It may sound like a wonderful idea at first: an exciting vacation with a surgical procedure on the side. And the seemingly lower price may be an incentive, too. But when it comes to having oral surgery done overseas, there’s a lot you don’t know – and that should prompt you to think things over carefully.
Every year, more than 2 million people worldwide have medical or dental procedures done in other countries. The figures indicate that medical tourism – the practice of taking an overseas vacation in order to receive lower-cost care – is a growing trend, especially for costly procedures or those not covered by insurance.
However, the dental implant that an overseas practitioner may offer at rock-bottom prices could cost you in the long run. Here’s what you need to know about implants, medical tourism and your oral health.
ORAL SURGERY OVERSEAS: A CLOSER LOOK
Medical tourism has been popular with the international set for decades, but overseas dental care, including oral surgery, is relatively new on the scene. A European study shows that some 260,000 people get dental care in other countries each year. Dental industry officials in the U.S. believe the practice is growing by about 20 percent per year.
Having dental implants done in another country may seem like a great way to save money, especially if you are replacing more than one tooth. But when you do the math, the savings may not be there. Add in the cost of airfare and accommodations and you’ll see that your end cost will equal or exceed the cost of working with an oral surgeon in your hometown.
NOT A SAME-DAY PROCEDURE
The other point to keep in mind is that dental implants involve a series of steps. Unlike a routine dental procedure such as a cleaning or filling, you will need to visit the oral surgeon for an initial exam, at which time the surgeon will determine if you are a good candidate for implants.
This first consult is a very important conversation, and having a clear understanding between you and your surgeon is key. While overseas practitioners may speak excellent English, they don’t have the benefit of knowing you, your dentist or your full oral care history. This can make the planning process difficult – and even open the door for needless risks.
If you are approved for surgery, there are many steps involved. The oral surgeon will install a metal post directly into your jawbone and, in many cases, add a temporary tooth that must later be replaced with a custom-matched tooth made to complement your existing teeth perfectly. In most cases, there are at least two more visits to the oral surgeon, sometimes weeks apart.
With this much skill and expertise involved, not to mention the extended timing and unknowns, you can see why working with an oral surgeon near your home makes the most sense. All surgery carries a certain level of risk, and trusting your care to a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon who has served thousands of patients in your area is a wise move.
WORRIED ABOUT DENTAL IMPLANTS? DR. FAROLE CAN HELP
As you can see, there are many steps involved in preparing for dental implants. Figuring out when to have implants done, planning for time away from work and other activities and figuring out estimated costs are all important considerations. Dr. Farole is happy to walk you through the process and answer all the questions on your mind right now. Give our Bala Cynwyd office a call today to schedule an initial consultation.