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Dental tourism refers to traveling abroad to get dental treatment. Many people have left, or plan to leave, their country of residence for a “dental vacation.” They may seek higher-quality care, a more attractive price, or both.
Visiting another country for dental care is an increasingly common form of medical tourism. Medical tourism, including dental tourism, can be divided into three basic categories:
This article focuses on the second type of dental tourism. For well-established dental treatments such as dental implants, going to a less expensive country is an attractive option for many people.
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As dental tourism becomes an increasingly compelling option for many people, it’s worth considering the benefits and potential risks. While the advantages of traveling for dental care may seem obvious, the drawbacks may not be as obvious.
There are several potential advantages to dental tourism as an alternative to treatment at home, including:
There are also some potential disadvantages to traveling abroad for dental treatment. These include:
Some of the most popular destinations for dental tourism include:
Other increasingly popular countries for foreigners seeking dental care include Spain, Poland, Romania, the Dominican Republic, Turkey, and the Philippines.
The best country for you to visit will depend on your preferences, current location, available funds, and any cultural association you might have with the country in question. You should choose a reputable dentist with a proven track record wherever you decide to go.
The trend of people visiting dental clinics abroad (that cater to foreigners) has grown significantly during this century.
This type of dental tourism is on the rise for several reasons:
The total cost of a dental vacation takes into account the cost of treatment, travel, and accommodation. Keep this in mind and weigh these factors against potential risks.
Other costs you’ll want to take into account may include:
It’s possible that when everything is accounted for, the total cost of your trip will still be significantly less expensive than getting treatment at home. This is the bargain dental tourists are typically hoping to achieve.
On the other hand, the total cost may be more expensive than just getting treatment at home. You should rethink your plans or decide if the trip is still worth the expense.
Dental insurance may cover out-of-country treatment. Many travel insurance policies also cover dental treatment (however, this is typically only for emergencies).
If you’re living or working abroad long-term, you may want to consider an international health insurance policy with a global network of care providers. Dental coverage can often be included in this kind of policy.
If you have dental insurance, do the following to ensure you’re covered before traveling:
Even without insurance, dental tourism may get you a better deal than getting treatment at home. But only you can determine this.
Thoroughly research your options, and consider getting dental insurance (and travel insurance) if you don’t already have it. Remember that there may be a waiting period between starting your policy and getting full coverage.
You’ll need to plan beforehand to ensure a safe and successful trip. Before committing to going abroad as a dental tourist, here are some steps you’ll want to take:
Do your research to ensure quality treatment with a reputable dentist. Before traveling, you’ll want to:
Before embarking on your trip, you should eliminate as many uncertainties as possible about the reputation of your dentist and the quality of treatment you can expect.
The specific dental procedure you’re getting may dictate your travel schedule. Be ready to plan multiple trips or a longer stay if necessary.
For example, many people going abroad for dental care seek dental implants. Implant surgery generally requires at least two visits:
Consider having your dentist at home handle the permanent crowns, but getting the information they need from the original dentist may be difficult. You’ll likely need to plan two multi-day stays several months apart for successful treatment.
This is just one example of how your specific treatment needs may affect your travel plans. Know beforehand what you plan to have done and how you’ll account for follow-up visits or changes.
Before traveling abroad, it’s best to be as prepared as possible to be a guest in another country. At a minimum, you’ll want to ensure you have a valid passport and the funds needed to cover travel expenses.
After that, consider the following:
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Dental tourism may be more cost-effective than other kinds of medical tourism. This is because dental education and technology in many countries are comparable to that of the United States or Australia.
The difference in quality of dental care between the two countries may be significantly less than that of (for example) cancer treatment.
Like travel agencies, a dental tourism agency can be a liaison between you and local businesses. They may work with a specific group of reliable dental clinics and provide deals on travel and accommodation costs.
Dental implants may motivate more dental tourism than any other procedure.
Generally, the more specialized or cosmetic a procedure, the more likely it is to motivate dental tourism. By comparison, people are much less likely to go abroad for general dental care, such as routine cleaning.
Given that the dental tourism industry continues to grow, it’s clear that American and Australian patients tend to be satisfied with their treatment.
However, it’s important to vet your dental clinic before choosing, as complications from treatment abroad can be especially costly. Many dental tourism websites allow you to see patient feedback and get advice.
Dental tourism is a growing industry, as many people from countries like the United States can find quality dental services at a lower price by going abroad.
This is especially the case for procedures like dental implant surgery. These procedures require a high degree of skill and expertise but can vary greatly in cost from one location to another.
If you’re interested in getting dental work done in another country, do your research. Get advice from others who have done it before. Look for a reputable dental clinic with good patient feedback, and make sure you’re financially and logistically prepared to travel.
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