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Sunday, 9 July 2017

Dangers of Dental Tourism

Dr. Vincent Wan


Do you fully understand the dangers of dental tourism?  I hear it from patients all the time.  “If it costs this much for dental treatment in Australia, I might as well go to Thailand and get all my teeth done for a fraction of the cost there and have a holiday at the same time!”.  Many patients are only having a whinge about the cost of dental treatment in Australia and are not seriously considering going overseas for their dental care at all.  However, there are some patients that actually consider dental tourism as something they realistically want to do.  I actually can’t believe the number of people who want to go overseas for cheap dental treatment without understanding the dangers of dental tourism.

The first thing that many people don’t realise is how tough the healthcare standards are in Australia compared to over countries.  In Australia, dentists need to study at university and pass their training on actual patients before graduating from their bachelor degrees.  They need to be registered as a dentist and meet fitness to practise, continuing education, infection control, and currency of practise conditions.  Dentists and the places they work in, be it private practices or dental hospitals, are highly regulated so the dental treatment provided in Australia is safe.  The same stringent regulation cannot be said of dentistry in many other countries, so there is some safety risk.

A very real danger of dental tourism, is that it may end up not being that cheap after all.  It may be more expensive for you if something goes wrong.  If something goes wrong, you will either have to meet the costs of going back overseas for more treatment or pay to see another dentist in Australia for corrective dental treatment.

Even if the overseas dentist and clinic are great and your treatment seems to have gone well, there can be longer term consequences.  You may be having too much dental treatment done in too little time.  Many dental treatments such as root canal treatments, implant surgery, and veneers and crowns are complex treatments that need multiple appointments and healing time.  The longer you stay overseas the more expensive it gets, so many people try and pack everything into a limited amount of time, but this may not be the best thing for your body as it needs longer to heal.  You may not realise there is a problem until after full healing when you are back in Australia.

Do you fully understand the dangers of dental tourism?  If you are considering going overseas for dental treatment, please think carefully about it, do your research and know the risks that you are taking.