I want to get dental implants for a few missing teeth I have but for the cost my dentist quoted me, I could literally fly to Costa Rica, have the procedure done there, stay for a couple of weeks during recuperation, get a little sight seeing done and STILL have money left over. If you can’t give me some seriously good reasons not to, that is where I’m headed.
I’m very glad you wrote before finalizing any plans. You are not the first person to consider dental tourism. When there is a happy ending, you can save some money. When there is not a happy ending, the results vary from expensive to devastating.
One of the reasons dental care is more expensive here is because of the standards we hold both the practitioners and the materials to. The fewer the regulations, the cost will go down. Unfortunately, with rare exceptions, so does the quality of the care you receive.
This is even more dangerous with an advanced procedure, such as dental implants. Even in the United States, this is one of the leading areas for malpractice cases. But, take the most negligent dentist in the United States and you are still likely to get better care than you will in Costa Rica. Plus, in the U. S. you have recourse if things go poorly.
There aren’t the same standards in places such as Costa Rica. Many of these spots that are popular for dental tourism because of their low prices do not even have laws that require their dentists to sterilize equipment between patients. If you were to go there to get a dental crown, that might be okay. Though, depending on the sanitary measures the dentist adheres to you may end up with an infection.
With a dental implant, the risks are much greater. The fixtures could corrode or not be placed precisely opening the door to a serious infection in your jawbone. They could place the fixture on a nerve which will leave you with numbness, facial paralysis, or serious pain. There have even been cases where patients lost a portion of their jaw because a serious infection set in. What will you do if you have an emergency situation? It’s not like you can call the dentist and have him meet you at the office in 30 minutes.
Another consideration is follow-up. How many times are you willing to travel to Costa Rica for follow-up appointments? At the very least, you would have to go once for the surgery, then several times to check how osseointegration is fairing, then again to have the dental crowns placed on the implant fixtures.
If I were you, I would do it the safest way possible. It may cost you a little more, but it is worth the peace of mind to know you are getting the best care possible.
This blog is brought to you by Hoffman Estates Dentist Dr. William Becker.