Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans, Australians, Brits, Canadians and people from all over the world travel to Mexico, Thailand, Costa Rica and dozens of other destinations for dental care. Cross-border patients enjoy discounts of up to 75% over what they might pay at home; many are able to combine their treatment with a few days off to travel or recover in soothing surroundings.
Because contemporary dental travel is relatively new, misconceptions abound. Here are a few, along with the facts:
1. Everyone Can Save Money
While it is true that you can save up to 75% on the cost of your dental care, traveling abroad for treatment doesn’t make sense for everyone. If you need only fillings, or a single extraction, or a simple check-up and cleaning, the money spent on travel and lodging might not be worth the trade-off unless you already have plans to travel to a given destination. The greatest savings are realized by patients requiring extensive work, such as multiple implants, full dentures, full mouth reconstruction and other costly procedures.
2. Foreign Dentists are Unsafe and Poorly Trained
It depends. Excellent and inferior dentists can be found most anywhere, including the US, UK, Canada and Australia. Many foreign dentists, especially in popular dental destinations such as Costa Rica, Mexico, Hungary and Thailand have completed their specialty training at elite US, UK and Australian dental colleges and are members of the American Dental Association, the Australian Dental Association or the British Dental Association. Search online for reviews about specific dentists you may plan to visit and check their credentials. Also, check out photos of Dental Departures member clinics. You may be surprised to find they look more modern than your dentist back home.
3. The Cost of Travel Isn't Worth It
While it is true that a dental vacation will not financially benefit everyone, some patients can save thousands of dollars. The difference in price between having two or three implants or crowns done in the US versus Mexico – or Australia versus Thailand – can more than outweigh $1000 worth of flight and lodging expenses. Millions of older Americans, and older people all over the world, suffer health issues due to the need for major mouth work. The more dental work you need the more money you are likely to save.
4. Insurance Companies Won’t Cover Dental Travel
Your dental insurance company also has an interest in seeing you save money on your dental care. While most dentists abroad will not directly bill your insurance, your dental plan carrier may reimburse you for your dental expenses upon your return. Check with your dental insurance provider before you leave to learn more about their coverage of dental care in another country.
5. Low Cost of Treatment Means Low Quality
The low price of dentistry abroad does not mean "on the cheap." The best dentists abroad use the same American- and German-made materials and technology as your dentist back home. Because materials prices are often lower abroad, many patients can afford better quality materials than they might be able to afford back home.
Dental care is less expensive abroad largely due to the cost of labor, which runs anywhere from 25%-50% the cost for similar treatment in Canada, the US, Australia or the UK. Dentists practicing outside expensive healthcare countries generally don't pay nearly as much for dental malpractice insurance; these savings are passed on to you the patient.
6. Foreign Dentists Do Not Sterilize Their Equipment
While standards vary from country to country, every modern dental clinic in the world uses steam Autoclave sterilization chambers to sterilize their tools and equipment. Also, international organizations, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), The Canadian Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities (CAAASF), the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Healthcare (AAAHC), extend memberships, accreditation and international clinical standards to quality dentists all over the world.
Know Before You Go
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