Have you ever been intrigued by the idea of getting cheap dental implants overseas? If the answer is yes, then you’re not alone. The Australian dental association estimates that approximately 10,000 Australians sought cheap dental implants abroad last year and that number is growing.
Lured by the idea of cut-price dentistry, often 60-70% less than that back home – throw in some sunshine and relaxation and you have a recipe for success, or so you’d think!
Sadly, just as the number of people seeking a dental implant overseas is increasing, so too is the number of people facing further treatment because of poor-quality dental work abroad. These people have returned from their cheap dental implant escapades facing failure, not to mention a debilitating cost they now have to pay. Unfortunately, the Australian dentist that has to re-do or re-work treatment isn’t always seen in the best of lights as they struggle to make the best of a bad situation, often being forced to make uncomfortable patient compromises.
So, with this in mind, what are the risks or concerns when seeking an overseas dental implant? In other words, what could go wrong?
Lack of diagnosis and treatment planning
Despite the fact that many dental tourism operators will send client’s cases and X-rays to the clinic for review, prior to any patient visit, any treatment planning is usually undertaken quickly, given the holiday time frame a dentist has to work around. Some treatments, for instance, require multiple procedures over a period of time to achieve the best results. These may include crown lengthening or gum re-contouring to enhance aesthetics and bone grafting or sinus lifting prior to implant placement. As such, some people seeking cheap dental implants abroad will find that their treatment is changed or compromised, taking into account the time frame of the patient’s visit.
Cut-price dental Implants overseas cost may mean poor levels of treatment quality
While it’s fair to say that there are some great dentists who operate abroad offering an overseas dental implant service, they’re not usually the ones offering bargain basement prices. Conversely, those offering the cheapest dental implants abroad are often the ones who…
• Aren’t trained to the same standards as treating clinicians in Australia
• Use older implant designs or lesser-known implants because they’re cheaper, and…
• Often have limited chairside experience
Put it this way…
Would you risk entrusting your dental care to a dentist with limited experience, lesser standards of training, and one that utilises out of date or inferior implants where both prognosis for success and sterility may be compromised?
Surprisingly, many bargain-seekers do, and unsurprisingly, this is a sure-fire recipe for dental implant problems further on down the line.
Lack of post-treatment follow-up
Finally, what usually happens with patients seeking dental vacation packages to countries such as Bali, Malaysia, and Thailand is that once the patient has undergone treatment, they return to Australia. While some dental tourists are wise enough to keep flexible vacation times in order to incorporate recovery time, others don’t, having only limited annual leave. So, they undergo dental implant placement and fly home again, usually within a few weeks.
The problem is that when it comes to the importance of recovery, every patient is different and in some, complications may occur, weeks or even months down the line, well after treatment has ended. This is usually at the point where the patient is unable to return to their overseas dental implant dentist. So, where does this leave the patient?
Usually contacting a local dentist in Australia for assistance because the treating overseas clinician no longer has anything to do with the patient’s ongoing maintenance and care. In other words, the chances of recourse in say 3, 6, or 9 months down the line is practically zero!
So, in concise terms, what are some of the issues that patient can face when seeking out cheap overseas dental implants? Let’s take a look…
Improper dental implant placement leading to…
• Possible damage to the inferior alveolar nerve
• Perforation of the sinus or nasal floor cavity
• Peri-Implantitis – infection of the implant area leading to implant loss
• Further bone loss outside of the surface of the implant area – leading to further bone recession and gum problems.
Poor or lesser quality implant selection leading to…
• A poor aesthetic result
• Compromising future treatment needs with regards to the use of inferior or outdated dental implant systems.
• Failure and/or fracture of prosthetic dental crowns
Overseas dental Implant dentist with a lack of experience/skills, leading to…
• Poor crown margins leading to incorrect crown fit. Inappropriate spacing allows food debris and bacteria to enter, leading to gum inflammation and eventually, implant loss.
• Heavily cut back tooth preparations leading to nerve degeneration, necessitating a root canal some time down the line.
• Poor contact between teeth/crowns leading to pain and discomfort
• inefficient bite limiting the ability to properly chew
• poor overall aesthetic result leading to a loss of self-confidence and self-esteem by the patient
Of course, all of the above can also go wrong when seeking a local dentist here in Australia. However, the difference is that you, the patient, are protected by the governing bodies, in addition to being able to physically and easily return to the practice to seek some form of recourse. So, while the dental implants cost might not be quite so appealing as say, some of the best countries for dental tourism, it allows you to have the highest standards of quality dental care that you really deserve.
How to ensure the best dentistry at home while keeping your budget intact
While many dentists in Australia are unable to compete with the price of the cheapest dental implants abroad, there are things that you can do as a potential patient to ensure you keep your dental care costs down. In fact, did you know that the biggest reason for delaying or putting off treatment is cost? With this in mind, let’s take a closer look…
Investigate discount dental plans
Take the time to do some research into private health care insurance and see which ones give you the best options for the best value. There are some good insurance options to be had but remember that you may still have to pay for some treatments including the cost of dental implants. In addition, look for insurances that may have a ‘gap cover’ arrangement with your dentist. You could also try a bit of bargaining as some insurance providers may accept the same lower payments as their rivals in order to win your business.
Attend the dentist regularly
This may not help you if you’re already considering an overseas dental implant cost or cheap dental implants here in Australia. However, one of the best ways to keep dental costs down is to attend the dentist regularly. This may seem a little counterintuitive but just like your car, if your teeth are serviced regularly, they’re far less likely to break down, costing you big bucks. Just like your friendly mechanic, your dentist is in a prime position to spot and deal with any problems early, should they arise, thus saving you money in the long run.
Look into treatment at dental schools
Many of the top dental schools in the country run a patient treatment program where you can undergo supervised dental treatment treated by dental students for a fraction of the cost. Naturally, it isn’t for everyone, but by undergoing cheaper treatment for less complex problems, it may allow you to save money in order to consider dental implant cost here in Australia. Do bear in mind that there are often more patients requiring treatment than most centres can treat, so you may be placed on a waiting list. However, if you aren’t in a particular hurry to undergo a filling or check-up, then it’s a good way of saving money while still having regular dental treatment.
Have you personally undergone overseas dental implants or know someone who has? What are your thoughts on it, good or bad? We’d love to hear from you. Leave any tips or comments below so that our readers can look at the pros and cons of whether undergoing a dental implant overseas is right for them.
Alternatively, if you feel that it’s a risk too far, you might feel better following the advice above and instead receive the highest standards of dental care possible, right here in Australia.