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Dental Tourism – Interviews & Experiences of Treatment Abroad
Getting dental treatment can be very expensive – especially if you live in a country such as the United States, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, etc. and unfortunately for many people, the cost of the procedure is prohibitive and they are unable to get the care they need. An alternative solution to this problem is to get treated while on vacation/holiday (which is where the term “dental tourism” comes from) in a country that offers procedures that are significantly lower-cost.
An increasing number of people are traveling overseas in order to get access to affordable treatment in countries such as: Turkey, India, Romania, Thailand and others. In fact, over 2.8 million North Americans traveled abroad for health and dental care in 2014 according to Patients Beyond Borders.
What Are Dental Implants
Dental implants are usually referred to the teeth that are replaced by artificial means. The dental implant is usually made of Titanium or Titanium alloy. The dental implant itself can be coated with different coatings that increase the stability and bone integration. There are many types but the most common are screw like structures that replace the root of the individual teeth. On these dental Implants the crowns or the teeth part can be placed. These dental implants can be placed in a permanent or removable fashion.
These include but are not limited to Dental implant Bridges, dental implant crowns, dental implant dentures.
Dental Implant Types
Root Form Dental Implants
Root form dental implants are the most popular dental implants throughout the world. Although they were not the first to be used in North America the root form dental implants now compose the majority of all dental implant treatments. These types of dental implants are made to resemble the root of a tooth and come in a cylinder shape dental implant, a straight screw shape dental implant or a conical screw shape dental implant.
Dental Implant Surfaces
Dental implants originally had a smooth titanium surface and certain ones still do. Companies have tried to improve the dental implant by making changes to the implant surface. Making the surface rough increases the total surface area and therefore provides better stability. Adding a layer of Hydroxyapatite apparently makes the bone adhere to it better since bone is made from the same material. The rough surface can infect more easily when exposed to the mouth so there are implants with areas of both smooth and roughened surfaces. One company actually made an implant with not just a roughened surface but actual microscopic globular areas that increase the surface area tremendously. This would allow the placement of smaller dental implants with greater stability (good for areas of limited bone availability).
Root Form Dental Implants & Crowns
The implant refers to the root area only. There are 2 basic ways a tooth is attached to the implant in a single tooth type of situation.
A "cemented" method would be where a middle structure is screwed onto the implant with an even smaller screw. The tooth crown or cap is then cemented on the tooth in the same way a normal crown is cemented on a natural tooth. This is the best way to place a tooth on an implant in a single tooth type of situation. The advantage is that the crown rarely loosens. The disadvantage is that the cost of the restoration may be more and that if it does loosen then it is more difficult to tighten.
Root Form Dental Implants & Crowns
The second method of securing the crown to the tooth is the "screw retained" method. In this option the crown is screwed directly to the implant through the crown itself. The access hole is then filled with a filling. The advantage of this type of method is the fact that the crown can be easily removed if needed to be repaired. The disadvantage is that this small screw is put under a lot more pressure than in the previous situation and the screw can become loose more often needing tightening
Mini Dental Implant
Mini Dental Implant Denture
Mini Implants may also be used to secure a denture this method is faster, less expensive and less traumatic than regular size dental implants. Due to their smaller size, they may be overloaded with heavy biting and fail prematurely. This treatment options may be good for an elderly person that has a top full denture which will not cause heavy bitting forces on the bottom.
Screw Retained Bar
This type of dental implant is like the subperiosteal dental implant since it sits under the "periosteal membrane" but it is additionally stabilized by bone screws that screw parts of the structure to the bone. This type of dental implant is not common but still used for the severaly atrophied (shrunken) lower Jaw where traditional root form implants cannot be placed and grafting is also not feasible.
Trans Osseous Dental Implant
The trans osseous dental implant is a very stable implant that acts like 4 standard root form implants. It is placed from the bottom of the jaw and protrudes through the upper part. There a bar can be secured to it and a denture supported by the structure. This implant is also not performed by many dentists as it is very difficult and needs to be done in the hospital in most cases. It is a good alternative when the lower jaw is very atrophied (shrunken) and the jaw is very thin.
Zygomaticus Dental Implant (Severe upper atrophy)
The Zygomaticus dental implants are very long implants that are used in very specific locations. This type of dental implant is placed in the back of the upper jaw, taking advantage of an area of bone that is still available in severely atrophied (shrunken) upper jaws. They are usually used when a patient wants to have a full upper non removable implant supported set of teeth and does not want to go through the procedure of grafting the sinuses. This procedure is very complex and not many dentists perform it. It can also be done if the sinuses cannot be grafted.