Our Machu Picchu Adventure Included Dental Clinic Sightings

[dropcap]C[/dropcap]hristmas in Cusco: My wife, Andrea, and I flew to Lima, Peru on Christmas Eve and then on to Cusco on our way to hike the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu. On the flight to Lima I leafed through LAN’s inflight magazine and saw plenty of ads catering to the dental tourist. Can they beat the heck out of US fees on implants and implant restorations should the patient elect to fly south? You bet.

Cusco City. The famous Plaza de Armas is on the bottom right of the photo.

A single titanium implant can be placed for under $500 and the implant restoration placed for about the same fee. So, single implant and restoration for less than $1,000. It appears that the “all on four” approach to the full arch implant restoration has not caught on in this part of the world just yet. I saw ads for 12 implants and crowns per arch.

Euro Implant Center in the “Dentel” clinic, Cusco, Pero.

Are they providing the precision of excellent 3D conebeam guided implant placement? At those discounted fees, I doubt it. This past weekend, I attended a course on the latest in 3D imaging and how that technology relates to implant placement. I asked one of the presenters, Dr. Jay Reznick, a Los Angeles oral surgeon, if he had seen any of the implant cases done at low cost South American clinics. He said he had. While not all such cases are poor quality, those done at bargain basement fees would hardly qualify as a temporary in the States: Final implant restorations done with thin aluminum shell crowns, chairside fabricated acrylic, etc. And the implants themselves were of low quality and none were from reputable manufacturers. The lesson as always is, read the fine print and beware of unbelievable bargains.

After two days in Cusco, we left the city for the mountain trails.

Salkantay, a mountain sacred to the Incas. Our first day of hiking.
The intrepid hikers. Andrea and me at 15,253 feet at the Salkantay Pass. It’s mid-summer in Peru, but cold at this elevation. Yes, that’s snow in the background.
A rainy day in Machu Picchu.
High in the Andes and above the clouds.
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