I hear more and more these days of dental tourism – people go overseas for holidays and dental treatment at the same time.
It is a well known fact that in countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, India medical and dental treatments can be accessed at a fraction of the prices that patients face in Australia.
We’ve all had friends coming back from holidays sporting a fabulous tan as well as some cosmetic improvement such as a set of new veneers for instance, or dental implants, at costs that seem extremely low…
A large majority of dentists working in these countries may even be trained in Australia or the US. Some of them are quite up to date with the latest technology and own state of the art equipment.
But of course their business expenses can’t be compared with those in Australia, their staff are a lot cheaper, so naturally they can easily offer much lower prices.
Your first impression may be that it is a very attractive option: Dentistry in Australia, United States and Western Europe is expensive.
Before you make the decision to be treated overseas these are very important issues that you may want to consider first:
- Some treatments require extended periods of time between appointments, so multiple trips may be required. For example most dental implant treatments cannot be completed within a space of one month.
- What kind of rules and regulation does a country of your choice have in regards to scope of practice to ensure that ONLY qualified professionals are able to perform your treatment? Are these professional regulations enforced effectively for the protection of the public?
- What are the regulations pertaining to the infection control practices?
- Are there any requirements for practitioners to prove their continuing education commitments in order to maintain their registration?
- What procedures if any are there to help you if something goes wrong? Do you have a plan B? Most of these treatments on offer are irreversible, and if you are not happy with the result can you defend your case?
- Most dental treatments require follow ups and maintenance. Without them the longevity of the restorative work will be compromised. Do you have a maintenance plan?
- What kind of warranties, if any, are being offered?
Sadly, not all those trips end well.
My own patients have been caught out by accepting substandard treatments.
They are now facing painful and expensive procedures to rectify the problems and there isn’t anyone they can complain to. Sometimes the problems created by inappropriate and often damaging treatments may not surface for a number of years.
So ensure that you research dental tourism properly. Perhaps discuss your options with a dentist you trust. If you do make the decision to go ahead with overseas treatment, at the very least show the results to that same dentist just to make sure that you are safe in the long run.
Dr. Maria Avis