Dental Implant Treatments Abroad: Do you Know the Risks?

When international travel restrictions lift  in the near future, some might be tempted by cheaper teeth implant offers overseas.

Although we are still some way off ‘normality’, the signs are there that things are slowly starting to open up. Included in this, albeit cautiously, is international travel.

Whilst most people considering this will be doing so for a week or two in the sun, there are likely to be some who have been looking into having cosmetic dental treatments carried out abroad, with dental implants being the most popular of these.

One of the main reasons that people might choose this option is cost. Most of you will have heard of someone going overseas and getting teeth implants at a much cheaper rate than in Australia. There are a number of possible reasons for this and some of them come with risks attached. In today’s blog, we will take a look at these along with why you should consider having dental implant treatment at Riversdale Dental.

First of all, we should state that these possible criticisms may not apply to all international dentists. There are many highly skilled dentists throughout the world, and indeed, many now practice in Australia. There may be small savings to be made internationally due to currency exchange rates and the cost of living in those countries. Once airfares and accommodation costs are taken into account though, it is less likely to be the bargain that you had hoped for.

What are the risks of going abroad for dental treatments?

  1. If things don’t go to plan, there’s rarely anything you can do about it. Unlike here in Australia, opting for dental procedures abroad can leave you exposed if things aren’t as plain sailing as you’d hoped. Complaining and suing is difficult, and it can often be impossible to get your money back.
  2. In the case of the above, it is not uncommon for individuals to return home and have to pay full price for corrective dental procedures (often resulting in them paying double what they would have paid if they’d have opted for an Aussie dentist in the first place).
  3. Exposure to unnecessary procedures. Premature and irreversible treatments can be carried out for a “quick fix” result. This often includes the removal of healthy teeth or the fitting of unnecessary crowns and bridges. This can lead to painful treatments later down the line that could have been avoided altogether.
  4. Of course, infections are a potential risk after any procedure, however if the dental clinic you’re using has sub-par hygiene standards, you’re much more likely to contract an infection in the following days or weeks.
  5. If you’re choosing a dental clinic abroad for your procedure, there is a risk that the language barrier could cause some confusion. With any treatment you want to feel confident that they understand exactly what you want to achieve, and likewise you want to feel assured you have properly understood the different stages of your treatment.
  6. Whilst you may not be able to receive your dental procedure under Medicare, opting for treatment here in Australia can ensure that if something were to go wrong, you are protected under Australian law to claim under medical negligence. This right is lost once you opt for treatment abroad, so it is incredibly important that you do thorough research beforehand.
  7. One way that some dentists might reduce their costs is to use inferior quality materials. This will cut costs obviously, but the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ applies here. Implants have to be made from specific materials to allow the osseointegration process to occur (where the bone and implant fuse together). If cheaper materials are used, however skilled the dentist is, this process is unlikely to be as successful and could result in an unstable implant that will fail in the not so distant future.
  8. As stated before, there are some excellent dentists internationally. In less regulated areas of the world though, there may well be some who are only partially qualified at best. We would definitely recommend that you avoid using dentists in parts of the less developed world, however cheap they appear to be. Even in more advanced countries, the regulations and qualifications to become a dentist can differ. This means that they may not match the standard of oral care that you are used to in Australia. As placing dental implants is complex, this should give cause for concern.
  • Although dental implant placements have a very high success rate in Australia, any surgical treatment can potentially have problems that require follow up care afterwards. Even without this, Australian dentists will always monitor the treatment and be available if you have any concerns.

If there are any issues with your new implant, they are likely to occur a few days or weeks later when you are back home. Whereas, if done locally, you could just get in your car or travel on the bus for an appointment, a follow up visit to a dentist abroad will most likely involve a flight and hotel accommodation. This obviously adds significantly to the overall cost of your treatment and makes it much less viable financially. In addition to that, if the problem is due to substandard treatment or materials, do you really want to go back to the dentist where it happened?  You may not be able to have follow-up aftercare locally either. Many dentists are reluctant to deal with the aftermath of an inferior treatment that was done elsewhere.

Our advice then would be to recommend that you don’t go abroad for your dental implant treatment, however cheap and tempting it may be. Your oral health is important and not something to be gambled with.

If you have been thinking of having implants abroad, why not come and talk to us to see what we can offer. To arrange a consultation with one of our implant dentists, please call Riversdale  Dental on  03 9882 5566.