Full-Mouth Dental Reconstruction

Your Guide to Top-Quality, Affordable Dentistry

Patients requiring more extensive, complex dental work may request a full-mouth reconstruction, where a combination of restorative and cosmetic dental procedures are employed—the particulars vary depending on the needs of the patient. Such a treatment program may encompass multiple bridges, crowns, implants, partial dentures, and/or veneers, along with orthodontics (braces and related procedures) that improve the alignment of the jaw, the teeth, or both.

Why It Works for Medical Tourism | Planning Ahead | Accreditation and Certification | Dental Tourism Do's and Don'ts

A full-mouth reconstruction is like planning and building a city from the ground up: in both cases, numerous professionals work together to achieve optimal functionality, beauty, and quality of life. The reconstruction may require the services of one or more dental specialists: periodontists, oral surgeons, and endodontists.

Why It Works for Medical Tourism

Full-mouth reconstruction abroad may offer significant savings over the same set of treatments at home. The average cost in the US is US$47,000, but the price may run as high as US$60,000. The money you might save abroad depends on the number and nature of the individual treatments employed, so accurate cost estimates directly from your out-of-country dentist are imperative.

With the cost of a single crown running 50 percent or less of the US cost in countries such as Costa Rica, Mexico, and Thailand, medical travel may well offer an affordable option for those seeking full-mouth reconstruction. One big caveat: Because you may be required return several times to get all your work done (particularly when work involves implants), make sure you factor the cost of extra return airfares, lodging, meals, local transportation, and entertainment into your budget.

Planning Ahead

Most full-mouth reconstructions require multiple office visits over an extended period of time—sometimes a year or more, depending on the needs of the patient. If you’re planning to have the work done away from home, you’ll be wise to plan, schedule, and budget for multiple return trips over many months.

Accreditation and Certification

Membership in a professional association is an important indicator of any health professional’s expertise. Non-US dentists practicing abroad can apply for affiliate membership in the American Dental Association (ADA). Such membership is available to dentists who are practicing in a country other than the United States and who do not have an active US dental license.

Endodontists have professional societies all over the world that provide their members with opportunities for continuing education, research, accreditation, and networking. International membership in the American Association of Endodontics is available to a practicing endodontist in a country outside of the United States who has successfully completed the requirements defined by their government or recognized endodontic specialty association.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) runs an accreditation program that serves professionals practicing in the US and abroad. Applicants for accreditation complete a rigorous credentialing process that includes a written examination, oral examination, and peer review of clinical cases.

Finally the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF) and the highly-regarded Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Healthcare (AAAHC) both accredit international clinics, including dental facilities.

Dental Tourism Do's and Don'ts

  • Do make sure you check and understand the specifics of your dental insurance plan, if you have one. Some plans cover full or partial costs for implants, crowns, bridges, and other reconstructive work. Find out how your coverage is affected if you travel for dental care.
  • Do ask for a cost estimate in writing. Although the estimate may change once the dentist is able to review your needs in person, it is important to have an agreed upon point of departure.
  • Dentistry can be painful, especially if you compress a lot of work into a short period of time. If you are highly sensitive to pain, do discuss pain management with your dentists—both at home and out-of-country.
  • Do ask if all your work can be done in one trip; your savings decline if you have to travel twice.
  • Do ask about compatibility of any parts or materials used. Standard dental practices, supplies, and equipment vary among countries. Incompatibilities can create problems for follow-up care at home.
  • Do remember to request x-rays, estimates, test results, and other documentation to share with your at-home dentist so you don’t have to pay for more later. Most will supply you x-rays in digital format. Ask for jpg files.
  • Do find out about access to the several dental specialties your reconstruction will require. For example, some dental practices employ periodontists, endodondists, orthodontists, and oral surgeons all under one roof. That’s a plus if you’re planning multiple procedures requiring teamwork across specialties.
  • Do ask for patient references. A successful practice will be more than happy to share positive outcomes.
  • Don’t fall for showy websites. Find out about your clinic’s good standing and accreditation, as well as your dentist’s training, credentials, board certification, and experience. The process of planning and carrying out a full-mouth restoration requires expertise. Make sure your reconstruction team has plenty of it.
  • Last updated on 24 August 2016