Travel abroad for cheap dental implants?
Real Price Comparisons:
We decided to investigate the alleged price savings from Hungarian Clinic. What we found was disturbing.
Unfortunately, if you arrive in Budapest they will tell you that you are getting great value and why not get some more treatments done to save more money! Our recommendation is see someone you trust in Ireland and can return to if there are any problems. There are no savings of 70% in Creative Dentistry.
Hungarian/Eastern European Dentistry Questions
What type of dental implant is being used?
Many overseas clinics use poor quality dental implants with less research and low quality materials. These tend to develop more problems in the long term while offering short term savings for the dentist. Some people can develop reactions from weaker grades of titanium used in these cheap dental implants. That can mean the gum shrinking away from the implant or even the bone coming off the implant. Early warning signs of this include sore gums and sensitivity in some areas.
Another problem with some of the cheap dental implant systems is the potential difficulty in getting parts if required in the future. As the designs change and every company is different it can become impossible to get the right screw-driver for a system in the future. That could mean having to remove a healthy implant to adjust the tooth.
Is the cost of the abutment and crown included in the cost of the implant?
Many overseas clinics offer tempting misleading pricing to lure customers into their clinic. At Seapoint our prices include all the parts of the implant- the implant fixture, the abutment and the crown. Some prices now don`t even include the placing of the implant. They literally are only quoting for handing you the implant in its wrapper. We find such sharp practice to be completely against our ethos of clear upfront pricing. We want to develop a long term trusting relationship and not a quick sale. Some other clinics also quote the price based on 10 or more at a time. That would be a very rare occurrence indeed.
How many implants does your dentist place?
At The Seapoint Clinic our implant dentists have placed thousands of implants and are able to deal with many difficult cases which are passed over by other clinics. Many dentists who place implants in smaller clinics will have completed a short weekend course and may never have placed any implants before. Others will very rarely place them as in their small practices it is rarely required. If someone isn`t placing them regularly and hasn’t got the experience behind them, it is impossible to maintain the highest standards required.
What kind of guarantee is offered?
Many overseas clinics offer very limited guarantees safe in the knowledge that you are so far away that you will usually pay to get a problem fixed locally. At Seapoint we offer a 3 year guarantee on our implants. If they fail in this time we will either replace them or perform an alternative such as a bridge. If this is not possible you will get a refund of the moneys paid. Poor healing is very rare but it`s nice to know that if it does happen you won`t be out of pocket for it.
Is a CT scan being performed?
A dental CAT is now considered essential to have prior to implants. Without a CAT, the dentist cannot know how the bone is before uncovering it. This means you can be faced with unexpected complications and potential unexpected costs. As we have our own dental CAT scanner onsite we are able to arrange one of these easily before treatment. Sometimes a CAT scan can show a nerve in an atypical place or a sinus extending where it doesn`t normally go. These can cause serious and potentially permanent problems if not recognized early.
Who will be doing the crowns on the implant for you?
Sometimes you have to travel to one practice for the implant placement and another for the tooth on top. That can result in added time and costs and confusion over who is responsible for what.
What support will you get if anything goes wrong?
If you are treated overseas the answer is generally none. At Seapoint we provide full support to our patients and as we are open 6 days a week and open evenings and mornings you can always find a time to have any problems taken care of. If you have a problem with a clinic overseas, you will have to book an expensive last minute ticket and take precious time off work.
What materials will be used in the treatments?
There is a huge difference in cost between using expensive precious metals such as gold and palladium and cheap metals such as nickel. The risk of using these is that allergies are possible, staining or tattooing of the gum is possible and there may be reaction between different metals. Often a non-precious metal will not last as long. At Seapoint we normally use precious metals or pure porcelains in our restorations. Some white fillings in Eastern Europe are attached using cheap bonding agents. These allow more decay to develop which can result in tooth loss.
Will your dentist speak English fluently?
Many dentists in clinics overseas operate a conveyor belt system where you are give very little time to discuss your hoped for result with a dentist. Instead you talk to a representative and a game of Chinese Whispers takes place between staff and the dentist. At Seapoint all our implant dentists will spend time asking you what you are hoping for reducing the chance of you ending up with a result you are unhappy with.
Is all the work quoted actually necessary?
Due to the very low fees sometimes quoted by overseas clinics there is a temptation for them to overtreat a patient. This means they may advise unnecessary or undesirable treatments in order to increase the overall fee. At Seapoint we will give you a treatment plan which will give you what you are looking for and we will advise the minimum required to achieve the result you are looking for. Our goal is protecting your long term oral health not getting you in and out of the country.
This is often a big problem with people getting unnecessary root canal treatments, unnecessary crowns carried out. We can usually instantly recognize someone who has been to Hungary as there are no natural teeth left uncrowned. There are considerable risks to teeth from having treatments carried out. The risks are worth it when the tooth needs treatment but if it only has some fillings and it is crowned and root treated the chance of it lasting you a lifetime are very slim.
Consult and Treatment plan when you travel:
Some clinics insist on giving you your plan and costings and starting treatment in a single visit. That means you have no chance to check if the plan is reasonable or if the value for money they promise is what they suggest. They will present you with a plan and mention huge savings (which are never substantiated) and recommend starting treatment immediately. That is a very poor way to plan something life changing. If you have no time to consider treatment before you begin you really don`t have time to decide on what is the right course of action for you. You can be forced into a corner and have the work that suits them done rather than what suits you.
Poor root canal treatments:
This is a huge problem that we see time and time again. When a tooth is root treated it is necessary to thoroughly clean out any dead or infected tissue for the best results. Many clinics in Eastern Europe will incompletely clean out the canals and use medication in the root canal to keep things quiet for a few years. That usually means the patient will develop cysts or abscesses which can cause massive problems. Potentially large infections can develop which necessitate removing the teeth themselves.
Consultations outside the clinic:
Some clinics have dentists who travel to hotels around Ireland and give treatment plans there and then. This means they don`t have proper access to x-rays, dental lights etc. and it renders the plan they are giving you meaningless. Even some Hungarian clinics give out about this as it usually means that your plan will change dramatically when a proper examination is carried out.
Examples of problems we have seen first hand:
Difference in expected treatment and actual treatment provided.
Wrong Treatment Plan:
A patient seen in Seapoint came in with a plan from the clinic she had been to in Hungary. She explained to us that she was looking for fixed teeth which would not come out of her mouth on implants. She had a quote with her from the clinic in Hungary and their plan was to do overdentures. This is a dental term for dentures which sit on implants and are removable by the patient at night etc. The patient luckily had not gone ahead with the treatment and was able to proceed here with no problem. However, had she gone ahead she would have spent a lot of money on something she never wanted and would have had huge problems trying to get it fixed later.
A patient came to the clinic with a plan from a clinic in Hungary discussing the need for multiple crowns and core buildups as well as 5 implants. Following discussion with the patient it became clear that all she wanted was to have her teeth at the front straightened and to have the gaps filled with implants. The clinic in Hungary wanted to unnecessarily cut her teeth down for crowns as they couldn`t fit the orthodontic procedure into their schedule of 2 visits. That could have caused untold unnecessary damage to her teeth.
We have had a number of patients coming in from Hungary who had implants placed which were working ok but they were unhappy with the appearance of the teeth on top. Unfortunately, when time is tight and flights are booked there is huge pressure on the patient to accept the teeth they are given rather than the teeth they want. If you are told that you’re going home with a denture and need to book new flights to come back again for a try in you are very likely to accept what they have for you. That is a recipe for unhappiness in the long term. Your teeth are in your mouth every day and they are a fundamental part of your face. If they look wrong, you will feel self-conscious and any money savings will be immaterial.