The phrase “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” really applies to the idea of getting a dental implant in Bangkok. Australians are finding that dental implant procedures are up to a third cheaper in exotic locations like Bali, Bangkok and Thailand, and of course the surge in dental tourism has seen thousands of locals heading off to sandy shores to combine a luxury vacation with dental implants.
Who wouldn’t want to get more for less?
Well, the problem is that you aren’t necessarily always getting more. In fact, you’re taking a rather large and uncalculated risk for a number of reasons. Here are some of the risk factors for having dental implants done in foreign countries, based on online reviews from dental tourists.
You’re outside of local boards of regulations
The dental industry is strictly regulated in Australia and by working with a foreign dental processional, if your procedure does not go to plan, there is not much recourse you can follow. And, considering the high capital output and risks involved, you should always consider the ‘what if’ scenario.
International dental professionals have different qualifications and standards, and locals will not have the same experience as they would with Australian dentists.
The standards are different
Your idea of a natural-looking crown may not be the same as the foreign dentist’s. The size of the dental implants used in your mouth might work for local people, but may be too small for your mouth and cause complications later on.
There have been stories from returning dental tourists about unsterile clinics and secondary infections as well. Australian dentists must comply with very stringent infection control laws that are not in force in other countries. These are all risks that need to be weighed up very carefully.
Communication can be a barrier
The typical dental implant procedure can take up to 18 months to complete and it requires a strong collaboration between the patient and the professionals to be successful. It requires planning, follow up visits and post-surgical care over a long period of time.
Some dental implants procedures make provision for the local dental practitioner to be involved once the patient returns home, but communications between professionals is just as difficult and does not always work out as planned.
Some dentists speak very good English and can communicate effectively but you never really know what’s going to happen until you arrive.
The dental implant procedure takes time
Each stage of the procedure requires some time, between treatments, ranging from a few weeks to a few months, in order for your body to heal.
Some patients opt to make two trips over the course of their dental implant in Bangkok but of course this does eat away at any cost savings you are able to make.
What kind of dental implants will be used?
There are thousands of implant manufacturers around the world, all ranging in price and quality. If your procedure cost is significantly lower it is highly likely that a cheaper implant will be used.
Bear in mind that cheaper implants have shorter lifespans and it may not last as long as you would like, or as long as the implant your local dental professional would use.
Secondly, there is a chance that the implant used may not have spares so readily available and that your local dentist may struggle for replacement parts in the months or years following your surgery. While you might stay in Bangkok for two weeks your dental implant should last you for a number of years, and needs to remain secure and functional for the entire period.
What about emergencies?
In the event that something does go very wrong with your dental implants remember that local dentists are trained to deal with dental emergencies. A foreign doctor may not have the experience or resources to provide you with the level of care needed to manage a dental emergency.
In summary: as a patient you have much more protection having your dental implants in Australia. Follow up care is much simpler and a close working relationship with your dental professional means you manage any potential problems as soon as they appear.
If you absolutely want to pursue the idea of getting your dental implants done overseas, this is your prerogative but you must do very through research and work in conjunction with a local dentist for guidance. Make sure you have the relevant travel insurance to protect you and read up on other traveller’s reviews first. Always work with a local ground handler or intermediary so that you do have some recourse.
Rather speak to a professional before you book a dental implant in Bangkok. Some dentists offer payment plans but if not, at least you can get some solid professional advice about dental implants. Call us: (02) 9476 1211