Should I travel abroad for Dental Implants?


Here a patient is considering Dental Tourism, Dr Joe Bhat advises against it and answers his queries on Dental Implants:

'Dear Dr Joe Bhat, …I have been researching various dentists in the Uk and abroad re-a dental implant for missing front tooth. Treatment times vary between 1-2 days or up to 4-5 days for initial visit to carry out necessary scan and/or OPG, placement of implant and fit temporary crown. Final visit varies between 2-3 days or up to 5 to 10 days to complete treatment. In some cases, I have been informed it can take up to three trips with shorter visits. I can make no sense of the different treatment times. Some of the longer treatments are attached to reputable clinics with laboratories on site, the opposite of what I might expect unless they are making completely sure every eventuality is covered?  All are using premium implants such as Nobel biocare, Astra tech or Bredent.. Would you be able to offer an opinion on this variation and advise me accordingly? Dental tourism is quite a minefield to uncover and understand, as you probably know? So your expert opinion will be gratefully received.Thank you.'

Thank you for your email to and I entirely understand your predicament! The treatment time involved in implant replacement of the missing tooth varies a lot depending upon the clinical circumstances. It is practically impossible to have a formula that suits all and understandably therefore you have found the information regarding the treatment procedure rather sketchy. The cost of treatment entirely depends on what is required for the treatment (for example whether it needs bone grafting or not), the clinician undertaking it (whether the clinician is a registered specialist or a general practitioner with interest in implant dentistry), the laboratory being used for the final prosthesis (as some of the laboratory work is sometimes outsourced outside of the UK) and the type of implant system being used.
Unless one looks at the clinical scenario it is impossible to give either time frame or cost implications for a particular implant procedure. On average, a fairly straightforward case would take three months to complete and requires 4 visits. An extremely challenging one on the other hand could take, say, 10 visits over a period of one year. CT scans and radiographs along with a good detailed dental examination would be necessary in working out the treatment journey.
Even when an implant procedure is undertaken by an experienced clinician, there are very small occasions when things do not go to plan. Hence, I would strongly discourage dental implant tourism as you would have very little comeback on the procedure done. I have been practising implant dentistry for 16 years and have placed over 6000 dental implants and I can categorically say that in those years I have had to rectify a number of cases which have been done abroad which are extremely challenging to do as a number of these implant systems are rather obscure. I would encourage you to find a specialist, ideally local to your location to help you through your treatment. I hope the above has been of some help. With kind regards, Dr Joe Bhat.

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