I want to get dental implants for a few teeth I have missing. I’ve been to a dentist and he quoted me a large amount of money for four dental implants. Next, I went to Clear Choice Dental Implant Center and they want to remove the whole arch and do an All-on-Four Dental Implants procedure. The price was close to what my dentist quoted me. When I told them I could get just the four dental implants I need without taking out all my other teeth for the same price, they came down by $15,000! I was stunned. There are two things that worry me. First, I would have to take out the rest of my teeth and that sort of bugs me. Second, I have heard that Clear Choice is not very good at following up so patients are just left on their own. Another friend of mine went to Costa Rica to have some medical procedure done. She wanted a tubal ligation reversed. In the U.S., they considered her too old to do that, but she had it done in Costa Rica no problem and for a lot cheaper than here. I was thinking it might be possible to do my dental implants there. Do you know of people who have gone to Costa Rica for dental work? Did it turn out okay?
I’m very glad you wrote. Let’s start with Clear Choice. They are a dental chain and while their dentists tend to be good, skilled dentists, their corporate model leads them to a one-size fits all category. Their go-to procedure is the all on 4, as you have discovered by their recommendation to you. The all-on-4 dental implant procedure is really designed for people who have lost all their teeth, but do not have enough bone structure for them to get implant overdentures. This does not sound like you fit that category. You have healthy teeth and the best thing you can do for them is keep all the healthy teeth that are possible for you. Plus, with this procedure, if one dental implant fails, the whole unit has to be redone. You cannot simply replace the one with the problem. I am not going to recommend them to you.
That brings us to Costa Rica. Dental tourism is a growing industry. When you are dealing with simple procedures and they go well, it can be a way to save some money, but there are risks. Many of these countries do not have the same legal requirements and standards that we have for our medical practitioners and supplies. As an example, many of these countries have no laws about sterilizing their equipment. It is up to the dentist if and how often he does that. There have been many people who traveled out of the country for dental care only to end up with an infection.
When you factor in that dental implants are one of the most advanced procedures around, you need to be even more cautious. If something goes wrong, the consequences are not as simple as fixing a faulty dental crown. Complications with dental implants can have serious repercussions, such as losing part of your jaw, perforating your sinus cavity, landing on nerve endings that leave in you tremendous pain, and many more. Plus, if you were worried about the lack of follow-up care you would get with Clear Choice, what type of follow-up do you think you will get from another country?
Your best and safest option is to go to a private dentist with post-doctoral training in dental implants and let him provide you with the quality work you should have and the post-operative care you need. Think of dental implants not just as a way to get some quality teeth, but also an investment in your quality of life.
This blog is brought to you by the Decatur, AL Dentists Drs. Drake and Wallace.