As you already know, routine dental trips are vital for keeping your teeth in tip top shape, but could you imagine having to make an actual trip abroad for dental work?
You might’ve heard of this somewhat new fad called “dental tourism.” A lot of Americans try to bypass expensive dentistry by going abroad for dental work. Most of the time, people travel to poorer countries where the dollar stretches further, like Costa Rica, Mexico, Thailand, and even Canada.
With all of the variables added together, we’re not going to pretend like dental work doesn’t get costly. After all, a lot of money goes into running a dental practice, including purchasing the most state-of-the-art technology, buying insurance, paying taxes, and buying the best materials for cosmetic dentistry. Not to mention, in America, the costs of lab fees to make crowns and implants are more expensive than other parts of the world.
You might think that going to another country for a dental vacation sounds like a good idea, but oftentimes these dental trips can turn into dental nightmares. Today, we want to talk about some of the pros and cons of dental tourism, so you can make informed decisions about your dental health treatments.
Why You Might Consider Dental Tourism
Medical tourism is incredibly popular. Every year, thousands of Americans and Europeans travel to get dental work done in other countries. You might consider dental tourism, if you are already traveling abroad to a country, where it’s cheaper than home. It’s more convenient, if you’re already going to be in the country, than actually planning a trip strictly to get dental work done.
Truth be told, you can save a lot of money getting crowns, dental implants, or bridges abroad. If you plan your trip correctly, dental care can be much more economic than receiving it at home, even with dental insurance. Depending on the procedures you’re receiving, you can save thousands of dollars.
One couple that traveled to Mazatlan, Mexico was able to get $21,000 worth of dental work for only $3,500. So, why are dental treatments so inexpensive in Mexico? Well, for one, there are less regulations. Less regulations mean that dental offices in Mexico are able to save money by offering out-of-pocket treatments without having to pay for extra insurance or taxes.
They’re also more inexpensive, because rent is cheaper, and they might skimp on less effective dental materials. On one hand, the fewer government regulations are good for the dentist’s and your pocket book. But, on the other hand, it makes getting dental work a gamble, because dentists don’t have to follow precautionary guidelines or use regulated materials.
Why You Might Be Better Off Getting Dental Work at Home
Your main motivation for looking into dental tourism is probably money. Alas, money doesn’t matter if you end up with a complication down the road. One of the main risks of getting dental work done abroad is that in most low-income countries there aren’t medical regulations. In the United States, dentists have to pass strict exams, practice OSHA regulations, and all employees have to have their hepatitis B vaccines to protect the patient.
Getting dental treatments abroad, primarily in Mexico, could put you at risk for infection. In fact, only 21% of dentists in Mexico are vaccinated for Hepatitis B. Not to mention, in Mexico, infectious diseases are more rampant than the United States. There are more instances of hepatitis, tuberculosis, and typhoid fever spread through malpractice.
However, this is the worst case scenario. You also have to worry about the quality of the actual dentistry you’re receiving. Oftentimes, you can get botched treatments. It’s not uncommon for people to travel to Mexico for veneers or dental implants, then have them fall out later. This can be especially traumatic, if you had your teeth removed to receive implants.
Before deciding to get dental work abroad, we recommend taking the time to do a lot of research. Make sure that your provider is who he says he is and has good reviews. It also helps if you make sure that he’s credentialed in international dental associations. Most of all, listen to your gut.
With the passage of the affordable healthcare act, dentistry in America is becoming more accessible for people of all economic backgrounds. If you can, try and access dental insurance, so you can afford to have your procedures in the comfort and safety of your own country.