When looking at the cost of dental implant surgery, many people feel intimidated by the price point and immediately start looking for other options. There has been a rise in dental patients seeking treatment abroad to find more affordable procedures.
The prices of these overseas dental implants can be 60 to 70% cheaper than prices in Australia, and in 2017, around 10,000 Australians did make a choice to seek dental implants overseas. However, the Australian Dental Association warns against this risky practice for a number of reasons.
Lack of treatment planning
When dental tourism companies try to find a dentist in another country who will perform your desired surgery for a cheaper cost, they will often try to send the overseas dentist X-rays and records of your dental and oral health to prep them for the procedure.
However, given the abrupt nature of dental procedures that happen as a part of the dental tourism industry, any treatment planning is undertaken very quickly, unlike with dentists in Australia. This is partially because a dentist overseas will only be able to work and consult with you personally within the time that you will be visiting their country.
This can lead to abridged or otherwise compromised treatment for you, which could have negative consequences should something go wrong during the overseas dental implant procedure. This is especially true for patients who experience complications that could have been avoided with a longer amount of treatment planning.
In terms of dental implants specifically, post-surgical additions such as crown lengthening or the re-contouring of the gums around the implant may be neglected or ignored, which can make for a less aesthetically pleasing or comfortable result.
Lack of treatment quality
Although there are a number of great dentists operating abroad, the same cannot be said of every dentist offering overseas dental implant surgeries.
Dentists who offer the cheapest and most tempting options for these major procedures are likely to fall short of the standards that dentists in Australia are required to meet before practicing dentistry.
This could lead to infection in your mouth or gums and could present the possibility of cross-contamination, which is not something a patient at an Australian dentist would have to worry about.
Some dentists abroad may also use older implant designs or implants from lesser known and less trusted manufacturers to cut corners on prices. These dentists may also have limited experience treating patients chairside, and this could come back to hurt you during or after your overseas dental implant procedure.
Lack of experience
In addition to a lack of chairside experience, other countries might not have the stringent upskilling requirements for dental professionals that Australia does, meaning they are not required to attend further training as new technology emerges, and therefore do not possess the maximum skills that a dentist in Australia would have.
With overseas dental tourism, you are trusting the dental tourism company and the dentist themselves that this dental practice knows how to insert and work with implant technology. You are also trusting that this dentist knows how to complete the surgery to the standards of other Australian dental professionals, which is not always an easy thing to trust.
Lack of follow-up
When you get a dental implant close to home, you have the opportunity to go back to your dentist for a follow-up appointment with relatively little difficulty. The same cannot be said if you get a dental implant overseas, and do not have the same access to the dental professional who performed your surgery.
Some dental tourists will book further trips to the place where they had their surgery so that they can visit the dentist for follow-up appointments, but this excess transportation can be expensive and can defeat the initial purpose of getting a dental implant overseas for the bargain it would provide in terms of cost.
Recovery time is also different for each patient. Complications may occur when the window of time to visit the dentist overseas has passed, and it can be difficult for a local dental professional to treat you if they do not have complete records from the overseas dentist.
Ensuring affordable dental care at home
In reality, one factor that can drive up the cost of dental procedures is leaving a problem alone for too long without seeking treatment. Make sure to book a consultation with an experienced and skilled dental practice such as Dentistry on Solent as soon as you realise you may have a problem. We can help you search for ways to make the procedures you may need more affordable. In the meantime, here are some tips for making dental care more cost-effective.
Research discount dental care plans that are part of private health insurance programs. Some treatments (such as dental implants) will not be entirely covered by insurance, but it’s a great place to start.
Seeing your dentist regularly can help catch problems before they become too serious, so make sure you book routine dental check-ups twice a year.
Talk to Dentistry on Solent about any other options to make dental care more reasonably priced for your budget! For more information about our dental implant treatments or finance options, please call our practice on (02) 9158 6137.