More and more people are considering dental implants to replace missing teeth and uncomfortable dentures, and why not? Implants are a fantastic treatment and if you have already read our last post, you will be aware of the many benefits to having them. Understandably cost is a concern and implants can be expensive depending on the type of treatment you are considering. We have previously broken down the whole process for you, so hopefully by now you have a better understanding of what can be involved and why they cost what they do. This time however, we are going to address the topic of Implants abroad. We will point out some things to consider and some questions to ask if the idea of having implants abroad is appealing to you.
There are many countries all over the world with brilliantly trained clinicians who place implants on a daily basis. Some of these countries offer implant treatment at an extremely low price making the idea of flying abroad to replace missing teeth incredibly appealing to many. Why would you spend thousands of pounds having dental work in the UK, when you can simply find a clinic abroad with good reviews, have the treatment AND have a holiday at the same time, all for less than the price here at home?
It is not our intention to judge the ability of these dentists or set a precedence that that are any less capable than dentists here in the UK, we are simply aiming to educate patients on the different stages involved during the implant journey and ensure that the right questions are being asked wherever you may choose to go. That being said here are a few points to consider if you do plan to go to another country for your treatment:
The Dental Practice
Does the practice that you are looking to visit have a good reputation? Do they have a clear history of carrying out the same or similar treatments? And perhaps most importantly, do they follow strict decontamination, sterilisation and ASEPSIS techniques? Here in the UK, we as dental professionals are held to a high standard of such techniques. We are instructed to follow strict guidelines set out in various documents to ensure patient safety. We each, from the dentist to the nurses, have to complete continual professional development and training in areas such as, decontamination. This helps to prevent cross contamination, infection and the transmission of blood borne viruses. Here at FPDIC we undergo regular in house inspections, we have a central sterilisation room where dental instruments are processed, using the correct equipment, we have dedicated members of staff who ensure that all procedures are followed thoroughly, we are often subject to clinical spot checks and we undergo training in these areas regularly.
The next thing to consider is your trip to the country you have decided to have your treatment carried out in. Are you flying out there to meet with the dental team for the first time? Do you know if you are a candidate for the treatment or will you be having your consultation whilst you are out there? Do you require a CT scan, if so will you need to travel for that or is it at the practice, is it included in the final fee or is it an additional cost? And ultimately what is the time frame for the treatment you are opting for, from start to finish? How long is the diagnostic stage? Here at FPDIC we take allow around 3 weeks for this important step, for reasons explained in our last post. We also explained that the implant journey is an in depth, through process. We take great care in choosing the right materials and technicians. We also we provide regular review appointments throughout to ensure that things are on track, how will your dentist abroad check the progress of your healing? Will you have to frequently fly out to see him/her or are you completing the treatment from start to finish within the widow of your trip?
That brings us to perhaps one of the most import considerations, the final result of your treatment. This is where it all gets a bit technical but we believe that patients need to understand this step to appreciate the complexity of this type of treatment. There are many factors that can affect the process and that is why here at FPDIC the clinicians will never fit your final prosthesis, whether that is a tooth, bridge or denture on the day of the implant placement. You see your body needs time and time is something that many people who travel abroad may not have. Anybody who has lost a tooth or teeth and has suffered the knock to their confidence in the months afterwards, would likely agree that if they could replace those teeth in a day they would do so, just to feel like their old selves again. But, as the old adage goes, good things come to those who wait and implants are no exception. During the process of implant treatment there is a stage where the bone is healing, this has to occur regardless of if a bone graft was required and your body also has to get used to the new foreign object. During this time we provide patients (if the circumstance requires) with a temporary prosthesis. The type of prosthesis depends on the bone stability achieved during the implant placement. The dentists here at FPDIC will do everything they can to ensure the health of the implant and it’s future healing. We inform all of our patients during the diagnostic stage to expect to have a temporary bridge or denture for at least 3 months to allow the body time to accept the implant and heal adequately (this is known amongst dentists as achieving complete stability). Only once complete stability has been achieved, will the final prosthesis be made and fitted into place.
There are various problems with having a final prosthesis fitted on the day of the implant placement, such as;
- Implant failure – the area simply has been overloaded too soon and the body may reject the implants, resulting in a loose implant that may even fall out altogether. This can also cause bone loss in that area which, if you were to attempt implants again may result in a higher fee for additional bone grafting. Not to mention possible pain and discomfort from the failing implant and loose prosthesis.
- Inadequate appearance and fit – As the mouth heals, the bone and gum in that area may start to shrink back, this often leaves an unpleasant gap at the top and in cases where dentures have been fitted they can become loose and unwearable.
After chatting to one of our clinicians here at FPDIC I have learnt that there is currently only one type of implant in the world that can be loaded fairly soon. That is the Straumann SLActive. This implant even has to be allowed 3 weeks at the very minimum after placement before having a permanent prosthesis fitted and our dentist here wouldn’t personally do it before at least 8 weeks had passed.
We often refer to this as an “Implant Journey” because that is what we feel best describes the decision to have implant treatment carried out. It is a journey that will take time and will require patience and perseverance therefore, to make the experience as comfortable as possible for you and to ensure the least amount of stress and worry, ask as many questions as possible. If you are keen to go abroad consider the time frame of the ENTIRE treatment, do your research to ensure the environment is safe. Take steps to ensure there are no hidden fees and don’t forget to calculate the additional flights and boarding fees for repeat trips should they be needed. Finally always ask what systems are being used so that if anything ever does go wrong, you have the right information to provide to the dental professionals back home.
If you would like more information about implant here at FPDIC or would like to arrange an appointment please call the practice on 01562 822653 or alternatively email us at firstname.lastname@example.org