Many people with missing teeth would prefer to get implant treatment to restore their teeth than get a denture. The cost of implant treatment starts at around $5000 and can go much higher depending on how many implants are needed. Because of this very high price most people simply can’t afford implant treatment and have to get a cheaper and much less desirable option like a denture. The option of going abroad to get affordable dental implants may make sense in this situation.
The question you have to ask yourself: is it better to get a denture at home or travel abroad and get implants?
Implants are the best thing that has happened in dentistry since the invention of anaesthetic!
When I was a dental student, I was lucky enough to shadow a dentist who places a lot of implants. It was absolutely fascinating to me watching these titanium implants being inserted into the bone and then very realistic teeth being made on top of them. It really is like getting your teeth back!
Seeing people who had very few or no teeth walk out of his practice with functioning, attractive teeth again was very satisfying. It is amazing to see, but I can only imagine just how much more improved someone’s life must be when they go from wearing dentures to having their own fully functioning teeth again. Teeth that look good and that they can eat normally with again.
Implants allow people to smile again without feeling self conscious and to be able to eat food that would have been nearly impossible to with dentures, like steak and apples.
However, I couldn’t believe the cost of implant treatment. A pleasant lady in her 60s who had lost most of her teeth many years before was presented with a treatment plan to restore her smile with implants by the same periodontist. At the end of the appointment the periodontist casually said to her,
“We need to place 6 implants to replace your upper teeth and 6 implants to replace your lower teeth for a total of 12 implants. The implants can be placed in a three hour session, but we will have to wait a few months for the bone to heal around the implants before we can place your new teeth on them. This will cost $60,000”.
$60,000 for three hours work? I knew implants were expensive but I didn’t realize they were that costly!
I was expecting that poor woman to throw a fit about the price, but I guess she was rich and already had an idea of the likely cost from a friend or something, because she didn’t go berserk like I was expecting. I was a student living on about $200 a week, so $60,000 seemed like a particularly large amount of money to me. I had to stop myself from gasping out loud when I heard that figure.
What would Dr Branemark make of this I wonder?
The man who invented modern implants is Dr. Per-Ingvar Branemark. Branemark was a Swedish physician and research professor who discovered accidentally, while researching something entirely unrelated to dentistry, that titanium screws fuse to bone. He was very intelligent and quickly realized the dental applications.
Branemark felt deep concern for people who had lost their teeth and he wanted implants to be freely accessible to these “dental cripples” as he referred to them. But that’s not what has happened of course.
Unfortunately Branemark passed away late last year, but I bet if he was standing in that dental practice with me that day, he would have been disappointed to see that only the wealthiest people can afford the astronomically high fees required to replace their lost teeth with the implants he developed.
If you aren’t rich and you need implants, what are your options?
Well, you can compromise your health and get your dentist to make you dentures
you could travel abroad to get the ideal treatment – dental implants.
The benefits of travelling abroad
The benefits of travelling abroad are pretty obvious really.
1.You can save an incredible amount of money. Earlier in this article I mentioned the lady who paid $60,000 to get implants to replace all her teeth. Well, if she went abroad she could have paid as little as $6000!
2.You get to have an amazing holiday. When you travel abroad to get your dental work done, you get to experience amazing places like Thailand, Mexico, Costa Rica and the Philippines. Between appointments you can relax on beautiful sandy beaches and stay in nice hotels that cost far less than at home.
3.You help bring the cost of dentistry down in your own country by travelling abroad. This is because as dentists at home lose more and more work to overseas dentists, they will be forced to bring their fees down to compete on the global market.
4.You assist the local economy of some of the poorest countries. When you get dental treatment overseas you are bringing money into the local economy and creating jobs for the people living in these countries. This will help reduce the amount of absolute poverty in these countries.
The dangers of travelling abroad
While it may seem a no-brainer to travel overseas if you need dental treatment there are risks involved that you need to be aware of.
1.If things go wrong, you will have to travel abroad again to get the problem fixed or pay a local dentist to fix it. Even if a dentist guarantees the work, if there is a problem with the implant they will not pay for your airfare and accommodation.
There are insurance providers who provide insurance options that will cover the costs, including air fares and accommodation, associated with having to travel back again to get the dental implants repaired.
2.You will have to travel to a different country. This can also be a good thing of course!
3.You will have to pay for airfares, accommodation, and take time off work. This will bite into your savings quite a bit. For example, say you saved yourself $20,000 by getting your implants in Thailand. If the cost of travel was $2500, accommodation was $1000, and loss of earnings from being away from work was $1000, then you only saved $15,500. Actually, that’s still good isn’t it?
4.Implants sometimes have to be made in two appointments and may need to be scheduled months apart. This means you either have an extra long holiday or pay for two lots of airfares to go abroad again for the second appointment. Sometimes implants can be started and finished in one appointment. The dentist that is going to treat you will need to make the assessment if that is possible in your particular dental situation.
5.How do you know the dentist is good? In some countries regulations can be very relaxed and there can be dentists working with no licence to do so. How do you know where the dentist was trained and how long they have been practicing for? Will they honour any guarantees they made to you? Are they practicing with sterilized equipment? Do they have a criminal history or had any malpractice claims made against them? Can you see their work or reviews from satisfied patients that you can verify actually were treated by that dentist? Can they communicate to you in English?
As you can see, the list for what can go wrong isn’t small and you do need to be careful to choose the right dentist and dental clinic overseas. Don’t get me wrong, I do think it’s entirely possible to get good dental treatment overseas. There is just a LOT of research you need to do first.
But what if you don’t have the time to do all that research?
Fortunately, there is a company that has been around for a few years now that has done all the research for you and placed it in one easy to use website. They don’t even charge a fee for this.
If you have read this whole article you should have a pretty good idea of the pros and cons of going overseas to get your dental work done. If you have any questions about getting dental treatment done overseas or would like to share your own personal experience getting dental work done abroad, please do so in the comments section.