Should you go overseas to have implant treatment completed cheaply? Following on from our previous blogs, this blog will focus on another problem we see regularly in patients who have had ‘cheap’ implant treatment overseas, that of lack of follow-up.

While implants are usually very successful, they can suffer complications. The better the technique and type of implant used, the fewer post-operative problems. When complications do occur they often need immediate intervention to allow good healing. Easy and quick access to the implant surgeon is important. This is just not possible when treatment has been completed overseas. Patients in this situation often find it difficult to contact the surgeon who has completed their care, and many find it difficult to access remedial care here in New Zealand as practitioners here are often loathe to take over responsibility of an implant with problems. Another necessity for implant patients is access to someone familiar with the implant system that has been used in their mouth. As there are many implant systems, including some implants manufactured on the operator’s premises, it is often difficult to find dentists in New Zealand who can work with some of these systems.

In the longer term, your implant crown or bridge should be maintained by a dentist and hygienist familiar with the implants placed. Like anything, if it is not maintained, then failure of the restoration is more likely. There is a significant advantage to having the implant cared for in the long-term by the practice where the implant was placed. That practice will have a vested interest in the implant’s survival and also be the best equipped to handle complications if they occur. Many patients who have implants overseas are left wondering where to turn when problems arise.

This patient had an implant bridge completed in the Phillipines which fractured soon afterward. The clinic that performed the treatment refused to take responsibility and the patient did not know where to turn for help. We repaired the bridge temporarily, however the entire bridge will require replacement, at significant cost.