Thank you very much for taking the time to leave comments on our site. You bring up some excellent points that are definitely worth discussing.
I’m actually finishing up a detailed article on the procedure, healing time and aftercare that will cover some topics that the website is currently lacking. Yes, standard practice has been (and still is for most clinics) to put the implants in using a 2 or 3 stage process allowing 3-6 months for osseointegration before attaching the abutments/crowns and loading the implants.
However, in recent years, research has demonstrated that in certain situations, dentists can immediately load implants either the same day or shortly after they have been placed. One study tried to find out if there is a difference in success rates between immediately and early loaded implants compared with conventionally loaded implants. It found no evidence that attaching artificial teeth either immediately, after 6 weeks (early) or after at least 3 months (conventional) led to any important differences in the failure of the implant or the artificial tooth, or to the amount of bone which surrounded the implant. That said, even single implants in solid bone should have a period of no-load to minimize the risk of initial failure.
I’m not an expert when it comes to dental tourism, but I’m learning a lot from visitors and commenters who have gotten dental implants done abroad. I’m in the process of interviewing several people who traveled to Egypt, India and Mexico to get dental implants in order to collect information about their experiences and share it with visitors to the website. All of the information I get will be compiled into an article about “Dental Implant Tourism”. I am actually going to add several of your questions to the list that I use during interviews so I can get answers to them straight from patients’ mouths.
I definitely agree with you that it’s just as (or more) important to consider the quality of the treatment instead of making decisions based on the cost alone. That’s where this article comes in handy: https://www.dentalimplantcostguide.com/finding-a-good-dentist/ That said, the cost of implants in North America is prohibitive for many people looking for long term solutions to their dental problems, so they are willing to take a chance on a cheaper alternative.
I think it’s important to note that the quality of treatment overseas isn’t inherently worse. I believe that there are clinics abroad that are just as good as some of the highest quality professionals in North America and at the same time, there are inexperienced and careless dentists in North America who are worse than the lower quality clinics abroad. I advise everyone who is looking to get implants to do their research and ask a lot of questions as finding the right dentist has biggest impact on the probability of success.
Failure can be caused by number of factors https://www.dentalimplantcostguide.com/problems/, most of which become evident less than a few months after the procedure is completed. Success is primarily dependent on the dentist’s skill, quality and quantity of the bone available at the site, the patient’s oral hygiene, and the most important factor is primary implant stability.
Long term failures are due to either loss of bone around the tooth and/or gums due to peri-implantitis or a mechanical failure of the implant. While large-scale, long-term studies are scarce, several systematic reviews estimate the long-term (five to ten years) survival of dental implants at 93-98% percent depending on their use. Simply put, if your implant has lasted 5 years, it will likely continue to work (unless you take a blow to the face).
So, as long as similar (quality) procedures and materials are being used and the dentist determines that your jaw is healthy enough, it all comes down to the experience and talent of the dentist.
The cost depends on the country you go to, but I think you’d be surprised by how cheap the cost of living is. Some clinics even offer free accommodation at a local hotel or other perks to entice medical tourists even more. The process typically involves 2 trips: one to have implants done and temporary crowns put on and the second one 4-6 months later for checkup/testing and the permanent crowns. In some cases, everything is done in a single 2-3 week stay. But you’re right that traveling abroad is typically more cost effective for people who need a lot of work done.
I just published an interview I did with an Austrialian woman who had a bunch of work done in India that you might be interested in: https://www.dentalimplantcostguide.com/india/ She goes into a lot of detail regarding the costs she incurred during her trip.
I hope this helps!