Dental implants have changed dentistry for the better by offering a permanent solution to replacing missing teeth with state of the art devices that look and feel like your natural teeth. But this incredible technology and the skills required to execute the procedure properly does come at a higher price than other dental treatments. Some patients are opting to have their dental implant procedure overseas in countries like Thailand because they believe it is cheaper. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of the dental implant procedure, there are a number of risks involved with dental tourism that may cost you more over the long term.
The Dental Implant Procedure
Dental implants consist of a small titanium post that is embedded in the jawbone to create an anchor for an artificial tooth. Titanium is a biocompatible material that bonds with tissue and bone over time to strengthen the jaw and stabilise the artificial crown, which is why the dental implant procedure is often achieved over two or more surgeries.
During the first surgery, the maxillofacial surgeon prepares the socket and makes an incision in the gum tissue to expose the jawbone. A small hole is drilled into the bone, and the post is placed inside, then the gum is replaced and stitched. The patient must wait until the incision heals before receiving the crown, which can take several weeks.
The second surgery consists of placing an abutment on the implant to which the artificial crown is connected.
Patients may also require additional surgeries such as bone grafts or a sinus lift to improve the strength of the jaw or make room for the implant. This can add extra recovery time to your overall healing timeline.
The Cost of Dental Implants in Thailand
Getting dental implants in Thailand can be up to 40% cheaper than getting them in Australia; however, many hidden costs can make dental implants in Thailand prohibitive. Patients must consider the cost of flights and accommodation, and if you require additional surgeries or a second appointment to place the crown, you should factor in extra travel costs as well as the cost of taking time off work. The original quoted price for dental implants in Thailand may also be a baseline price that does not include anaesthesia or the cost of materials, which means the overall costs of dental implants may be higher than you expect.
Risk of Dental Implants in Thailand
Increased Risk of Infection
Travelling exposes you to a different variety of pathogens than your body is used to in Australia. However, both during and after surgery, you are at an even greater risk of infection due to a lowered immune system.
It is also not recommended that patients fly for a week or two after surgery, as there is also an increased risk of thrombosis (blood clots). This means that you may need to extend your stay and incur additional travel costs.
Different Standards of Care and Skills
While dentists in Thailand are highly skilled and educated, they do not offer the same standard of care or adhere to the same procedural protocols as Australian dentists. This means that you may not receive the same standard of dentistry or aftercare.
Dental Governing Body
In Australia, dental practice, facilities, hygiene and professional development are tightly regulated by the Dental Board of Australia ensuring that all dentists adhere to the highest standards to protect the health and safety of their patients.
If you get dental implants in Thailand, while there is a governing body for dentists in Thailand, you are not guaranteed that they demand the same rigorous adherence to the standard of quality and hygiene as the Dental Board of Australia.
No Access to Dental Records
Australian dentists are required by law to keep stringent dental records of every patient, so they can provide quality, personalised care by tracking past dental issues, allergies and medications. If you elect to have dental implants in Thailand, your dentist will not have access to your dental records and explanations and instructions may get lost in translation if English is not your dentist’s native language.
No Safety Net
If the result is not what you expect, there is no avenue for recourse or recompense as insurance providers generally do not offer coverage for dental procedures overseas. This means that if you need to have your dental implant repaired or redone, you are going to incur extra out-of-pocket costs.
Complications can occur with many surgeries; if this does happen to you, it can be challenging to get in contact with your dentist in Thailand to arrange a consultation to address the problem. If you get your dental implants done in Australia, fixing any issues that arise are a quick phone call away.
Staying in Australia not only assures you of quality dental work, but also saves you money on travel costs and consultation fees.
If you need to replace a missing tooth or several missing teeth, call Dental Spot on (02) 9158 6115 to talk to our staff about how we can make dental implants an affordable and effective solution to restore your healthy and happy smile.