Are dental implants abroad or overseas really cheaper?
Many advertisements offering treatment in Costa Rica or other countries certainly make you think so. But I’ve seen many patients who have done exactly that and have came back not only with disappointments but also having to ultimately pay more.
One patient went to India only to come back with a poor fitting prosthesis and loose components. He went back to India to have it corrected only to face the same problems two months after his return to the US. Another patient went to Costa Rica for her implant treatment. Sure they placed the implants and the crowns but failed to provide comprehensive treatment and several months after her return, the adjacent teeth began to crumble. One tooth adjacent to one of the implants had a large abscess which was simply missed and not treated. Furthermore, one of the crowns came loose and getting back to Costa Rica to fix it was not exactly an easy option. She would have to take additional time off work to travel and incur more costs for flights and hotel. Both patients had to seek care from local prosthodontists to correct the problems which ultimately ended up costing them more.
In my experience, there are several problems with going for the cheaper dental implant treatments offered in clinics abroad:
- No comprehensive treatment approach- Proper dental treatment must be comprehensive and often requires a combination of oral surgery, gum treatment, possible root canal treatments, possible orthodontics, along with staged cosmetic dentistry. There is no way to provide such treatments over a weekend or even a week at such clinics. Therefore, they often place the implants without any regard for the overall health of the mouth and the other dentition. This often results in other problems and complications in long term.
- No continuity of care- Following treatment at such clinics, there is no continuity of care. Patients have to follow up with their local dentists who may or may not take responsibility for the work done. In addition, any problems that arise must be taken care of by the local dentist for additional costs.
- Not easily available if problems arise- With questionable quality of care and materials, problems can happen: loose crowns, loose implant screws, chipped porcelain, bite issues, gum inflammation, and others. And when such problems arise, it is very difficult for patients to go back abroad to the dentist who had provided the implant therapy. So patients have to seek care from local restorative dentists and incur additional cost for the treatment. As the result, patients end up paying much more than if they had just seen their local dentist and specialist for their implants.
- Questionable implants and materials- To account for cheaper treatments, many clinics have to use lower quality implants and restorative materials which in turn can compromise the results and increase complications.
- Questionable quality of work- There is a reason why people from other countries comes to the US for great medical and dental care and that is because of superior quality of care, highly trained specialists with qualifications, technology, and success. The low cost treatments offered to lure patients to clinics abroad are often associated with lower quality of work and poor prognosis.
I often read about people who say: “I am going abroad to get my dental implants for half the price while I take a vacation!” The reality is at the end of it all, most patients end up having to pay more and I don’t have to tell you that going for implant surgery and dental treatment is no vacation!