Should I go overseas for dental implants? With Dr Burhaan Kassim
At Southside Dental Implants in Brisbane we are noticing a spike in the number of Australians going to South-East Asian countries to have their dental implant treatment done.
I can understand why one may be tempted to do this. After all, you’re getting the SAME THING for less than eight times the price, right? Not to mention the holiday that comes with the package! Before I give you my opinion on overseas implant dentistry I would just like to diverge.
We here at Southside Dental Implants in Brisbane are very open minded about things. I personally don’t discount or shrug things off without thinking about them first, especially on issues about a person’s well-being.
I am delighted when a patient presents to our practice here in Brisbane explaining to me their intention of having implant dentistry done overseas instead of Australia so I can potentially guide and inform them about the positives as well as the pit-falls. They can then make an informed decision after understanding that it may NOT be the same thing as they thought.
Conversely I am distraught when a patient presents to my practice having implant dentistry done overseas that’s now gone bad.
There is so much that can go wrong in implant dentistry if done incorrectly and the solution involves trying to track down the overseas clinic to ask them what type of dental implant they have had done, a seemingly simple task that in my experience is not so simple. I have noticed a strong upwards trend in these patients and this is what has compelled me to write this article.
What do you know about dental implants?
The father of modern implant dentistry, Professor Per-Ingvar Brånemark, originally recommended a dental implant treatment sequence of six months just for the surgical phase of treatment followed by the prosthetic phase, a total treatment time of more than 8 months.
With improvement of dental implant surfaces most dental implant manufacturers now state that they are happy in the RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES to load the implant after 6 weeks. They also state that they are happy for a temporary crown to be placed on the implant straight away in some very LIMITED SITUATIONS as long as the crown is just for looks purposes and not for function and does not have any bite force pressure.
· Dental implant failure
This is the most important point as it is the main reason I have seen so many catastrophic failures from overseas dental implant practices. Early or immediate loading of dental implants (therefore placing a crown/tooth on the implant screw as soon as it has been inserted in to the jaw bone) can work….in about 5% of cases within a strict set of rules.
Overseas dentists often claim they only need 2 weeks or less to complete your treatment in all situations. To make matters worse, if a case is failing you have no idea until you are back home. This happened to a gentlemen to me the other day, he contacted the treating dentist in China who politely offered to re-do the treatment again for no cost!
· Dental implant maintenance
In addition it is important to realise that dental implants are not without maintenance requirements. The dental literature tells us that if you have an implant, you are likely to at some stage experience some complications, although usually minor and easy to fix. If the type of implant placed overseas is not available in Australia, your implant dentist may not be able to access/order the required componentry required to fix the problem.
So if you do decide to have dental implants placed overseas please get the brand/ dimension/lot number and reference number of every single implant that has been placed.
Also, it is essential practice to have your implant monitored annually to check for the development of problems……the best person to do this surely is the person that has placed the implant in the first place. Not so easy of your implant dentist is overseas.
I have even experienced patients trying to call overseas numbers to access information about treatment that had been done on themselves and struggle to find someone they can understand on the phone.
· Infection control
There was recently a problem in the media about contaminated berries. People contracted Hepatitis from consuming these products which originated from overseas. Do you really want someone performing dental implant surgery on you in an overseas dental clinic that is not subject to the requirements of the Dental Board of Australia?
Among the plethora of choice of bone augmentation materials used for dental implant surgery around the world are human cadaver sources – are you comfortable with that?
If Australian customs is so strict about bringing diseased produce in to the country are you happy for someone to use instruments and materials in your mouth overseas?
I am in no way suggesting overseas dentists are not using appropriate sterilisation. I am simply saying that they are not subject to the scrutiny of the Dental Board of Australia and there is no recompense that can take place if something goes pear-shaped.
Getting a dental implant overseas
PITFALL 1 – not enough time overseas to have the dental implant placed and loaded after an appropriate healing period
PITFALL 2 – Difficulty in maintaining implant in Australia. Implant brand and implant componentry may not be available in Australia and not registered by TGA
PITFALL 3 – No accountability for infection control standards and additional bone augmentation materials may not be safe or registered under the TGA
What do you think?
If you are thinking of having a dental implant or dental implants in Brisbane or overseas, please feel free to contact us here at Southside Dental Implants in Brisbane as we offer a free first consultation.
I, Dr Burhaan Kassim or any of our friendly Southside Dental Implant team are happy to advise you on your individual circumstance. There are often different dental implant options available and it may be an option to accept a slightly lesser option that still involves implants but enables you to have your treatment in Australia as opposed to the Rolls Royce option overseas.
This is, in my opinion, safer and what I recommend to my patients and friends in this dilemma where they have a limited budget. If after reading this you do decide to have your dental implant treatment overseas, I sincerely wish you all the very best and I hope all goes well.
If you are still unsure please consider carefully, and remember it’s hard to judge the quality of the final outcome from a website…even if their waiting room does look like the lobby of the Palazzo Versace.