I want to get some dental implants but my dentist said I have lost too much bone due to my gum disease for that to be a viable option. I’ve done some internet scouring and learned that people in my position often get the all-on-4 dental implant procedure at a place called Clear Choice Dental Implant Centers. I looked into them and they seem to get good results. My two concerns were the price seemed pretty high and there seems to be patients who said they felt abandoned after their procedure and there wasn’t really any follow up. It looks like I could go to Costa Rica for the same procedure but much cheaper. Do you have an opinion on which is my better option?
I have a few thoughts on this. First, let’s talk about the gum disease. Make certain that is under control before undergoing ANY dental implant procedure. Otherwise, you are setting yourself up for failure. You will continue to lose bone structure as long as the gum disease is present which will lead to implant failure.
After that is dealt with, you have an option other than the all-on-4 procedure. You could still get traditional implant overdentures, which have benefits over all-on-4. The biggest issue is the safety net that if one implant fails with traditional implants, you just have to replace that implant. With all-on-4, however, the entire unit would have to be replaced. In order to get implant overdentures, you would need to build back up that lost bone structure with bone grafting. This will ensure you have enough bone to safely retain your implants. Then, after a period of healing, your implants can be placed and then your overdentures.
Where Should You Go for Your Dental Implants?
You’ve mentioned two places. The first is Clear Choice. Yes, their prices can be on the high side. That is because they are pricing their procedure to be about the same as what you’d pay getting bone grafting and implant overdentures, but they don’t have to do the bone grafting, which increases their profits. Another issue is they are a corporate practice, which has a list of downsides you can read at the link. Clear Choice tends to push the all-on-4 procedure on patients without giving them other options.
As for Costa Rica, if you think Clear Choice doesn’t have great patient follow-up, how much do you think you will get there? Will you be willing to travel back and forth for follow-up appointments if they do offer them? What about if something goes wrong, will you have recourse? How will you know if the dentists are qualified? There are countless dental implant horror stories both from unqualified dentists in the states as well as from dental tourism outside of the U.S. At least here you would have recourse.
My honest recommendation is you go to a private practice and let them examine you to give you all your options. Your dentist is steering you away from implants, which tells me he doesn’t feel comfortable placing them. Don’t push him into it. Instead, find a dentist with great post-doctoral implant training and get your work done there, where you will have personalized care and great follow-up.
This blog is brought to you by Lexington, KY Dentist Dr. Fred Arnold.