Category: Dentistry

Dental Implants - All You Need to Know

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Find all you need to know about dental implants. Do you really need one? Find out what are the requirements for a succesful integration of the implant in the bone tissue and which are the procedure steps. Choose only quality implants and look carefuly at the costs you may save if you travel to a well known foreign medical tourism destination. 


What is a dental implant?

                Dental implants are considered to this day the best, permanent procedure for missing teeth, both functional and aesthetic. They are typically made of titanium. After the implant integrates itself in the jaw bone, it serves as the strong base for placing the chosen restoration (individual crown, bridge or dentures). The most commonly used type of implant is the one that inserts into the jawbone (endosteal implant). Subperiosteal implants are inserted between the gum and the jawbone and it is suited for patients that have a shallow jawbone. Only a dental surgeon specialized on dental implants should perform this treatment.


When is it necessary?

                 If you are missing a tooth or more, you should seriously consider having dental implants. Having gaps in your mouth from missing teeth can cause a lot of trouble over the time if not attended. Adjacent teeth will migrate towards the gap and this will cause all the teeth to slowly become loose and eventually fall.   


Can I have dental implants?

                As for any surgery, for dental implants to be successful it’s a requirement that the patient is in a good health condition and the body’s healing function works properly. Dental implants may not be suitable for patients that suffer from diabetes, cancer, radiation to the jaws, alcoholism. If you suffer from gingivitis (gum disease) it’s advisable to first treat this condition and then have dental implants, as an unhealthy gum can greatly lower the chances of success. Smoking also strongly affects in a bad way the healing of the area.

                There are cases where there is not enough bone structure and bone addition may be needed. The best way to find out is to have a dental surgeon look at your panoramic X-ray or CT-scan.  


The procedure

  1. The first step is to discuss the treatment options with your dentist taking in consideration your dental status, budget and your expectations.
  2. After you have agreed on a treatment option, the dental implant surgery will start with the administration of an anesthetic:
  3. Most common and less expensive option is the local anesthesia where you are consciousness and awake but you won’t feel any discomfort during the operation. It’s administered by way of giving an injection. Patients that are anxious can ask for a sedative to calm them down. Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas” is a form of light sedation administered through inhalation. It will render you relaxed while awake and alert. It has very little to none side effects and recovery time.
  4.  If extensive dental work is needed or a patient doesn’t respond to moderate or deep sedatives, then general anesthesia may be used. This is a kind of deep sedation where you are put to sleep and is administered intravenously (IV). Because this technique brings the greatest risks and vital signs need to be constantly monitored, only a certified doctor specialized in anesthetics can deliver the drugs by IV.
  5. While under the anesthetic the dentist will insert the dental implant in the bone of the jaw. During this operation an x-ray may be taken if the position of the implant is close to an important anatomical structure like blood vessels or nerves. The surgeon will place sutures that will have to be taken out in about seven days.
  6.  The bone tissue will be left to consolidate around the implant (osseointegrate) for three to six months before it will support a crown or denture on it. If a two-stage implant protocol was used, a second minor surgery will be needed for a healing cap to be placed on the implant.
  7. The final step after the implant has successfully integrated firmly in the jawbone is for the crown, denture or crown to be fixed on the abutment.      


After the implant surgery

                If you have been deep sedated or general anesthetized it’s not recommended to drive. Numbness and bruising/swelling are normal and usually expected after the implant surgery. The discomfort can be treated with ordinary painkillers ibuprofen. Flying after the dental implant surgery carries no supplementary risks. However, if a sinus lift operation has been performed, because of the risk of sudden decompression, it is advisable to wait for at least 14 days until flying.


Rates of Success and major Risks

                Generally, the success rate for dental implants is up to 98%, but factors like oral hygiene, lifestyle and their position on the jaw influence their success. The first person who ever received dental implants Gosta Larsson enjoyed them until his death, for over 40 years.

                There are no other risks other than the ones associated with any surgical operation, which are very rare in modern equipped and run dental offices. These risks can be infection at implant site, damage to sorounding tissue like the near teeth or blood vessels, nerve damage. If the implant is to be placed in the upper jaw and there is the risk of it protruding into the sinus cavity, sinus lift surgery has to be performed.


Prices and insurance options

                At this moment dental implants are not covered by the regular national health insurance from most countries. Not even private insurance policies cover the full expenses for implants as it is a costly procedure and is regarded as a cosmetic treatment. Read our guide on how is the cost for dental implants calculated if you want to know more.



Root canal treatment (two canals)

Dental implant Branemark system (Nobel Biocare)

Crown (porcelain bonded)

Dentures (full acrylic)






Costa Rica












































































Advices for medical tourists

                Dental implant surgery is not your everyday dental treatment, it is after all a surgery operation into the bone tissue. The success of the operation depends not only on the patient’s health, but also on the ability of the dental surgeon of respecting the strict surgery protocols. The worst mistake you can make is choosing without thorough research a dental clinic that offer the cheapest treatments.

Choose wisely, don’t make decisions based solely on price

                When choosing a clinic for dental implant treatment, you should look carefully at the training, certifications and experience of the surgery team. An untrained dentist could damage the lower jaw nerve, place the implant on insufficient bone support, or could just use a cheap implant technology. A well trained and experienced dental surgeon will work with only the most successful technology, therefore the price will be over the

Quality Implants

A quality implant that meets FDA (Food and Drug Administration – US) and ADA (American Dental Association) standards costs over $300.

The most qualitative manufacturers are:

  1. 3M ESPE
  2. AIDI Biomedical
  3. BioHorizons
  4. DENTSPLY Implants
  5. Hiossen
  6. KAT Implants
  7. Nobel Biocare
  8. PerioSeal
  9. Sterngold
  10. Straumann USA

Also, make sure that the clinic can provide the sterile environment and technology needed to successfully perform the surgery. If the operating room is not completely sterile, complications may arise due to post-operatory infection.

All-inclusive packages

                The most efficient way to get dental implants is to go with an all-inclusive package. Dental clinics that have experience with patients from abroad are offering treatment packages which include the treatment, accommodation near the clinic, a dedicated person to help you with travel arrangements, or even the flight tickets and a sights tour. By choosing an all-inclusive package you will end up paying less and it’s more convenient.

Buy medical travel insurance

                The regular insurance for travelling abroad will have to be supplemented by a health insurance that covers medical tourism related issues. This will cover for possible complications that may arise. Although the chances are very slim that you may need it, it’s better to be prepared. Read more about medical tourism insurance options in this article “Health Insurance Companies and Medical Tourism – types of insurances”.



Tags: dental implants, dental implant, dental implant surgery, medical tourism, how is the dental implant cost calculated, dental implant price

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Patricia K.
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Really great article! What about MIS implants, are they any good, do you recommend them?

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