policies. You do the initial registration and get assigned a student doctor. That student doctor will refer you to the implant department. Make sure to state you want just the implant consult which is free for the first visit. Implants for the molars are slightly in cost than the regular front teeth. The fee is 1025 for the implant and 1375 for the crown. Think if it's just the front teeth it will be 650 for root/crown.

Reasons you may not want to go to the dental schools is because it's designed for them to do more work than you need. The most important of which is a bone graft. There is a general practice of misinformation where they state that once you pull the teeth bone reabsorption will happen. That's when you lose some of the jaw because the teeth is no longer there. That is slightly true after the 6 month period but during this period and it does not take long (after around 2 month of the extraction) for enough bone to grow back for an implant since there is a variety of screws in length/width. It is in this situation where a same day extraction/implant may not be possible whereas the front teeth can be done most of the time. That's 6 months for the bone graft which cost an additional 150-500 dollars and a 6 month healing process. An additional 6 months for the implant healing before they can make a crown. One of the better options is hopsital clinics. I strongly discourage dental schools because any dental work is not restorative in the true sense. They are destructive in the sense that the tooth gets grind down enough to apply fillings. Therefore any work is really up to the dentists because some fillings are unnecessary as teeth does have the ability to heal itself in some capacity.

-Mount Sinai Hospital Dental Clinic is a large clinic but unfortunately involves some of the largest wait times. Their implant fees are 750 for the implant and 750 for the crown. The consultation fee is 100 dollars but if you get the implant it's part of the 750 for the implant so the total out of pocket is 1500 which is cheaper than the dental schools in nyc. The problem comes down to the fact it's basically one person doing the implant and the wait to see him can at the worst of times be 2 hours and a half from your appointment time. It is a hospital after all and there are emergency cases. The clinic itself suffers from the same bureaucracy but fortunately you are reading this. The appointment to do the implant is done as a form of contract with an administrator. You do not speak to the general appointment number of the clinic and you should request to speak to the person responsible for the clinic. Oddly enough the clinic number does not go to the appointment front desk but some sort of back office which may not even be in that clinic. Their other fees are very reasonable at a sliding scale so if you are low income it is probably more affordable than dental schools. They are affiliated with NYU dental school since Mount Sinai is a Teaching Hospital but the actual general dentist in the clinic is not a student which is a plus though this may not always be the case for certain situations.

-New York Methodist Hospital has a smaller dental clinic but their rates are very competitive. The cost is 650 for implant with a 100 dollar consult fee. This is a general plus for the brooklyn area since it is near park slope. It does not suffer from the administrative overhead in the other dental alternatives like registration and you get served from a real dentist. I would rate this as a first choice unless you really want a larger dentist office feel (whatever that is).

Notes: You really do not need a panorama for a implant consult of one teeth. Almost no insurance I know of will cover implants which is the usual question but if you anticipate an implant you may get some coverage from dental insurance but with the rates, exclusions, prior conditions leading to a implant, and the dreaded waiting periods... Good luck. These are all rough estimates of the pricing(I can be off by a hundred or more) and you will need to confirm the final costs(be patient. getting through the phone systems of the dental schools is RIDICULOUS). The benefits of the above is that they do not have any post care fees of the implant which some local dental offices trying to rip you off. Bone graft fees are very difficult to determine since it is variable. The 6 month healing of the implant does not include a denture so you still would not be able to eat there. The consult fee is really just about looking at an xray of the missing tooth area and feeling the gum area. Hope this is helpful.

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