The so-called “dental vacations” have become increasingly popular as people travel outside Australia in order to get cheaper dental work. Dental implants, in particular, are one of the most commonly sought procedures overseas because of how other countries offer them at a low cost. At the same time, insurance companies in Australia rarely cover the fee, and they must be paid out-of-pocket. Here’s what you should know before you book a vacation to get dental implants abroad.
‘Why do I need Dental Implants?’
Tooth implants have many benefits over alternative false teeth options. For example, implants:
- Last longer than bridges or dentures
- Prevent bone loss
- Are sturdier than bridges or dentures so that patients can eat hard foods with no trepidation
- Look like real, natural teeth
- Improve self-confidence and the appearance of patients’ smiles
- Have no age restriction on who is eligible for treatment
What are the Different Types of Dental Implants?
There are three different types of dental implants. Depending on your individual circumstances, your dentist will decide which kind is best suited to you.
- Endosseous Implants are cylinder or screw-shaped, made of metal, ceramic or ceramic-coated metal, and placed within the jawbone.
- Subperiosteal implants consist of a metal framework that attaches on top of the jawbone but underneath the gum tissue.
- Transosteal implants are either a metal pin or a u-shaped frame that passes through the jawbone and the gum tissue into the mouth.
How long does a Dental Implant Procedure take?
Inserting a single dental implant takes approximately 1-2 hours. About 3 – 9 months after the implant has been osseointegrated, your dentist will construct a crown or bridge to be placed over the post.
What is the Recovery Time for Dental Implants?
The recovery time for dental implants will change depending on your medical and dental history, the condition of your jaw bone before surgery, how many teeth were replaced, and if you need bone or gum grafting. Depending on your circumstances, the downtime could be a couple of days or weeks. On average, it takes just a couple of days to feel normal. The complete healing of your jawbone and gum tissue takes approximately 3-6 months.
Why get your Dental Implant abroad?
Let’s admit it; the cost of a dental procedure is one of the main considerations if you’re going to get it. And, yes, getting dental implants in Australia is expensive. And if you are going to compare, your dental bill overseas can be as low as 30% of the cost back home.
The cost of dental implants will vary depending on several factors, including how many teeth need to be replaced and whether you require a bone graft or sinus lift. Typically in Australia, the price for a straightforward dental implant can range between $3,000 – $5,500 per tooth. According to the national dental fee survey for 2020, a dental implant in Australia can cost up to $5,514 per tooth. If you require a bone graft or sinus lift, a single dental implant can cost up to $11,500.
The Advantages of Getting Tooth Implants overseas
- Dental implants are certainly cheaper in countries like Bali, and that is because they don’t have the same overheads as UK dentists and coupled with a lower cost of living, they are therefore able to offer services for a lot less.
- If you decide to go somewhere more exotic, like Bali, Indonesia, or Thailand, for instance, you can combine having your dental treatment carried out with a luxury holiday abroad.
- Some companies can book a whole package for you that could involve flights, airport transfers, accommodation, etc., making the process smooth and hassle-free.
- The standard of care and the expertise of the implant surgeon could be just as good as here in the UK, if not better.
Why think twice? : The Cons of getting them Abroad
Every year, many people consider travelling abroad for dental implants. Dental practices in Vietnam, for instance, often advertise as being cheaper than here in Australia. Still, there are lots of risks that come with travelling abroad for implant treatment or any other dental work. Before you commit to anything, you must be fully aware of the risks involved and what to expect.
- Communication problems. The language barrier is the obvious factor to consider. Some dentists will speak very good English, whereas some will not. Should any complications arise during surgery or after your treatment, you certainly don’t want to be in a position where you don’t understand what’s happening.
- Professional Accreditation. Research the dentist carrying out the procedure and check their qualifications. Also, look for reviews about the dental clinic that you wish to travel to.
- Implant Procedure. Thoroughly research the procedure you are having done and ensure that you have been told beforehand what to expect during treatment, what side effects or discomfort you may experience, and how to care for your new teeth.
- Safety Standards. Find out what will happen if you experience any problems once you return home. Is the work guaranteed? Would you have to return to the country where you had the implants placed, and if so, who covers the cost of the treatment?
- Implant Brand and Quality. Bear in mind that there are over 50 different types of implant systems currently being used worldwide, and if anything should go wrong, it may be very difficult to find a UK dentist who is trained in that particular system. Ask for your records in English with details of what implant system has been used so that your dentist back home has a full description of your procedure.
- Handling post-op complications. Getting dental implants shouldn’t be rushed. Failure rates for dental implants are higher when the procedure is hurried. Here in the States, we take all of the necessary steps to ensure that your implants will be a success––detailed imaging at your initial consultation, bone grafts if necessary, and guided implant placement so we can place the implants precisely where they need to be, and allowing sufficient time for the implants and jaw bone to grow together to provide a stable anchor for replacement teeth.
- Insurance coverage. Most travel insurance policies only cover you for emergency dental care – not procedures you choose to have (known as “elective treatment”). This means that if something goes wrong during a planned visit to a dental clinic abroad and you require additional care or have to postpone your flights, you could end up heavily out of pocket.
Many countries certainly offer great potential for a dental holiday and are well worth considering if you hope to save money by getting dental work overseas. However, dental tourism isn’t right for everyone, and if you want to know more about what you should expect and have a clear standard as to how dental implant treatment happens, do not hesitate to contact DDSS. Contact us at (02) 9158 6328 to talk to our dental team and set an appointment.