The escalating need for dental implant procedures has given rise to dental tourism, wherein people journey to foreign countries for cost-effective dental treatments. Thailand has emerged as a favourite hotspot for such services, offering dental implants at a significantly reduced price compared to Western countries. Nonetheless, patients must realise that the disadvantages of getting dental implants in Thailand often outweigh the benefits. In this conversation, we’ll explore the drawbacks of procuring dental implants in Thailand and emphasise the significance of considering all factors.
Understanding Dental Implants:
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots, typically titanium, that provide a permanent base for fixed, replacement teeth. They are an effective solution for people who suffer from lost, damaged, or decayed teeth. They are designed to blend in with your other teeth and are a popular and functional replacement for a missing tooth or teeth.
Procedure for Dental Implants
The process of getting dental implants usually involves several stages. It begins with a comprehensive examination, after which a customised treatment plan is prepared. The next step involves placing the implant into the missing tooth’s bone socket, followed by healing time which allows the jawbone to grow around the implant and secure it in the jaw. Once healed, an abutment is attached to the post to hold the new tooth. Finally, a crown is attached to the abutment.
Types of Dental Implants:
There are different types of dental implants depending on the patient’s specific needs and bone structure:
Endosteal implants are the most popular variety of dental implants, primarily used in patients with a good quantity of healthy jawbones. Shaped like small screws, they are often made of titanium, a material well-tolerated by the human body. The procedure for these implants involves drilling a small hole in the jawbone where the implant is carefully placed. After placement, a period of healing ensues, during which osseointegration occurs – this is the process where the implant bonds with the bone, providing a strong foundation for the artificial tooth. After healing, a second surgery may be necessary to attach an abutment, followed by the eventual attachment of the crown or artificial tooth.
Subperiosteal implants are used primarily in patients who do not have a sufficient quantity of healthy natural jawbone and are unwilling or unable to undergo a bone augmentation procedure. Instead of being placed into the jawbone like endosteal implants, subperiosteal implants rest on top of the bone but beneath the gum. They consist of a metal frame fitted onto the jawbone just below the gum tissue. As the gums heal, the frame becomes fixed to the jawbone. Posts attached to this metal frame protrude through the gums, onto which the artificial teeth are mounted.
Immediate Load Implants:
Also referred to as “same day implants” or “Teeth in a Day®,” immediate load implants provide a quicker solution for those requiring dental implants. In the right conditions, this approach allows for the placement of a temporary tooth during the same appointment as your dental implant placement. It is a convenient option for patients with sufficient natural bone and an implant sturdy enough to support immediate placement and pressure on the new temporary tooth. This eliminates the need for multiple visits and extended healing periods associated with traditional implant methods. It’s important to note that while this method offers immediate results, successful osseointegration is still necessary for the implant’s long-term stability.
Benefits of Dental Implants
Dental implants are a fantastic way to enhance the aesthetics of your smile. These implants are specifically designed to look and feel like your natural teeth, offering a seamless blend with the rest of your teeth. This leads to a more natural appearance than alternatives like dentures or bridges, which sometimes look artificial. Over time, the implant fuses with the bone in a process known as osseointegration, making the implant a permanent fixture in your mouth. This offers a more stable and long-term solution to tooth loss.
The functionality offered by dental implants goes beyond just aesthetics. Once you lose a tooth, life’s simple pleasures, like eating your favourite food or speaking clearly, can become difficult tasks. But dental implants work just like your natural teeth, allowing you to enjoy all types of food without fear of discomfort or dislodging, as might be experienced with removable dentures. Implants also offer a stable foundation for speaking, thus preventing the slurring or mumbling that can occur with poorly fitted dentures.
Among dental restoration options, implants are known for their durability. They are made of high-quality materials (usually titanium) that are biocompatible, meaning the body accepts them without causing adverse reactions. With proper oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups, implants can last many years, often a lifetime. This longevity reduces the need for replacements or adjustments, making dental implants a cost-effective solution in the long run.
Preservation of Jawbone
An often overlooked advantage of dental implants is the preservation of the jawbone. When a tooth is lost, the lack of stimulation to the jawbone can lead to bone loss over time. However, because dental implants are inserted directly into the bone, they provide the necessary stimulation to maintain bone health. This helps to prevent bone resorption, a common issue following tooth loss, and can even stimulate new bone growth.
Improved Oral Health
Dental implants are beneficial to oral health in several ways. Unlike tooth-supported bridges that require the reduction of neighbouring teeth to anchor the bridge, dental implants don’t compromise the health of other teeth. Because they function as standalone units, they can be cleaned like natural teeth, promoting better oral hygiene. Implants also reduce the risk of gum disease and other oral infections, as there’s no gap where bacteria can accumulate.
Increased Confidence and Self-Esteem
One of the most significant benefits of dental implants is their impact on psychological well-being. Tooth loss can significantly affect an individual’s self-esteem, leading to feelings of embarrassment or self-consciousness, particularly during social interactions. Dental implants, by providing a natural, healthy-looking smile, can drastically enhance a person’s self-confidence. This improvement can impact various aspects of their lives, from social relationships to professional success.
Drawbacks of Dental Implants in Thailand
Visiting a dentist in a foreign country, like Thailand, may pose communication challenges. While many professionals may speak English, the level of proficiency can vary greatly. Clear and effective communication is essential during medical procedures to ensure that you fully understand the process, potential risks, and aftercare requirements. Misunderstandings due to language barriers can lead to unsatisfactory results, complications, or unmet expectations.
Insufficient Regulation and Oversight:
The dental industry in Thailand may not be as tightly regulated as it is in some Western countries. This can lead to variations in quality control, hygiene standards, and patient safety measures. Furthermore, oversight bodies might need to be more robust, making it more difficult to seek recourse or compensation if something goes wrong with your dental implant procedure.
There’s a risk of encountering unqualified or less experienced dentists in any country, but it can be more pronounced in places where regulations are less stringent. Some dentists might need more training or expertise to perform complex procedures like dental implants. Others might not be up-to-date with the latest techniques and technologies. An inexperienced or underqualified dentist increases the risk of complications, poor outcomes, or even serious harm.
No Aftercare Support:
Once you return home from Thailand, you may need more aftercare and follow-up support. Immediate and regular check-ups are critical after a dental implant procedure to monitor healing and identify potential complications. If issues arise once you’re back home, returning to Thailand for corrective procedures can be difficult and costly. Alternatively, you may need expensive emergency dental care in your home country.
Limited Options for Immediate Load Implants:
Immediate load implants, or “same-day implants,” are popular for many patients. However, not all dental clinics in Thailand may offer this option or lack the necessary expertise to do it safely and effectively. If your heart is set on immediate load implants, you might be disappointed with the limited availability or need more confidence in the skill level of providers offering this service.
The Risk of Jaw Bone Loss:
If dental implants are not done properly, there can be a risk of jaw bone loss. This can occur if the dentist fails to adequately prepare the jawbone if the implant doesn’t properly fuse with the bone, or if an infection develops. In the worst-case scenario, this could lead to implant failure and significant bone loss, requiring complex and costly reconstructive surgery.
Dental Implants in Australia
Australia is known for its high healthcare standards, which extend to dentistry. The country adheres to stringent regulations and protocols to ensure that dental procedures, including implants, are performed to a high standard of safety and effectiveness. These standards cover everything from the materials used to sterilising equipment, ensuring patients receive the best possible care.
Australia boasts a wealth of experienced and highly skilled dental professionals. Dentists in Australia undergo extensive training and must participate in continuing professional development to maintain their registration. This ensures they remain up-to-date with the latest advances and techniques in dental care, including dental implant procedures.
Australia’s dental industry leverages advanced technology to deliver top-notch dental care. This includes using sophisticated imaging equipment for precise implant placement, computer-guided surgical techniques, and the latest implant materials. This high-tech approach improves patient outcomes, reduces recovery times, and enhances patient experience.
Dental implants in Australia are about restoring function and creating a beautiful, natural-looking smile. Australian dentists often have expertise in cosmetic dentistry, and with dental implants, they can help you achieve an improved aesthetic outcome. The focus on the cosmetic aspect ensures that your dental implants feel comfortable and blend seamlessly with your other teeth.
No Need for Dental Tourism:
One of the significant advantages of getting dental implants in Australia is that there is no need to travel abroad for treatment, a practice known as dental tourism. This eliminates the risks associated with overseas dental care, such as language barriers, unfamiliar health standards, and the potential difficulties of follow-up care. By choosing to have your dental implants placed in Australia, you can access your dentist for ongoing care and support.
To sum up, although Thailand might seem attractive due to the lower costs of dental implants, one must thoroughly assess the potential challenges that dental tourism can present. In contrast, Australia, known for its stringent quality standards, skilled professionals, adoption of cutting-edge technology, and comprehensive cosmetic dentistry offerings, stands as a far superior choice for dental implant procedures. Patients can trust in the exceptional level of care, the successful integration of the implants, and the overall effectiveness of their treatments. Contact our expert dental team at Oakleigh Smiles to book your initial consultation!
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Dental Implants. Part I: Biological basis, implant types, and the peri-implant sulcus https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8699485/
Dental implants and how crucial replacing teeth really is https://www.dentalhealth.org/Blog/dental-implants-and-how-crucial-replacing-teeth-really-is