Dental tourism risks and dental implant dental tourism risks
Dental tourism risks are very real and there is no recourse for patients that have bad work or end up with major infections or permanent damage or nerve damage. All on 4 and dental implants are the highest risk of having major problems. Most patients looking at dental tourism are looking for cheaper costs so I have a post on cheaper All on 4 prosthesis and cheaper dental implants. To find out what costs are in your area you can always use the fair health consumer website.
The biggest issue with dental tourism risks are that they are real and you have no recourse
The most common dental tourism risk is simply getting bad work done. However, if you are simply picking your dentistry on price you very well can get bad work in the US as well. While there is good work in other countries most of the cheapest work is of low quality. The old adage of you get what you pay for holds true for almost everything. I am examples of things friends or I have seen but there is also literature with many more examples of terrible things happening to patients.
Risk of infection from inferior work from dental tourism
There is always a risk of infection when doing dental work. This increases when the work is of lower quality and when there is not good communication between doctor and patient, like when there is a language difference.
In this case really bad dentistry leads to infection in the baby teeth and the child ends up with puss draining out from around the baby teeth. A US dentist I know had to remove the infected teeth. This type of care is dangerous for a child.
The biggest risk for dental tourism is there are no follow up visits and there is a big language issue. Below is another case where the girl nearly went septic. The doctors in Mexico left gauze in the extraction site. The patient was unaware that this was done. This would kill her if the dentist did not remove it.
Dental tourism dental implants
Dental implants are probably the number one thing people are traveling aboard for. It is also the most risky. Few foreign centers utilize guided surgery or even 3D imagining. Implant surgical complications can occur and so can implant restorative complications. There is also infection concerns in facilities that are not being monitored by anyone.
Dental tourism and dental implant surgical complications
There is a very real risk that you will have permanent numbness if the doctor places an implant in the wrong place or if the doctor drills too deep. In the US you will see it on every consent form. You won’t see this on any foreign paperwork because if that happens you are on your own. By on your own I mean no US dentist will touch you or help you.
That may seem cold hearted but the reality is once this occurs it’s an easy lawsuit in the US. Therefore no US dentist will be willing to involve themselves in a situation that the responsible party is not legally responsible. That leaves only the kind hearted dentist that tries to help you as the one that can successfully be sued. Part of the reason the costs are cheaper with dental tourism is you can’t sue there and you can here. In the US we factor in the costs of a potential pay out for poor outcome, which is a small part of why care costs more. You get what you pay for.
If you have experienced numbness from a dental implant surgery in a foreign country here are some tips on dental nerve injury, like I said though, do not expect many US dentists to be willing to help you.
Dental implant crown complications from dental tourism.
There are over a thousand different types of dental implants in the world. If you go to another country you may get a system that no one in the US can even get parts for due to FDA clearance. So what happens when you have a problem with it? The IHDE Tramonte style dental implants are popular in India and in the US we can’t get any parts so if you have a problem plan another trip back to India! You can these on the bottom of the strange implants blog. A case I recently saw on DT that was just an overall terrible mess from India with the IHDE implants can be seen here.
Here is someone that had some sort of implant(s) in Brazil. I have no idea what these implants are and can can not image how one would get a crown to stay on that. The patient came into a friend’s office with the crowns off and broken. There is nothing anyone in the US can do with that mess. They were only a few months old.
Infection control standards with dental tourism.
I am not saying they are not working in a clean environment but that there is no organization checking to oversee that like there is in the US. Every US dental office has multiple federal and state organizations checking equipment and facility safety.
Dental tourism for dental full mouth rehabilitation and all on 4 dental implant cases.
I have seen two cases of these in my office for a consult only, one was from India and one was from Costa Rica. Both were a total wreck, although mostly because cheap materials not from surgical skill. They were not dissimilar to Holden’s case here.
Dental tourism for your denatl crowns or dental veneers
I don’t think anyone would use dental tourism for a cosmetic procedure like dental veneers but if you are thinking about it just don’t. Veneers are too technique sensitive to be done cheaply. You would be better off getting crowns on the teeth if you are that desperate because it is easier on the dentist and the the dental technician making them to give you a decent result. A well made dental crown is not difficult to do if someone takes the time to do it right. The problem is you will have no idea if it is done right. A couple things you can check though are floss contact and margin fit.
The floss test
The floss check you can do and they should do before cementing them. It consists of ensuring that very thin floss like glide snaps through the space with resistance. It should be tight enough to physically snap, not just slide through. This is ensuring a good fit between the teeth so that people do not trap food between the teeth.
The x-ray test
Finally, the margin fit you can do with a little knowledge. The dentist should take and x-ray of the crown to ensure proper margin fit to the tooth. The edge of the crown will ideally appear seamless with the edge of the tooth. Two things that make for a bad crown are overhangs and open margins. An overhang is where the crown goes past where the tooth ends and every time you floss it the floss gets stuck under the overhang. An open margin is where we can see black space on the x-ray between the edge of the crown and the tooth. The reality is every crown has an open margin but it becomes apparent on the x-ray when it is too large for our cement to fill the gap. If the dentist takes an x-ray to check this, not all do, then you can check it yourself.