Dental Tourism – is it a good idea?
How far would you be willing to travel to see a dentist to save some money, and how much risk will you be willing to take? Would you fly to another country for dental treatment?
Dental treatment overseas is becoming more popular and accessible. People are considering packing their bags to chase cheap dentistry overseas rather than seek care in Australia. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) acknowledges that dental tourism is on the rise and they want people to be aware of the risks…… and there are RISKS, and you should be well informed before taking the plunge.
What makes us want to go abroad
For a fraction of the price and a holiday at the same time it sounds like an offer that's too good to be true - and often it is. Most people go overseas because they want fairly complex dentistry done, and the more complex it is, the more likely that something will go wrong. And when it fails, it fails big time.
The risks & impact on your peace of mind
By the time something goes wrong with your treatment, you are back home. Most dentists won’t want to get involved with complex dentistry that has been started overseas, and will then refer you to a specialist. For example, if you have an implant placed and then start to develop symptoms of an infection in the bone, your general dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon and a prosthodontist to deal with the issue.
Once your dental issue has been resolved locally, you’ll find that the savings you initially thought you would make, have now been spent trying to rectify the problem. Also, often the treatment you initially wanted will be no longer possible because of complications during the first stage of treatment which was done overseas.
Overseas dentists have undertaken training that is relevant to their countries healthcare system, which is unlikely to live up to the standards that we pride ourselves here in Australia. Materials and products used differ as well so what is cheaper materials readily available there may not be readily available back home.
When seeing your local dentist, you know where they’ve been trained and that they are registered with the Australian Dental Association. If you are not satisfied with the care and quality of treatment there are avenues to making a complaint and seeking recourse.
Infection Control Standards
Patients considering doing dental work overseas often overlook the infection control component in the decision-making process. Patients often only consider the cost of the dental work, and miss the quality and in particular the infection control component all together.
Australian infection control standards are very stringent, and the standards and procedures are strictly regulated so the risks of contracting anything undesirable from substandard infection control is well managed. This ensures that you have peace of mind and know that you are getting the best care possible.
If you go overseas and find that there are issues with the planned treatment, you may have to consider extending your stay, costing more in accommodation, flights, and spending money. This could impact your work and other plans back home.
Patients have been known to go abroad for cosmetic dentistry, but then on return, the workmanship and quality of treatment was done so poorly that it took significant work and a lot more money to get the problems fixed at home. However, in some cases it may seem all has gone well and there are no immediate symptoms, as it can take some time for some symptoms to manifest. In any case, any rectification work back in Australia could be costly, and finding a dentist willing to do the work to resolve any issues could be very difficult indeed.
In summary, some people have been overseas and had treatment without a problem, and they strongly recommend others to do the same. There are, however, equal amounts of horror stories. Whatever treatment you decide to pursue, make sure you do to your research. The treatment that our Ballarat dentist recommends at Lydiard St Dental Clinic is the treatment we would offer to our friends and family. So rest assured, we want what is best for you and your health.