Full-mouth dental implants (also called all-on-four, all-on-4, full-arch, and teeth-in-a-day dental implants) are growing in popularity. If you have multiple damaged or missing teeth, full-mouth dental implants are a more efficient and cost-effective way of restoring all your teeth. Of course, full-mouth dental implants are still a significant investment for patients, which is why many look to Mexico for seemingly lower prices, which oftentimes may appear too good to be true.
Our office has found that many patients haven’t been told about the real risks involved with traveling to Mexico for dental implants. Even more, many have no idea of the risks specific to full-mouth or all-on-four dental procedures performed in Mexico for medical tourism. Let’s take a look at the risks, as well as the true cost of full-mouth implants in Mexico.
All-on-4 implants are permanent, prosthetic teeth that replace an entire row of missing, damaged, or otherwise failing teeth for the upper or lower jaws or both. Only four implant screws are used to anchor the prosthetics, which allows for easier and faster recovery. Patients who receive all-on-four dental implants don’t have to avoid any kinds of foods and need to only follow basic oral hygiene.
All-on-4 implants offer many benefits compared to other products, including snap-in dentures, permanent dentures, or anchor-supported dentures. All-on-4 implants are permanent, don’t require nightly cleanings like dentures do, and only need normal brushing and rinsing.
As we mentioned, the biggest factor that causes patients to look to Mexico for full-mouth dental implants is the cost. At a glance, it seems like Mexico might offer significant savings, but there are many cost factors that are easy to obscure or hide. Full-mouth or all-on-four dental implants are an intensive complex procedure, with many factors that can vary the cost.
First, let’s start with the straightforward cost. Most patients can expect to pay at least $11,000 – $15,000 per arch, or row of teeth for one jaw. The problem that most patients don’t realize (including patients seeking care in the United States), is that the upfront cost advertised is rarely all-inclusive. This means, in addition to this cost, you may need to pay for:
- Consultation and examination fees
- CT scans, to determine proper implant placement and jawbone thickness
- Tooth extraction, for any remaining teeth in the bridge you are replacing
- IV Sedation/anesthesia (all-on-four implants are a potentially painful and complex surgery, and patients should be sedated for it).
- Possible upgrades for higher-quality materials in your prosthetics (for example, you may need to pay extra for zirconia to be used)
- Cheaper branded implants might be used in other countries such as Mexico
In addition to hidden fees, there are also fees involved with traveling to Mexico for all-on-four dental implants. You’ll need to consider items like:
- Round-trip airfare ($400-$800 on average, and you have to pay this at least twice)
- Resort, hotel, or lodging. This will vary widely, though you can expect at least $100-$200 a night, with this price being much higher if you stay at a luxury resort. And again, you will have to plan on at least two separate stays or multiple nights per stay).
- Miscellaneous expenses, including food, travel costs within Mexico, and other common travel expenses.
Travel costs will easily add several thousand dollars to your bottom line. When you combine procedure costs that are not included in upfront pricing and travel costs, it’s easy to see costs per arch of $20,000 or more after these unseen costs are taken into account. Some of the unseen costs could be unexpected trips to your dentist if something goes wrong, or the lack of legal recourse if your dentist is medically negligent.
We’ll touch more on these specific concerns a little later in the article.
In terms of medical safety, Cancún is often touted as one of the safer places in Mexico to get all-on-four dental implants, though it’s still not as safe as American offices. Cancún is oriented around tourist travel, and so there is a higher likelihood that the dental office will adhere to basic hygienic procedures (something that can be an issue in other offices in Mexico). The biggest concern when getting the procedure done in Cancun is the price as well as the doctor’s qualifications and the certification of the office to safely provide surgery and IV anesthesia services.
Cancún is a very tourist-friendly location, which means the average pricing will be much higher than in other areas in Mexico. Your lodging in Cancún will also be higher, and you can expect to pay at least $150-$200 a night for resorts, with higher prices being very common. The inflated prices you can expect to find make going to Mexico for all-on-four implants less appealing.
The other major issue in Cancún is finding a doctor who is also a qualified oral surgeon. All-on-four dental implants should be performed by a certified oral surgeon, which is very difficult to find in Cancún. An oral surgeon is an expert in dental surgery and thus can perform the surgery more efficiently, which will help with a shorter recovery that is less painful. Oral surgeons are able to put the patient under IV sedation during the procedure, which means your All-on-4 implant procedure will be painless.
It is challenging to wade through the “certifications” that many dentists in Cancún have that don’t actually mean anything. For example, some dentists in Cancún are members of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, but membership with this organization means nothing in terms of skill, qualifications, or certifications. They are not a reflection at all of how skilled a dentist if, or even if they’re an oral surgeon at all.
Given concerns about costs, many patients explore all-on-4 dental implants in Tijuana, which has its own set of issues. Lodging in Tijuana will be far less expensive (you may be able to drive there, depending on your location), and general prices for all-on-4 dental implants are lower. However, there are concerns about the quality of dental care, the sanitation and hygiene practices of the offices, as well as determining the qualifications your dentists have.
There are far fewer regulations and oversight in Mexico for dentistry, and so the patient is burdened with doing extra research to make sure the chosen dental office follows standard, appropriate sanitary procedures. You’ll also need to make sure that proper, high-quality materials are used for your implants, especially for permanent prosthetics.
Like Cancún, another persistent problem you’ll face is determining what qualifications, if any, your chosen dentist has to perform all-on-four dental implants. Many dentists received certification from obscure universities, while many others have meaningless credentials. For example, any organization that claims to be involved with “implantology” doesn’t provide any meaningful certification since this is not a specialty of dentistry that is recognized in developed nations.
Now that you’re aware of some of the issues and concerns with full mouth dental implants in Mexico, we can more honestly compare that to the costs in the U.S. Patients can expect to pay $25,000 – $40,000 per row of teeth for full mouth or all-on-four dental implants. Prices will vary depending on a lot of factors, including the city in which the procedure is performed, whether or not bone graft is needed, etc.
We know that the high average price of full mouth or all-on-four dental implants puts dental implants out of reach for many patients. Our oral surgeons specialize in the procedure (and they own their office). This allows us to provide all-on-four dental implants at $14,950 per row of teeth. This price is all-inclusive and includes high-end materials like zirconia. This price is backed by our lowest price guarantee and a lifetime warranty (learn more about them here).
Our office pricing is usually far less than what patients would spend in Mexico. We rarely, if ever, recommend that patients go to Mexico for all-on-four dental implants.
It depends on where you get your dental implants. Our pricing for all-on-four dental implants is actually several thousand dollars less expensive than the typical price in Mexico. It’s also an all-inclusive price, and you won’t need to book several plane tickets or several days of expensive lodging.
Let’s take a look at the average cost for all-on-4 dental implants:
|U.S. Average||Mexico Average||Our Cost|
|$11,000 – $15,000 per arch (NOT including travel)|
|$25,000 – $40.000 per arch (not all-inclusive)||$20,000+ per arch (including average travel)||$14,950 per arch, which is all-inclusive|
Our doctors are certified oral surgeons and have cultivated a specialty specifically within dental implants. If cost is a primary concern for you, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation before you start making travel plans to Mexico.
Generally speaking, no. There are health and financial risks involved with going to Mexico for dental implants (especially involving all-on-four dental implants). Let’s take a closer look at some of the risks patients take when they travel to Mexico for dental implants.
As mentioned earlier, accreditation and training of dentists is a huge risk factor for getting dental implants in Mexico. To become a dentist in Mexico, a candidate needs to:
- Have graduated from high school
- Complete a 4-year dental program
- Perform 1 year of community service.
After that, a dentist can have their own practice and perform procedures, like dental implants. However, general dentists are not generally equipped to perform surgical procedures like all-on-four dental implants. Oral surgeons should perform this procedure, and that requires years more training in a hospital after dental school in a surgical residency.
Dentists in Mexico are not required to be associated with an accrediting association, which means once a dentist has their license, they don’t have to have any oversight from anyone. Some are certified by the Mexican Dental Association, while others go through the effort to be certified by the American Dental Association (ADA). However, this is not required, and many dentists in Mexico have varying credentials that can be hard to certify or even understand.
As such, for many patients, it can be impossible to tell how qualified a dentist may be. If an unqualified dentist performs your all-on-four dental implants, it can lead to loose implants, increased likelihood of infection, longer healing times, and an increased chance of implant failure, nerve damage, sinus damage and infections
Dentists in Mexico will often use low-quality materials to make dental implants. This helps to keep costs low, but it also increases the likelihood that you will have problems with your implants. Your prosthetic teeth are meant to be permanent, but low-quality materials can make damage and defects more likely.
If you have defective implants or your prosthetic becomes damaged, you’re on the hook for the cost. The dental offices in Mexico do not have to remedy the problem (and Americans have little opportunity for legal recourse, elaborated below), and many of our patients started at low-quality offices like this, only to come to us to redo the entire procedure.
The oversight of dental offices in Mexico is not universal. Many offices operate with no general oversight at all, which means they may not be following proper sanitation or hygiene practices. This dramatically increases the likelihood of infection, and it is very difficult to know what sanitation procedures they have before you are physically in their office.
Finally, one of the biggest risks you take when you travel to Mexico for dental implants is the lack of legal recourse you’ll have if something were to go wrong. Dentists are not required to carry malpractice insurance. If a dentist in Mexico is medically negligent, it can take months or years to have any kind of remediation if even possible at all, and that’s if the courts determine that the problems were caused by actual negligence (as opposed to just a risk factor associated with all surgeries).
For residents and citizens of Mexico, it is easier to hold a dentist accountable. For American tourists, between the costs of going back and forth, as well as the time investment, and lower legal protection, many simply end up never recouping the money they paid for the procedure and have to pay additional fees for the procedure to be redone in the U.S.
We never recommend that patients go to Mexico for dental implants for the above reasons. To recap, there are simply too many risk factors, like:
- Being unable to verify whether the dental office has proper sanitation and hygiene practices
- Trouble understanding whether the doctor is properly educated, trained, and certified
- Difficulty finding a genuine oral surgeon instead of a regular dentist
- The cost of travel
- The lack of recourse should something go wrong
- The cost of extra travel back to Mexico to attempt to fix problems or complications that may arise
If you are interested in dental implants and are considering going to Mexico because of the cost, we would love to talk to you about how we can make dental implants financially possible. Our all-inclusive price of $14,950/arch beats the typical cost you would find in Mexico, and we have several partners that will help you finance this cost.
We look forward to speaking with you during your free consultation.
All-on-four dental implants require several different procedures to complete. Patients need to plan on at a minimum, at least three separate trips to Mexico, each spanning a few days. The first is for the consult and CT scan, the second is for the actual surgery, where any remaining teeth are extracted, implant screws are placed, and a temporary prosthetic is attached. The last trip is when the permanent prosthetic is placed after your gums and jawbone have healed.
Then, you’ll return home during the healing process. While most of our patients take around 3 months to heal, this time can be longer if you didn’t have an oral surgeon perform the procedure. A poorly done all-on-four dental implant surgery can take 6 months or longer to heal from.
If you get implants in Mexico, you will be at home during this healing period. When your mouth has completely healed, you will travel back to Mexico to have your permanent prosthetics placed in your mouth. Between these visits, if you have complications, concerns, or need adjustments, you will need to travel to Mexico again in order for the dentist to examine and address the issue.
Traveling to Mexico for a single implant is less common. Patients can expect to pay $2,000-4,000per implant in Mexico. While single implants are a good option if you only have one or a few teeth that are damaged, missing, or failing, it becomes cost-prohibitive if you need a whole row of teeth replaced.
We recommend that most patients that need a whole row of teeth replaced get all-on-four dental implants, and we never recommend patients travel to Mexico (or other foreign countries) for this procedure (or other dental implant procedures) given the risks involved.
Patients are surprised to see our exclusive, all-inclusive pricing for all-on-four dental implants. With an upfront price of $14,950/arch, not only are our prices far lower than the U.S. average of $25,000-$40,000, but our pricing is also lower than the typical pricing of $15,000/arch in Mexico. Here are some of the ways our office is able to provide such a competitive price.
Our office is owned by the oral surgeons that run and operate it. That means that we have direct control over pricing, and we avoid a lot of the inflated costs associated with corporate overhead. We’re able to cut a lot of the wasted cost and not compromise on quality.
Oral surgeons exclusively perform all-on-four dental implant procedures in our offices. That means they have 4 – 6 years of additional training and surgical residency on top of their dental degree. Our oral surgeons also have a dedicated specialty in all-on-four dental implants. This allows them to perform procedures easily, efficiently, and safely, which helps to lower costs.
Our oral surgeons have performed more than 5,000 all-on-four dental implant procedures, which has allowed them to develop deep expertise in this procedure.
We don’t recommend that patients go to any other country to get dental implants. First, if there are complications with the procedure, it is extremely difficult to get back to the dentist for an unscheduled examination. This trip is at your own expense, and you could find yourself traveling in pain and discomfort for several days.
Next, it is very difficult to understand the different certifications and accreditations dentists can have in other countries. It’s possible for you to find a qualified oral surgeon in another country, but it is exceedingly difficult to know for sure that the office you have chosen is using an oral surgeon that has completed a surgical residency and is deeply experienced in dental implants.
Due to the problems of unexpected travel caused by complications, as well as the difficulty of knowing the qualifications of your doctor, we generally dissuade patients from traveling to other countries for the procedure.
Typically, developed nations with strong medical oversight and strong sanitation standards are good choices for dental implants. For patients who live in these countries, we don’t recommend traveling for implants given the travels cost involved as well as lack of legal recourse when international borders are crossed. Patients need to be able to have easy access to whoever performs the procedure, especially if they suspect that there may be an infection or another problem after treatment. A quick drive to address an emergency is much easier and safer than having to book an unexpected plane ticket to a dentist in another country.
However, if patients are in less developed countries with poor oversight and low medical standards, it’s possible that they may want to travel to the U.S., Canada, or countries in Western Europe for the procedure.
We have found that patients ask us about traveling to other countries for dental implants because of the high costs they have seen from other local offices. If that describes you, we would love to talk to you in a free consultation. Our upfront, all-inclusive price for a bridge of teeth is $14,950, and we have a variety of ways patients can finance the total cost.