Thousands of United States citizens travel to Mexico each year for dental work. Why? Affordability is the number one reason. Dental tourists have discovered that they can receive high-quality dental work from experienced dentists in Mexico for a fraction of what the same procedures cost in the U.S. – often even including travel costs. One of the most popular procedures that U.S. citizens travel to Mexico for is dental implants. If you’ve already received an estimate from your local dentist, you understand exactly how much dental implants cost in the United States. Although, one big question on many dental tourists’ minds is how many trips to Mexico are needed for dental implants?
Dental Implants: An Overview
Before jumping right into how many trips are needed to get dental implants in Mexico, it’s important to understand some details about this procedure. Did you know there are a few different types of dental implants? They are single-tooth implants, implant-supported partial bridges, overdentures, All-on-8, All-on-4, and All-on-6.
The easiest type of implant is the single tooth dental implant, meant specifically to replace a missing tooth when it gets knocked out completely or cannot be saved with a root canal and crown. Less experienced dentists can typically handle these types of implants unless it is for a front tooth simply because of the visibility with the rest of the front teeth. Implant-supported partial bridges replace 3 or more teeth and are a bit more complicated than single-tooth implants. Overdentures are similar to regular dentures but much easier to live with. Instead of just sitting on your gums, they snap onto dental implants to they don’t move around or fall out like regular dentures. They may also be referred to as implant-supported dentures or snap-on dentures.
Fixed bridge implants enable dentists to replace an entire row of teeth, similar to an overdenture, except that fixed bridges are not removable, except by a dentist. These are also called All-on-8 dental implants. All-on-4 and All-on-6 dental implants are similar to fixed bridge implants.
What is the Process for Dental Implants?
To better understand the timeframe for dental implants, let’s take a look at a brief overview of the process.
- Consultation – Although you may have had a virtual consultation, your dentist will want to have a consultation in person as well. This important step involves a CT scan and a written treatment plan. The dentist may also take impressions to make the temporary teeth you will initially be fitted with.
- Surgery – The dentist will complete any needed extractions first. Then you will have the titanium screw implanted and your temporary teeth fitted. This surgery may take up to a half-day, depending on how many implants are needed. After this, you will be released to head back home or take some time to enjoy Mexico.
- If any additional dental work is needed prior to installing the titanium screw, you may have to make an extra trip. For example, if you’re jawbone is too weak and you have to have some bone grafted, you will have to return in a few months after letting the grafted bone heal.
- Take More Impressions – After 3 or 4 months, your dentist will have you return to Mexico for your permanent teeth. First, the dentist will take impressions to create your new teeth. It can take a few days for these to be made, giving you some time to be a tourist and have fun.
How Many Trips Will I Have to Make to Mexico?
Several factors affect how many times you may have to travel to Mexico for dental implants, although the average number is only twice, separated by a few months. This is because the first trip is when teeth are removed and other dental work is done and you will be fitted with temporary teeth, but at some point, you will have to return to be fitted with your permanent teeth. Some factors that could change how many times you have to travel are:
- Certain medical conditions, such as heavy smoking, too little space in your mouth, periodontal disease, and fragile jawbone, can delay your ability to get dental implants. However, in most cases, these conditions can be rectified but would require at least one additional trip to allow for healing time before beginning the implant process.
- CT scans are typically necessary for dental implants. It is highly likely your dentist in Mexico will want a CT scan to ensure proper placement of the implants and to assess the quality of your jawbone. Fortunately, most dentists in Mexico have CT machines in their offices and can accomplish this during your consultation once you arrive, but be sure to check that this will be part of the same trip or it could result in additional travel time.
- Although dental implants are meant to last your lifetime, things can happen and you might need them fixed or replaced. You certainly don’t have to travel to Mexico to have that done, but it is likely to still be much less expensive than seeing a dentist in the U.S. Plus, it’s always nice to see the same dentist that did the original work.
- An inexperienced, unqualified dentist can be a huge reason that additional trips might be needed – especially because fixing a problem is more complex than having it done correctly the first time. Before selecting a dentist in Mexico for your dental implant procedure, be sure to do your research.
Whether you have to travel a significant distance or a short distance to get dental implants in Mexico, there are ways to make travel more efficient. The first, and probably most important, way is to choose a dentist that is the most convenient to your current location. Because you will need to travel at least twice, you want to make sure that the trips are reasonably convenient. For U.S. citizens, Mexico is certainly the most convenient to travel to, with options in Tijuana, Los Algodones, and Nogales just across the border and in Cancun, near popular resorts. In fact, many people visit dentists in Mexico for regular checkups. Another thing to consider is that most dentists in Mexico offer warranties for their work, so if you do need to travel again, Mexico is the most convenient.