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Oral health is extremely important for many reasons. If patients suffer from gum disease, cavities, or bad breath this can cause issues with your teeth and mouth. Our mouths are a pathway for bacteria to enter the body. The bacteria are able to enter the blood stream, and this can also cause infection or inflammation in other parts of our body.

Taking good care of your teeth and mouth can keep your body healthy, and can also help avoid serious issues in the future. At Max Zaslavsky, DMD in Fort Lauderdale, FL, we encourage our patients to practice good oral hygiene habits at home. We also promote overall health and wellness. Our team cares about each patient, and keeping up with your oral health not only can keep your teeth and mouth feeling great, but your body feeling great also.

What Problems Can Occur From Poor Oral Health?

Respiratory Infections

If you have infected or inflamed gums that bacteria can transfer into the lungs. This can lead to respiratory infections, pneumonia, or even bronchitis.

Dementia

Inflamed gums can release substances that are harmful to our brain cells. This can lead to memory loss that is a result of bacteria spreading to the nerves.

Cardiovascular Disease

If you have poor oral health you are at risk for cardiovascular disease. The bacteria from the infected gums enters the bloodstream, and can cause the arteries to build up plaque. This can put you at risk for a heart attack.

Prostate Problems

If men suffer from periodontal disease they may have prostatitis. This condition causes irritation and other prostate related problems.

Diabetes

Diabetics are more likely to have infected gums over those that do not have diabetes. This can make diabetes difficult to control due to unregulated blood sugar levels. Gum disease can lead to higher blood sugar levels and this can put a person at risk for developing diabetes.

Infertility

Poor oral health and infertility in women are linked. If a woman suffers from gum disease this can lead to issues with infertility, and may make it difficult for a woman to conceive or have a healthy pregnancy.

Cancer

Poor oral health can put patients at risk for kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, or blood cancer. In addition if patients smoke or use tobacco products this can lead to oral or throat cancers.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

People who have gum disease are more likely to have Rheumatoid Arthritis. The bacteria in our mouths can increase inflammation in the body, and this increases the risk for developing Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is a health problem that affects the kidneys, heart, bones, and blood pressure. Periodontal disease can lead to kidney disease. Patients with gum disease typically have weaker immune systems, and this can make them susceptible to infection. Many patients that have poor oral health also have kidney disease, and this can lead to kidney failure if not treated.

How Can I Prevent These Health Issues?

In order to prevent serious health issues caused by bad oral health habits you must take care of your oral health. Scheduling regular dental exams in our office can help keep your teeth and gums clean, and get in front of any issues before they arise. Dr. Max Zaslavsky’s friendly Fort Lauderdale dental team always put our patients first, and complete a thorough exam of your teeth and mouth to ensure everything is looking and feeling great. If we do have concerns, we will discuss those with you and develop a customized treatment plan to take care of any issues right away.

Tips for Good Oral Hygiene

  • Brush and floss your teeth daily
  • Avoid smoking or using any tobacco products
  • Use mouthwash that contains fluoride
  • Try and stay away from food and drinks that contain lots of sugar
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Exercise and take care of your overall health

If you take care of your oral health, you take care of your body. Good oral hygiene can help prevent problems such as gingivitis or periodontal disease, as well as prevent more serious health issues in your body.

Looking for a Family Dentist Near You?

At Max Zaslavsky, DMD, we provide the highest level of dental care for patients of all ages. We welcome all new patients, and use state of the art technology to ensure our patients have an exceptional experience when visiting our office. If you are looking for a dentist near you, contact our dental office in Fort Lauderdale, FL to schedule your next dental exam and our friendly staff will be happy to assist you!

Feature Image 3 Dental Implants

When deciding on a restorative solution it is important to look at all of your options to help you decide on the best option that works for you. A common question patients face is if they should choose a dental bridge or dental implants when they are looking for a tooth replacement solution. Both are restorative solutions for missing teeth, and it is helpful to understand the differences. At Max Zaslavsky, DMD, we provide our patients with a thorough consultation to examine their teeth & mouth and will discuss the differences between all of the restorative options available. Our staff works closely with our patients to help choose the best solution.

What Is a Dental Bridge?

A dental bridge is a fixed restoration that fills the gap created by one or more missing teeth. Bridges are anchored to one or more neighboring teeth also known as abutment teeth. Bridges can be supported by natural teeth or by dental implants. The false teeth are in-between and are called pontics.

How Do Dental Bridges Work?

During your first appointment at our dental office in Fort Lauderdale, FL we prepare the neighboring teeth. The preparation for a bridge involves removing part of the enamel to allow room for the crown. The crowns are placed over the neighboring teeth. Impressions of your teeth are taken to make the bridge in the lab, and temporary bridges are used while you wait for your permanent bridge.

Patients return to the office, and we remove the temporary bridge to prepare for the permanent bridge. The new bridge is installed, and we check to make sure the bridge is comfortable, and the perfect fit. Patients may have to return to our office again to ensure the bridge is working well with your bite. Once we know the bridge fits properly we will cement the bridge in place.

How Long Will Dental Bridges Last?

Dental bridges last around 10-15 years. Bridges do involve using some of your natural teeth, and this can cause your bridge to fail over time. The teeth around the bridge are still vulnerable to decay and disease which can attribute to the life of the bridge. Patients must practice good oral hygiene habits at home to keep the bridge and surrounding teeth clean. Dr. Max Zaslavsky, our dentist in Fort Lauderdale, FL recommend brushing twice a day and flossing to ensure you carefully clean around both the false and natural teeth. Visiting our office regularly can help to keep your teeth clean, and your bridge looking and feeling great.

What Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?

  • Surgery is not required
  • Dental bridges tend to be less costly compared to implants
  • Jawbone density is not an issue with bridges
  • Overall the bridge procedure is less invasive compared to dental implants

What Are Dental Implants?

Implants are a permanent solution for patients that have missing, broken, or damaged teeth. They are durable, and act similar to a screw that is placed into the jawbone. The screw acts like an artificial tooth root, and provides a strong base for one or more artificial teeth. Implants require a healing period to give the implant time to fuse to the jawbone. This process allows the implant to function just like a natural tooth.

How Do Dental Implants Work?

Dental implants require multiple appointments in our dental clinic in [insert city, state], and the process takes a few months. The first step involves placing the implant into the patient’s jawbone. Once this is done there is a healing period where we must give the implant time to fuse to the jawbone. This process is known as osseointegration.

Part of our implant evaluation process is to determine if the patient has adequate bone in the jaw to support the implants. If needed, bone grafting can be done to give patients the bone required to provide the necessary support. Once the healing process is complete the patient returns to our office, and an abutment or connector is placed on top of the implants. This allows the crown to be secured to the implant. Custom crowns are made to match the size, shape, and color of your natural teeth. Temporary crowns may be used while patients wait for the permanent crowns to be installed.

How Long Will Dental Implants Last?

Dental implants are durable and last upwards of 25 years, or a lifetime if they are cared for properly. Implants are built out of titanium, and provide patients with a permanent solution for missing teeth. Caring for dental implants is like caring for natural teeth, and Dr. Zaslavsky recommends practicing good oral hygiene habits at home to keep your implants looking and feeling great.

What Are the Benefits of Dental Implants?

  • Dental implants are long lasting, and are a permanent restorative solution
  • Easy to care for
  • Implants function like natural teeth
  • Chewing power is restored with dental implants
  • Speech and overall appearance are improved
  • Patients can eat all the foods they normally would with implants
  • Dental Implants tend to cost more, but are a good investment because they are built to last
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Looking for a Dentist to Provide Dental Implants or Dental Bridges Near You?

Choosing the best restorative option is a big decision, and our team is here to help. Our consultation process will answer all of your questions, and we will discuss what option may work best for you. We want our patients to be proud of their smile, and our team works to give patients the highest level of care. At Max Zaslavsky, DMD, we welcome our patients in a comfortable and relaxing environment using state of the art technology. Creating beautiful smiles is what we do, and we take pride in giving patients a smile they can be proud of.

If you are interested in finding out more about your restorative options such as dental implants or dental bridges, please contact Dr. Zaslavsky today to schedule your consultation.

Docfeat

Switching dentists can be a hard decision, but patients need to make a change if they notice things aren’t working out with the current practice. Knowing when to make the move can be hard, but there are some tips you can follow to help you find your new dental office or dental clinic in the Fort Lauderdale area.

There are signs you can look out for that indicate it may be time to start your search to find your next dental practice. At Max Zaslavsky, DMD, we welcome new patients to our practice, and strive to provide exceptional service to patients of all ages. We know how important finding the right dentist is, and we go above and beyond to provide the highest level of service and care for our patients!

What Are Some Signs That Indicate it May Be Time to Switch Dental Practices?

  • Your dentist has retired or moved
  • You have decided to move away from the area
  • Appointments tend to be at inconvenient times
  • Getting to your dentist is difficult, and the practice may be in an inconvenient location
  • The practice does not offer the dental procedures you need
  • Your friends or family have recommended another practice that sounds like it may be a better fit
  • You have had to call the billing department and dispute charges multiple times
  • Your dental insurance has changed
  • You do not feel comfortable with the recommended treatment plan at your current dentist
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How Should I Go About Switching Dentists?

Once you have made the decision to switch dentists you can focus on finding your new practice. Making sure the new dentist is a good fit is important, and there are many things to consider. Think about what type of dental practice you would like for you and your family. Would a family practice work better and if so, make sure the new practice can provide all of the necessary services for your entire family. Research if the practice offers orthodontics if you have teenagers, should you need that type of treatment. This will help to eliminate the need for switching dentists again in the future.

Do your research and check out some online reviews to read about the dentist’s certifications or background. Read about the mission statement to understand the practice values, and how the practice is run. Make sure the facility is updated, and has the latest technology and advanced procedures available.

Once you have done your research and have found a dentist you think may be a good fit, schedule a visit to check out the practice. This way you can see firsthand if you are comfortable, and if your family would benefit from joining the practice. 


When visiting the office take mental notes of important things such as how you are treated during your visit, and how long it takes you to get to and from the practice. Ask the staff if you can have a tour of the office to ensure the practice meets your expectations.

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Looking for a quality Dentist Near You?

If you are looking for a family friendly dentist near you, contact Dr. Max Zaslavsky for your next dental cleaning. Our goal is to provide exceptional service in a family friendly environment. Our staff is available to answer any questions you may have, and we welcome all new patients to our office.

If you are interested in scheduling your next dental cleaning with us, please contact Max Zaslavsky, DMD in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and one of our staff members will be happy to assist you.

Geriatric Dentistry – Being Old is NOT a Disease!

By Dr. Max Zaslavsky

Ft Lauderdale Dentist Elderly

Dentists can be quite discriminating on the patients they are willing to treat.  A growing amount of seniors are in dire need of proper dental care but only few dentists are interested in taking care of this segment of our population.  Some dentists do not discriminate but sadly, lack the proper skills and tools to properly address the dental needs of the elderly.  Finding the right dentist for the care and dental needs of the elderly should not have to be hard to do.  Knowing the dental needs of the elderly and doing a little bit of research in locating the right dentist for seniors, one who has training in geriatric dentistry, is the right step in getting the proper dental care for the elderly.

Hence the first proper step in choosing the right dentist for old people is to judge whether the dentist has the proper and needed skills and tools available to treat old people.  You can also seek recommendations from people you know and see if they know a dentist who may be qualified at treating old people.

When you have found a potentially good dentist, make an appointment and come with questions.  There are dentists who find no problem accommodating visits to assisted living facilities, houses or nursing homes since they know most elderly people live in these types of dwellings and that many old people have difficulty traveling or cannot travel at all.   These dentists know that providing dental service to the elderly may necessitate exactly these kinds of situations.

For the elderly who are able to adequately care for their dental health, there are many ways in maintaining the health and strength of the teeth that can prevent them from needing to go to the dentist.  Good healthy teeth is actually much more valuable for old people since they make eating a much easier activity to do.  If they still have their own natural teeth, updated techniques for flossing and brushing can make their teeth cleaner and healthier.  The elderly also need to be aware of the effects of their medications particularly its effects on their oral health.

A little research can come a long way in the proper dental care of the elderly.  You need to ask the right questions to ascertain a dentist’s ability in giving proper and correct care for the aged.  If they pass the criteria you are looking for and if you feel you can trust the dentist, then go for it.  Also you need to know whether the dentist is fine with your senior’s insurance coverage and whether he/she does entertain house calls.  Finding the right dentist for the elderly may take just a little effort on your part but the outcome will be worth your while.

 

Cancer Schmancer

By Dr. Max Zaslavsky

Ok I copied that from Fran Drescher’s book. But you know my mom was a big Nanny fan, and I was tortured as a kid to having to watch it with the folks. Even worse to admit; at one time I knew all the lyrics to the theme song. Nightmares of her laugh were recurrent, but the book title is important for the sake of this topic.

In the last 3 weeks I have seen 3 patients who have either had radiation to the face or will be going for treatment in the coming weeks.  The specifics of smoking, lifestyle habits etc. obviously have some impact on why they got cancer. We are all predisposed for something, and if we neglect ourselves, these erratic mutations will become life threatening. The thing that stinks even more is sometimes you don’t even have to neglect yourself, life just happens.  My dad died of cancer. He never smoked a day in his life, but succumbed to cancer of the stomach and esophagus.

My advice as follows is for people who already have cancer and how we can treat them, especially when they will be getting radiation to the head and neck. First and foremost, GET ALL DENTAL TREATMENT DONE BEFORE YOU GET RADIATION. Yes that’s in caps for a reason. Your healing will be slower if you begin to get radiation and then need a tooth to be pulled.  Slower healing = more painful healing.  All necessary extractions, whether it’s wisdom teeth or removal due to infection, should be done prior to any radiation treatment. If a tooth needs to be removed during or after radiation treatment, you run the risk of a condition called osteoradionecrosis. Not to go into too much detail, but the jawbone can actually dissolve, become infectious, or even break if osteradionecrosis incurs. Do you want to be that person who ignored my advice and lands up needing to be admitted into the hospital for a dental infection? Pre-planning is a must in order to prevent such a debilitating disease.

Once you undergo radiation, your salivary glands will become decimated.  Since saliva is a buffer that helps prevent dental decay, you will become more prone to getting cavities. These cavities can grow exponentially in as little as six months in the absence of saliva. Talk with your doctor about your options. In my office I suggest a cocktail of various gels, pastes and rinses that will help prevent decay and tooth loss. We use a combination of a saliva substitute (i.e. Biotene) in conjunction with a prescription fluoride toothpaste (Prevident, Prodentec), and a calcium/phosphorus paste (MI Paste).

I also endorse a very simple rinse to endorse a stable oral environment in the mouth. It’s as simple as going to your local dollar store. The rinse can be made simply by combining baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Yes, it tastes like crap, but the baking soda is neutral and will help create a more neutral environment in your mouth.

So look into these options. If you have cancer, I am sure you have a lot going on right now. But as the saying goes, never give up the ship. Fight the good fight. No success in life was ever accomplished by giving up in life, and I hope you have a good support group around you. I know we were there for my dad when he was ill. And when you need help for your mouth, and living better by just being able to eat and swallow, contact us! We are here for you!

If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you.

 

New Studies Amplify the Health Risks Associated with Periodontal Disease and the Benefits of Treatment.

By Dr. Max Zaslavsky

At the October 2011 American Heart Association scientific sessions in Orlando, two very large studies amplified the increased risk of heart attack and stroke caused by deep periodontal pockets and bleeding – as well as pointing out the benefits of having your teeth professionally cleaned to reduce these risks.

In the first study, 7999 patients with periodontal disease in Sweden were evaluated. Those with a higher number of deep pockets had a 53% increased risk of heart attack. Those with the highest incidence of gum bleeding had more than twice the risk of stroke.

In the second study, 102,620 patients in Taiwan were followed for seven years. Those who had their teeth professionally cleaned at least once per year, had a 24% lower risk of heart attack and a 13% reduced risk of stroke compared to those who had their teeth cleaned once or less in two years.

These huge studies by physicians may be the tipping point that we now have irrefutable evidence of the connection between periodontal disease and systemic health. In addition to these studies, we have scientific evidence for 21 different conditions listed below that are affected by periodontal infection and the resulting inflammation involving virtually every organ system in the body.

1. Heart disease
2. Infectious endocIrdl1is
3. Carotid artery stenosis
4. Stroke
5. Diabetes
6. Rheumatoid arthritis
7. Mouth and throat cancer
8. Pancreatic cancer
9. Colon cancer
10. Kidney infection
11. Lung infection/COPD
12. Low fertility in men
13. Erectile dysfunction
14. Brain abscesses
15. Cognitive dysfunction/Alzheimer’s
16. Infectious Mononucleosis
17. Pre-term babies
18. Yeast infections
19. Multiple sclerosis
20. Osteoporosis
21. Congestive heart failure in dogs

Periodontal Disease

How to Have a Jolly Holiday in Fort Lauderdale without a Dental Emergency.

Geriatric Dentistry – Being Old is NOT a Disease!

By Dr. Max Zaslavsky

In my practice I have had patients in their 90’s with all of their teeth, and I have a 20 year old who currently began his first of 3 root canals. Although these are extremes, we see everything in between- Diabetics, HIV patients, pregnant women.

The in between is by far the most interesting. Recently I had a patient in his 50’s come in with a tooth that needed to come out and needed an implant. He opted for a bridge because he said, “if I was younger, I would get the implant. Who knows how much longer I have to live.” Aside from the tooth, he was a healthy guy. The sad reality- implants are primarily made for an older generation. Young people shouldn’t be losing teeth.  In fact, no one should be losing teeth. We are our own worst enemy. People are getting fatter, portions are getting bigger. We don’t floss. Energy drinks are melting your teeth away… Yes, melting!

Geriatric Dentistry

Everyone tells me they brush. I have never had anyone tell me they don’t brush, but most of my patients wince when I ask them how often they floss. If you are drinking a Monster, Red Bull, etc., you are literally melting your teeth with acid. You know how crazy that is? Your teeth can survive a fire. In fact, a lot of people who were victims to 9-11 were identified by their dental records. We are what we eat; and someone who sips on a big gulp from a 7-11, or even a diet Red Bull throughout the day, will erode their teeth via the acid content.

The fact remains; you will live a healthier life if you floss. Your heart will be stronger. Your gums and surrounding bone will be stronger. There are countless studies to show you will live longer if you floss on a daily basis. As the population ages, I have seen many patients opting for dentures. After all, their parents had them, so why not? This should not be the mindset in this day and age. We as a progressive nation, in times of the internet should be looking into dental implants. If you broke a hip, you would be looking to get a hip replacement wouldn’t you? Or would you want to be on crutches for the rest of your life? Well, we can give you your teeth back. Sort of like the Bionic Man and Terminator rolled into one glorious dental implant.

Look, no one jumps for joy when they have to wear a denture. I will make for you the best looking denture in the world, but dentures are not sexy. The reality is, when I have to make an upper plate/denture for a patient, although they can function with it, I am covering up all those taste buds on the palate.  The more that taste are buds covered, the less a person can taste, and the more prone for someone to add unnecessary salt for flavor to their diet.  The more salt intake, the greater the incidence for high blood pressure and kidney disease. Kidney disease = renal failure and possible dialysis. Am I being extreme? Not really. I see it every day in my office.

So I want you to floss. I want you to keep your teeth. I want you to stop drinking that high in acid energy drink. If you smoke, STOP.  Heck, I would even like you to get on a treadmill for 20 minutes. I want you to be my next 90 year old patient with all his teeth and some fillings here and there.  And most important, look both ways when you cross the street, and you can DEFINITELY live to be 90.

 

“But I Like My Tongue Piercing!”

By Dr. Max Zaslavsky

Tongue Piercing1

When I was 20 years old, in college at University of South Florida, I decided on my own to go get my tongue pierced. This was back when I had long hair (when I had hair), multiple piercings in my ear, and I would be in a mosh pit on a weekly or monthly basis as I was bitter for no apparent reason other than to be bitter (blame it on El Nino). How those were the days when I was blasting Nirvana, The Crow Soundtrack, Uncle Luke and The Macarena all in the same car ride to wherever I was going.

The one thing consistent with change is well….change. The hair has been cut off, the piercing are gone (but not forgotten), but the music is not forgotten. In fact, the tongue piercing came out right before my dental school interview. How in the world would I even get through a dental school interview when I would have a metal stub sticking out whenever I spoke?

Looking back, knowing what I know now, the tongue piercing was a dumb idea (Sinatra singing in the background now Regrets….I had a few).  In fact tongue piercings can create a lot of problems for the long term. Patients that I see here in the office say, “Well I can use a plastic stub for my tongue.” The reality is that even a plastic post can break teeth from excessive wear. Granted, the trauma will not be as bad as a metal post, but do you really want stick something through your tongue if you knew that it can break the very teeth you need to keep in your mouth? Extreme cracks may cause the need for fillings, crowns or even root canals.

The second thing to look at is the possibility of infection and swelling. A piercing, tongue or otherwise is an invasive procedure. Worst case scenarios can be a portion of your tongue being removed due to infection, to even bacterial endocarditis which is a severe infection of the heart.  So I guess you have to ask yourself, is it worth it?

The last thing I want to cover is difficulty with speech and swallowing. When you pierce your tongue, your tongue will swell. When it swells, your capability of chewing and digesting will change considerable during the healing process. Your tongue is a muscle that is used to shift food around to your teeth. When you swell, the capability to chew your food can be so interfered with, that you will be digesting larger chunks, thus screwing with your digestive track. Between that, and slurring all your “S” words, I say to myself, “What the heck was I thinking?” But hey, I had to be a little bit nutty to walk into that tattoo shop and just say to the piercer, I want to pierce my tongue.

To quote Ozzy,” The youth is wasted on the young.” No regrets in how I have lived my life, and if you want to get that tattoo, and pierce something, who am I to tell you no? In fact, I am sure we all wish we did a little bit more back in our teens and early 20’s. Maybe you should have stopped reading so many comic books and asked that girl out…..or not had spent so much of your allowance on Mortal Kombat.  But I digress….

Photo Credit: 416style

“If this Blog Post Helps at Least One Person Quit Smoking, I’ve Done my Job… Preventing Oral Cancer.”

By Dr. Max Zaslavsky

Dental Oral Cancer Fort Lauderdale

When I first bought my office here in Ft. Lauderdale, I thought I would be doing a lot of veneers, cosmetics, botox, etc. As the office has evolved, and how I am on staff with Imperial Point Medical Center here in Broward County, I have been doing a lot more medical based dentistry in addition to the fun cosmetic work that I am more accustomed to. This is in no way to say I am disappointed in this evolution. I am a healthcare professional, and my role as a dentist is to educate on aid in prevention in various facets.

To transition, the picture you see is not something I got off the internet. This is an actual patient who came into my office for something COMPLETELY different than what this photo entails. He had actually come in for a toothache, and to discuss the possibility of dentures or implants. Seeing this upon our comprehensive examination was unavoidable.  In my mind I was thinking for the best. “Well maybe if we take out some of the infected teeth, this swelling area will go down.” But it didn’t and I sent him immediately for a referral.

This white blip in the photo is cancer. To be specific, it is squamous cell carcinoma. The extent of which is to be determined. However he will lose a sizeable portion of his palate along with a possible loss of vision if the cancer has gone too far to his eye. If the cancer is more extensive, he can lose his life. So things just got very real for a good person who smoked too much for too long.

Now you’re wondering maybe, “how did it get so bad….. Or maybe, why did this person wait so long? Those answers I can’t give you. Or at least in this article, there’s no need to. When a patient walks into our office at that given moment, I can only treat what is present. Sure I wish I had seen him a year before.  I know I could have prevented what would now be coming. Did you know that 90% of cancers can be prevented at stage 1?

I hope between what you are reading and the prognosis of this person, it will make you think twice the next time you light up a cigarette. Smoking causes cancer. If you think it doesn’t, well, you’re a fool. The facts are there and we as healthcare professionals can help you. Chantix and Welbutrin are viable options, and you should ask your healthcare provider on what would work best for you.  We can help you quit. We can help you have a better life.

 

The DANGERS of Dental-Tourism: Buyer Beware!

By Dr. Max Zaslavsky

Dentistry in this country is expensive. Medicine in this country is expensive. Trust me I know. I recently went to my local hospital and was billed $1200 for a stress test (and this was after insurance). We do not live in a socialized medicine system. Not yet, perhaps not ever. And if you think that would be a viable solution, well think again. There are pluses and minuses to any system when it comes to individual healthcare. At times, however, I will have a patient tell me they plan on going to a 3rd world country to get their dental concerns and needs cared for.

Medical tourism is becoming a hot ticket these days, especially for dentistry. Why pay so much money here for needed care when you can stay in a nice hotel and get all the work done in a matter of days? Then poof, off you go, back to the good ol’ US of A, and back to reality. Well I’m here to tell you that there are a lot of problems these days with medical tourism.

Inadequate research

First off, what people proclaim as, “I do my research!” are merely them going onto a website that looks good to them; and feeds them what they want to read. People, you cannot believe all the hype that a website gives you! Not all dentists are created equal, not even in this country! There is a good and bad everywhere. At least when you go to a dentist in your local market, a friend or a neighbor may know the practitioner and can give you the real low down. This leads to problem No. 2…

You’re back in the USA and there’s a problem

You just had all this dental work done. You think you are stellar and now you’re back in Fort Lauderdale ready to take on the world. Uh oh, you have a tooth ache. How can this be? You just stayed at the Costa Rican/Brazilian, etc. resort and had all this work done. Dentistry is a practice. Adjustments, corrections, and especially infections happen. Even the best of what I do can succumb to really bad events depending on the patient and their host response. I once had to take over a case from a patient who had gone to Colombia for his dental treatment. He walked into my office with 3 implants in his hand (yes his hand, not in his mouth). The treatment for this patient was far more expensive in the long run than if he had just done the work in this country. No dentist here wants to take over something in the middle rather than the beginning. Reactive dentistry is not fun.

Implants and other medical devices in other countries are not FDA approved.

In my office, we use grade 4 titanium implants. The majority of implants are grade 4. But it’s not just the metal. It’s the engineering of the metal that creates the integrity or success into bone. Implants come with an expiration date. Meaning if my Straumann Implant is not used by a certain time, it is no longer covered under warranty, nor should it be used. If I use it, and it fails, I can be sued. I may lose my license if I tried to pull that off unsuccessfully.

In other countries it’s not like that. There are companies in this country that take expired medical devices and sell them to other countries where there are no rules or regulations. So although I have to follow certain amount of ethics if for no other reason than to be law abiding, it does not work that way in another country. That Straumann or Astra implant I use here in my office is not the same used in another country; especially if you are paying half the price. If it’s too good to be true, it is.

My crown fees are higher than what you would pay for in most other countries. Again, I have to abide by certain rules and regulations. My labs charge me more, because just like what I do, they are based domestically. When, at times, there is a problem, our local lab can make the necessary adjustments within 5 days or less. This is a huge shift than if we sent out to a lab outside of the country. Generally there would be an additional 2 week hold on even the most minuscule of adjustments.

In Summary

Frankly, you as a patient who had something go wrong will not go back to that country to sue. If you were that cheap in the first place to save some cash by going to a third world country, you’re definitely not going for a legal retaliation. It’s time consuming, cost too much, and doesn’t solve anything while you are in pain. Being a smart consumer when participating in medical tourism is to know your legal ramifications when (not if) something goes wrong. You will have to abide by their laws and speak the language of that country. If you are willing to make the travel arrangements, do the true amount of research (which should be a month or so of dedication), and deal with what may occur thereafter, then go for it. If you think going on a site, and believing whatever is told to you will be perfect….well I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.