DENTAL IMPLANT Procedures - Dental implant cost, Panoramic x-ray

DENTAL IMPLANTS FOR BEGINNERS - Procedures, Prices, Options, The Best Dentists for the Dental Implant Procedure 

Board Certified Dentists Internationale'

Dr. Cristina Terrado of Certified Dentists Internationale’  writes about dental implants, procedures, dental implant prices & quality comparing US, Mexico & Asia dentists.

First, Implant surgery is done in a dental clinic. But not by just any dentist.. A specialist dentist usually an orthodontist, oral surgeon or prosthodontist are licensed to perform this procedure. Now practice saying orthodontist and prosthodontist so you can say those words clearly - not like when your gums and tongue are full of novacaine.

Most know the orthodontist as the dentist who sets braces. A prosthodontist is not as commonly known. This specialist treats a variety of oral issues including cosmetic, maxillofacial, replacement of missing teeth and temporomandibular(tmj) disorder (try to say that one!). They all have to study 3-4 more years beyond basic dental college. 

 The best dental implants are made of aircraft quality titanium metal screws, an abutment and porcelain or ceramic crown. The finished result will look like and can function like real teeth. You can go back to eating apples, carrots, steaks and more with your implants. But to preserve your investment - treat them as they were your natural teeth - don’t crush ice, crack nuts or open bottle caps with them.

The first thing  the doctor  wants to see before beginning implant procedure is a panoramic picture of your remaining pearlies together with the jawbone. A pano is a picture of the entire mouth, both the upper and lower ranging 180 degrees from ear to ear made by a special (and expensive) x-ray machine. From this picture the dentist can see if your bones are a good candidate (having sufficient density) for implanting artificial teeth.

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If the dentist sees that the bones in your jaw are not dense enough to support  an implant, they may decide to do an augmentation (bone graft).  This may be done at the same time as the implant or as a separate procedure.

Besides evaluating the panoramic, the dentist will also do an in-chair clinical exam checking your gum health, which teeth are healthy and can be saved, how many implants will be required. If a full-mouth oral restoration, the dentist will suggest options for you to consider ranging from all conventional implants to mini implant secured dentures or other prosthesis such as  4 on 1 and All on 1.

As  with every surgery there needs to be some pain medications. Usually the dentist will use a local anesthesia that can directly be injected onto the gum. If the patient is more anxious than usual they can be given sedation with nitrous oxide by sub-lingual pill or intravenously by a doctor  of anesthesiology.  Complete general anesthesia is only available in hospital settings in some countries such as Mexico and must be administered by a licensed anesthetist. 

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Step 1: The dentist will have to surgically implant into your gums something that looks like a screw. This will act like the root of your new teeth. When the screw is implanted you will have to go on a soft foods diet to protect the screw (or root) from chewing. It has to be safe-guarded so that it heals properly.

2. Months later, the dentist checks the screw (the root in step 1)  to make sure it has grown into the bone. This is called osseointegration. I’ll let you say that again.

That done the dentist will again insert into the gums a post called an abutment into the screw. This time,  because the abutment needs to go through your gums, your gums will need time to heal again and allow it to form a cuff around the abutment.

3. Later, the dentist will open the gum cuff around the abutment and will set the “crown”. This will cover the abutment and will be like the teeth that you lost. You can choose the color shades for the crown(s). 

Steps1-3 are often done in 2 visits.

The implanting can be done in one go (One Day implants). Implanting the screw on and the abutment on at the same time. For this procedure your oral and general health have to excellent and it is not recommended for molars. Your dentist will know if you are a candidate for One Day implants.

When you are a candidate for a dental implant, make sure you consult with an orthodontist or prosthodontist. In Mexico, Thailand and other developing nations where consumer protection laws are more lax - general dentists are permitted to attempt implantology learning on the job at the patient’s expense.  Remember that last line before you walk in the door of any low-cost dental clinic.

Some general dentists will take a quickie weekend course in implants by an implant manufacturer. Or 2 hour intro seminar at a dental convention. Short courses do not in any way equate 3-4 years of additional specialist training in oral surgery. Implants are surgery.

If the dentist calls themselves an “implant specialist” and proudly displays a certificate of attendance at a half-day seminar in implants at a dental convention or certificate from the implant manufacturer - run. 

Dental nightmares often start when patients go for the clinic with the cheapest price.

What can go wrong? Infections, misaligned implants, implants set too close, implants set in patients who are unsuitable for implants, poor quality implants that soon fail - and the list goes on. Patients can end up paying double - paying to put in the implants, then paying to have the work redone. Many of those scary  stories you hear about dental tourism from your dentist back home are true.

But one thing the American, Mexican and many other dental associations agree on is that when you go abroad for dental care - you will get the very best quality and treatment when you select a Board Certified Dentist. Forget the general dentists unless you need a cleaning or filling - that’s what they are trained for. Be wary of pretenders.

Board Certification comes after graduating from dental specialist college and taking the Board exams - written, lab demonstrative and oral. Only 1% of dentists in Mexico (or anywhere) are Board Certified. 

They are the best of the best and the ones you want. And in most developing nations - they cost the same as far-less trained general dentists.

Dental Implant Costs -  US, Mexico, Asia

Panoramic x-ray costs range from $25 in Manila, $65 in Mexico and $200- 300 in the US. (Same equipment.)
Bone grafts (30% of patients require them) $500 in Mexico - $1,250 - 2000 in the US
Sinus lift surgery. Often required. $1,000 in Mexico, - $2,500 in the US
Prices for name brand implants in the US range from $3,000 to $5,000 per unit complete with crown. The higher price reflecting clinics in upscale communities.
Prices in Mexico for top brand implants like Nobel Biocare range from $2,000 to $2,600 complete with crown in Mexico. A few hundred less in Manila.

Low-priced implants have a higher failure rate and shorter longevity. Best pass on them

Quality implants will last 20 yrs. to a lifetime. Be wary of discount implant clinics often found in border towns who promote  slightly lower cost implants as “FDA approved” (figure made in China or Brazil). These may last only 6-8 years. The additional cost for top brands is the better value. Implants do fail - and who wants to go through the ordeal of surgery again after several years?

So there you have it. Now you can impress your family and friends with your knowledge of implantology. And can even discuss osseointegration with your dentist!
I work for Board Certified Dentists Internationale’ which began almost  2 decades ago in Mexico City as the Board Certified Mexico Dentist Association and now  promotes quality medical tourism worldwide. 

Our staff of patient advisers doctors and dentists are available to assist you with Free estimates and referrals without any additional cost.

Bless all,

Doctora Christina Carino Terrado MD

Patient Adviser
Board Certified Internationale’

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Dental Implants For The Clueless article - Certified Doctors & Dentists Internationale' Association


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