It took us a while to get used to the idea of medical tourism, but now people aren’t just leaving the country for their medical care; they’re heading out of the country for exotic vacations and wrapping their dental care into it as well. Sunbathing by the ocean while recovering from dental surgery may sound strange, but it’s become an increasingly common option for folks who need expensive dental work done and don’t have dental insurance.
But is dental tourism really all that it’s cracked up to be? Or is it too good to be true?
What is Dental Tourism?
Dental tourism is an offshoot of medical tourism, where residents of more affluent countries go to other countries for dental care that is more affordable than in their home countries. It doesn’t make sense for routine check-ups and fillings, but for more expensive dental work like dental bridges and bonding which can run into the thousands of dollars, going abroad for the dental work can mean major savings.
Why Consider Dental Tourism?
While dental tourism may not be the answer to everybody’s need for affordable dental care, it can be a good option for many people. As with medical tourism, getting dental work done abroad can be a huge savings for many people, especially those who don’t carry dental insurance. Crowns which could cost as much as a $1,000 in the U.S. can often be found for as little as $100 in India. Dental implants which may cost $5,000 in the U.S. can be had for as little as $1,000 in Mexico.
Moreover, the quality of dental care abroad can still be good in comparison for American dental care. Many foreign dentists who specialize in working with dental tourists have trained in the United States and use the same dental equipment as American dentists. Although many work through word-of-mouth or medical travel agents, some even have websites with testimonials and American references. Also, unlike medical tourism for surgery where the question of whether patients are healthy enough to travel for care is a major issue, most dental patients are not at risk for endangering themselves by hopping on a plane to a foreign country.
Things to Keep in Mind
Still, if you’re considering going abroad for your dental work, there are still some key things to keep in mind before you hop a plane for your root canal:
Are the Financial Savings Worth It? When you consider the costs of travel, lodging, recovery and follow-up, is it still worth the trouble of traveling overseas to receive treatment? Some folks build an entire vacation around their dental treatments to save on their travel and lodging costs.
Do you Have Dental Insurance? In calculating your potential savings, consider whether you have any dental insurance coverage for the treatment or procedure. If you have dental insurance, it is unlikely that it will cover foreign treatment.
Do Your Research. Although some folks may be willing to go over the border to find a dentist, we advise you to do some research before you jump in a dentist’s chair. Through the magic of the internet, you can generally find information about any dentists you are considering, including education, credentials, testimonials and references. With the recent rise in dental tourism, some unscrupulous dentists have started doing procedures that they are not really qualified to perform, so we strongly suggest that you do a little research before picking a dentist.
Factor in Your Follow-Up. Like with travelling with any medical care, when you’re making your plans, be sure to factor in any follow-up time that your dental work may take. If like many, you are travelling out of the country to get a series of treatments done, make sure that you add on enough time to get any follow-up done that you need. If you’re travelling a long way to get your treatment done, it’s not going to be so easy to travel back for follow-up or additional care, so make sure that you factor in enough time for any additional dental visits you may need.
Have you tried dental tourism? Tell us about it!
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