03 Oct How to minimise risk factors of dental implant work overseas
It is staggering the number of people having dental treatment overseas and the numbers keep increasing. Whilst everyone is happy when things go right ; when things go wrong , there are a few issues to consider, especially because the main treatment done overseas is related to implant work.
The Dental Community is in part responsible for creating an over expectation that an implant supported restoration will last forever or close to it. We know that there is not a dental treatment that can be considered everlasting (saved the extraction of a tooth), so it is time that we, as dentists, remove the idea of treatments lasting to eternity. Unfortunately that idea is quite ingrained in people’s mind so it will take some time to convey the proper information.
We know that about 50 % of all implants or implant supported restorations will present some problems after 7 years. We also know that about 30% of the population or more will suffer from gum disease after the age of 30. Implants and natural teeth present the same problems.
Since the overseas treatment boom started about 4-5 years ago, we might be soon receiving an increasing number or problems related to these treatments.
The treatments of problems arising from implant work are quite expensive and technically demanding , so the best approach would be to prevent them or minimise the risk factors.
Like in anything in life, the best option is communication, so we urge you to discuss your wishes with your dentist in your place of residence so you have an idea of the options available and cost. Ask him/her to give you some notes in case something information is lost or forgotten.
Whilst overseas, you should demand the same standard of care , in other words, to be fully informed of your condition, the options, cost, advantages and disadvantages of not only each option but also of having the treatment done overseas (beyond the financial ones). You should also ask about the prognosis of the treatment done and how to approach any problems (a loose implant, a loose crown, infection of the gum surrounding the implant, a broken screw, etc).
Finally, you are entitled to ask for all clinical notes, and it is possibly the best way we might be able to assist you is by having all notes related to the surgery (e.g. type and brand of implants ,torque used, grafting materials) and restorative procedures (e.g. type of abutment, torque used, type of crown and cement used).
The implants and abutments have a sticker provided by the manufacturer to identify them, these information should be supplied to you. Ask whether the implant to be used is also used at your place of residence and /or there are compatibles with that particular system available at home.
You might now realise that the call to only tighten a loose crown over an implant, or that the implant only needs to have the crown placed might involve more than just that.
Until our next blog…