In today’s blog, Hartwell Dentistry will be talking about Dental Tourism, and why you need to think twice about going overseas for dental treatment.
WHAT IS DENTAL TOURISM?
Dental tourism or dental vacations is when individuals receive dental care outside their local region (often overseas). Often it involves people travelling from developed countries to developing countries nearby.
There are companies which advertise comprehensive dental treatment at a fracture of the prices quoted in Australia. They claim that the lower costs are due to lower cost in labour and administrative cost.
But what price are you willing to pay??
REASON PEOPLE MAY CHOOSE DENTAL TOURISM
Although dental tourism is not a new phenomenon it has increased it its attractiveness due to the possibility of saving money on dental expenses with the chance of having a holiday at the same time.
- Dental treatments in developed countries, Europe, US and Australia are very expensive
- Some people are finding that their health insurance does not cover enough of the expense.
In conclusion the reasons for choosing dental tourism keep coming back to the same thing, COST!
People feel that they can get their dental treatment completed at a much lower cost with the “added benefit” of a holiday and still not pay as much as they would at their local dentist.
WHAT ARE THE DANGERS AND DOWNSIDE?
Despite the websites of these overseas dental locations offering ‘high quality’ treatment that is ‘safe, clean and very hygienic’1, Australians should be reminded that at the cost of saving money, there are risks involved with receiving dental treatment overseas. According to the Australian Dental Association (2012), the most obvious pitfalls of dental tourism would involve substandard infection control standards, quality of materials and lack of regulatory supervision2.
Most people that are contemplating overseas dental treatment require complex work such as implants, bridges, crowns, root canal treatment. The more complex the work is the more can go wrong2. Furthermore, the limited time that is available for such treatment means that the potential for substandard treatment increases, and the continual maintenance and ongoing dental care is neglected. An obvious point of miscommunication would be the difference in language and culture – thus, the needs of the patient are not thoroughly explored2. Not only that, but overseas practitioners are unlikely to have patients’ dental records of medical records which can be vital information required before treatment2. Overall, the complications that could arise from dental vacations could result in more costly treatment in Australia to fix1.
The dental care in Australia frequently regulated and supervised to ensure that dental treatment is of a high standard. Practitioners have to have a certain number of hours of continual professional education in order to maintain their qualifications. The Therapeutic Goods Admin approves the materials and equipment, and the infection control in Australia is the world’s best standards2. A governing body manages the practitioners’ licenses/qualifications, meaning that there are mechanisms for complaint resolution and there would be repercussions of poor dental treatment2.
SOMETHINGS TO THINK ABOUT
ADA recommends Australian’s should ask themselves will their overseas treatment remedy dental long term problems.
- Will it be safe?
- Can patients be assured they will not be worse off?
- Are they fully aware of what treatment is actually provided?
In summary, the facts speak for themselves, do you really want to risk potentially more cost added to your dental bill and risk your health just for the added benefit of having holiday. Dental treatment and vacations should be two separate things.
- Australian Dental Association (Sept 2012), ‘The pitfalls of dental tourism’ and ‘dental tourism turns into a nightmare’, Australian Dental Association Victoria Newsletter, p. 17
- Australian Dental Association (Nov 2012 no 415), ‘Overseas dental holidays, fraught with risk, warns ADA’, Australian Dental Association News Bulletin, p. 28