traveling for dental Implants

I know the dangers of dental tourism when you’re talking about leaving the country. I’ve read the horror stories. But, what if you’re not traveling to save money, but to find a really good implant dentist? I need to replace two teeth in the upper right part of my mouth. The dentists in my area aren’t that great when it comes to dental implants. However, my best friend from college lives near one of the top dental implant dentists in the country. She said I could stay with her. In that case, is it a safe option?

Pepper

Dear Pepper,

Illustration of a dental implant

Dental implants are a fantastic option for replacing teeth. It also sounds like you’ve done some great research as far as what dentist to use. That is the number one factor in a successful outcome.

When you are talking about this type of travel for dental care, it is a totally different story than the dental tourism horror stories you’ve read about.

However, there are some things which need to be handled differently for this to go smoothly for you.

Considerations When Traveling for Dental Implants

One of these you’ve already done, but I’m listing it for the benefit of others.

Research the Dentist

As I said above, the dentist is a very important factor in the success of your case. You’ll want to know:

  • The type of implant training he or she has had
  • How many cases they’ve done
  • Percentage of successful cases
  • Always check reviews

Budget Carefully

You’ll need to be prepared for six or more visits spread out throughout the year. Some of these include:

  • Consultation
  • Implant surgery
  • Post-op checks
  • Impression appointment
  • Crown placement

Accommodations for after surgery is important too. You have this arranged, but others may not have your support. They’ll need to have someone travel with them and plan on staying somewhere comfortable at least overnight.

Discuss Emergency Protocols

Even when everything is done right, something can go wrong. You’ll want emergency protocol information up front. Will he insist you come in or will a Skype visit be fine for a triage of sorts?

Do all this and you should have a positive experience.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Worried dentist damaged porcelain veneer

I had six porcelain veneers placed. They looked great, but noticed on the way home one of them had what felt like a line or divot. I called the dentist from my car and they had me come straight back. I really appreciated that. When I was back in the chair he looked at it and he said he could repair it then and there. He did some kind of sanding of the area and it felt smooth. I left satisfied. However, it’s been a couple of days since and I’m noticing that spot is more dull than the rest of the veneers. Am I being overly critical? I’m kind of worried he damaged it, but if it’s no big deal, let me know.

Elaine

Dear Elaine,

A single porcelain veneer being held up by a dental instrument

First, let me assure you that you’re not being overly critical. You paid for a beautiful smile and that’s exactly what you should get. You especially need to know if something damaged your porcelain veneer.

In this case, I would say they, yes, your dentist likely damaged this veneer. It sounds like in the process of trying to smooth out the divot, he took off the glazing.

The glaze on your porcelain veneers is very important. Not only does it give it that shine your natural teeth have, it is also what makes them stain resistant.

Without that glaze, this veneer will begin to pick up stains very quickly making it unattractive.

Getting This Porcelain Veneer Fixed

You’ll need to show this to your dentist as soon as possible. If you wait, he could try to pass the blame onto you saying you did something to it.

There are two ways to repair this:

  • Using diamond polishing equipment. This is an advanced procedure which not all cosmetic dentists know or have the tools for. However, if he does (which at this point I’m doubting because of how he did the repair) then I’d go this route. Even if he doesn’t, you could seek out the aid of an expert cosmetic dentist to do it for you and have your dentist cover the expense. This would be cheaper for him than the second option.
  • Have him replace the veneer he damaged. This will incur lab fees for him, but if he doesn’t know how to do the repair and isn’t willing to pay another dentist to do it, then….

Finding an Expert Cosmetic Dentist

If you need to get a different dentist to do this repair, your best bet is to find a dentist who is accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. AACD accredited dentists are in the top 1% of dentists in the country. Every one of them will know this diamond polishing technique and have the tools on hand.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Affordable full-mouth reconstruction

I never was able to go to the dentist as a child. My parents never had the money. I used to resent them for that. But, I had saved up money to go to the dentist and now I understand. This dentist told me I need a lot of work and suggested what he called a full-mouth reconstruction. This is way beyond anything I can afford. In fact, it costs more than all the cars I’ve owned put together. Is there an affordable way to get this done?

Keith

Dear Keith,

Woman giving thumbs up in a dental chair
How do you know if you have the best dentist for your needs?

Dear Keith,

Our parent’s actions often seem more understandable as we age, however, avoiding the dentist altogether is never recommended. It will actually end up costing you more money in the long run, something your parents just may not have understood.

That being said, I don’t think this is the best dentist for you to be seeing. He’s jumping a lot of guns. I don’t know if he’s doing that because he’s lazy or because he is trying to milk you for as much as he can. Either way, you want a different dentist.

A full-mouth reconstruction means grinding down all of your teeth and placing dental crowns on all of them. This can only be done by the top 1-2% of dentists in the country.

It takes advanced training in both restorative dentistry and aesthetics. Not many dentists have this. If it’s done incorrectly, it can completely destroy your bite, leading to severe TMJ problems.

Find a Dentist Willing to Work Hard

What you need instead is a dentist willing to work hard to preserve as much of your healthy teeth as he can while taking care of the issues that have further and need treatment.

Affording this is easier too. You simply have the dentist list out everything that needs to be done to your teeth without wasting unnecessary structure.

Ask him to list it out from most urgent to least. This way you can do what’s known as phased treatment. You work on the urgent things so you don’t end up with a dental emergency, then slowly (as you are able) get the next thing done.

This blog is brought to you by Salem Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

dentures won’t stay in

I ended up having dentures at a very young age. I’m 60 now and have had them for over 30 years. Lately, even with adhesive, it’s becoming impossible to keep them in. Can a dentist fix this?

Miranda

An illustration of both a denture and a dental implant

This is tough. When your teeth were removed, your body began a resorption process of using the minerals normally needed by your jawbone elsewhere.

It does this because it interprets your missing teeth as you no longer needing these. This process is known in dental circles as facial collapse.

As this happens, your dentures begin to slip. Then, they get to where they start falling out. Eventually, you won’t be able to keep them in at all.

Two Solutions When Dentures Fail

The first thing you’ll need to do is get bone grafting done. This is an outpatient procedure that builds up bone in your jawbone again. Once that is done, you have two main routes to choose from.

  • Have new dentures made. You have a ridge again and will be able to retain dentures again if that is what you like. One thing to consider is you would be facing the same issue again as the cycle of facial collapse starts all over.
  • Get dental implants. This is actually the ideal solution. You can place four to six dental implants into your new jawbone. This signals to your brain you need those minerals and the bone remains intact preventing facial collapse. Then, when the implants are fully integrated, a denture is secured to the implants. This is known as implant overdentures. You’ll never have to worry about them slipping again.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.