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5 Questions to ask before getting Dental Implants in Ecuador

Dr. Victor Carreño

As an Ecuadorian dentist who has lived, worked and studied in North America and Europe, I understand that many visitors from these countries to Ecuador have worries and concerns about receiving medical and dental treatment here. In a recent issue of HiExpat magazine, I wrote about the Ecuadorian healthcare system and the wide range of experiences that patients encounter.

For those patients who are interested in dental implants, it can seem daunting to know what to ask the oral surgeon in Ecuador beforehand in order to make an informed decision. Fortunately for non-Spanish speaking patients, there are several bilingual dentists in Ecuador who can easily communicate with you and answer all of your questions.

The purpose of this guide is to identify the most important issues in implant placement in Ecuador and ensure that the patient is well-informed before undergoing this treatment.

1. Who will perform the implant surgery and what are their qualifications?

Make sure to ask who will perform your surgery. Ideally, your implant surgeon will have postgraduate training in oral surgery or periodontics. If your healthcare provider has a postgraduate degree from either Ecuador or abroad, it will be found in the public SENESCYT online system maintained by the Ministry of Education under "TITULOS DE CUARTO NIVEL" ("tercer nivel" is undergraduate level). You will need to know both apellidos (surnames) of the provider to look them up in the system; please do not hesitate to ask for this information which should be readily provided. For example, you may search “Carreño Alava” and click on “Victor Hugo Carreño Alava” to see my SENESCYT profile (see below).

If you live in a smaller city in Ecuador, be aware that some dental clinics might bring in a surgeon from out of town to perform your surgery. The surgeon may or may not be available should you experience a complication, so you may want to choose an experienced professional who lives in your city and will be available to help you. In the case of my dental practice TopDental in Manta, Ecuador, our in-house team of specialists does both implant surgery and rehabilitation (design and placement of the implant crown, bridge, denture, etc).

2. What kind of pre-surgical planning will my surgeon do?

In implant dentistry, pre-surgical planning with CBCT technology is key. Your surgeon should perform a Cone Beam CT scan, or a 3D x-ray of your mouth, in order to identify the height and width of the bone in your jaw as well as the location

of key nerves to be avoided in surgery. This allows your surgeon to choose the exact size and type of implant to be used in order to maximize implant success and avoid complications. TopDental is a digital dental practice and we also use a Medit i700 intraoral scanner combined with CBCT to achieve more accurate planning for complex cases and to design 3D printed implant guides. If your surgeon is planning to place an implant using only a 2D x-ray, you may want a second opinion before proceeding.

3. How will I know that my surgeon is following international hygiene standards?