Complications with Dental Implants and Warranty Misconceptions
Patients often gain trust in a procedure when a warranty is offered, which is often to do with the hardware components or the material from which the teeth are made. The warranty for the titanium fixtures from the manufacturers is typically Lifetime, and for the teeth themselves ranges from 3-5 years. But this is not what you need to be worried about when it comes to quality of treatment and longevity.
Did you know that the top two reasons why complications occur with implants have nothing to do with the brand of implants or the material from which the teeth are made? They are to do with inadequacies at surgery that are often a reflection of the surgeon’s limitations in their knowledge, skill and experience. These are:
- Restorative Space (the space over the implants within which the bridge fits in the mouth). Problems with restorative space result from inadequate preparation of the bone before placement of the implants and can affect appearance, cleanability, implant health, durability, comfort, functionality and overall cost.
- Optimal positioning of the implants in relation to the positions of the teeth. Incorrectly positioned implants can result in bulky restorations, which impedes speech and affects comfort, and also affects the cleanability, implant health.
The third reason is to do with the kind of prosthesis that is fitted. When a preliminary or temporary prosthesis is fitted immediately after surgery, it is not strong enough and any cracks within it can affect the long-term health of the implant and bone loss. This was covered in detail under All-On-4 Costs and Type of Immediate Teeth.
As the above issues are to do with the surgeon’s skill, these are not part of any warranty, and the resulting issues are far more significant than a breakage of a tooth or individual implant failures.
A third-party warranty often covers certain components of your treatment: Implant Hardware Components, and Implant Bridge:
- Implant Hardware Components: a manufacturers warrantee typically covers components for a period of 10 years or longer. All-On-4 Clinics use Nobel Biocare implants, which carry a lifetime warranty.
- Implant Bridge: There is a statutory defects warranty of 12 months for any product constructed by the laboratory. There is an additional warranty period that the laboratory offers depending on the kind of teeth. For Titanium-Reinforced Acrylic Final Bridge this is typically 3 years, and for Zirconia-Porcelain teeth it is typically 5 years because these are more durable over time. This means that the laboratory will not charge the clinic for any repairs within this period. However, in some cases more than one repair may be an indication that the improvement to the forces of your bite is beyond the physical tolerance of the material used, and an upgrade to a stronger material may be required at an additional cost. At All-On-4 Clinic the upgrade cost is only the difference in the price between the original teeth and the new stronger teeth, so it is much cheaper overall and only used for those patients with heavy bites who actually need it.
Notwithstanding any given warranty, as a dental or surgical procedure there can be no guaranties as to the overall success of your surgical and/or restorative treatment. As such, there are some gross misconceptions about the relevance of a warranty, which are covered in detail here.