Report: European dental implant prices fall 3.3%

Average selling prices of dental implant fixtures and final abutments have decreased 3.3% and 8.1%, respectively, over the past year, according to a new report from Millennium Research Group (MRG).

This occurred as dentists attempted to maintain profitability during the economic crisis by demanding greater discounts and increasingly purchasing implants from low-cost manufacturers, MRG said.

In many European countries, dental implants are an out-of-pocket expense for patients, with little to no reimbursement from healthcare plans, with the exception of Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium, which offer partial reimbursement. Dental implant surgeries are considered elective because the loss of a tooth does not typically inhibit the ability to eat or speak.

Because patients became hesitant to undergo dental implant surgery during the economic recession, dentists were forced to shift their focus. In the past, dentists were mainly concerned about product attributes and high-quality service. By 2009, however, a greater importance was placed on price, and many switched to low-priced manufacturers, MRG said.

Physicians and industry participants also reported that many premium-priced players offered significant discounts in order to compete. The new focus on price has made the European dental implant market a very attractive arena for smaller, lower-priced manufacturers, which are frequently domestic players.

"As the economy improves, the European market will further polarize. Many dentists will be unwilling to return to premium products because procedure prices will have to be increased to protect profit margins," MRG analyst Emily MacIntosh said. "The low-cost competitors will secure a permanent position in the market, particularly in well-established areas."

MRG's European Markets for Dental Implants 2010 report covers Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.K.

Copyright © 2010

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