It is no secret that dental and healthcare costs in developed countries like Australia have been on the steady rise. This has resulted in many people choosing to take their dental treatments overseas. The appealing dental tourism brochures are luring many to consider whether they should get their implants or veneers done overseas. If you are one of those tinkering with that idea, you may wish to ask yourself several questions before jumping in with two feet.
Question #1: What are the qualifications of the dentists?
Interestingly, the heavily commercialised dental tourism advertisements tend to bank on the tourist destinations and places of interest as their main selling points. Have you noticed that they rarely mention about the skills and knowledge of the dentists? That should already set the alarm bells ringing. After all, isn’t the dental treatment the main reason for taking the holiday? The holiday package was the add-on deal, so to speak. Many would-be patients forget to ask this fundamental question: Are the dentists qualified to work on my teeth? Are they registered dentists? How can I be sure that they are what they claim to be? Back to the original point, if the dentist in question is a reputable one, shouldn’t the ad play it up to maximise its value?
Question #2: Am I a suitable candidate for the procedure?
Before you apply for annual leave and start packing your bags, shouldn’t you at least find out whether you are suitable for the procedure? You would have wasted the entire trip – not to mention expensive flight and hotel accommodation – if you went all the way to find out that you don’t qualify for the procedure in the first place. For example, patients with low bone density are advised against undergoing dental implant surgery – which happens to be one of the most popular treatments that dental tourism caters for.
Question #3: Did I factor in the recovery times?
This is one of the most important questions that you should be asking if you are considering a complicated treatment done abroad. Many have found out too late that they have squeezed too much treatment time into a short holiday, and failed to allocate sufficient recovery time for the procedure. At best, the botched arrangement would damper your holiday mood. Imagine spending the best part of your holiday in bed with a sore mouth. At worst, you may be forced to return with an incomplete treatment because your suture hasn’t completely healed in time.
Question #4: Are there any extra costs for the treatment?
It is often very difficult for a dental practice to determine the price of treatment prior to the consultation. That is why most dental practices publish list prices for a given procedure, but they do not reflect the actual costs – that may be more expensive, relative to the findings made during the initial examination. Depending on the patient’s condition and type of treatment, there may be a need for extra costs to cover additional items like x-rays, prescriptions and anaesthetics. You may or may not wish to continue with treatment after finding out the actual costs. If you were visiting a local dentist, you may choose to take some time to reconsider or visit another clinic. If you find yourself in the same situation at an overseas clinic, you may be forced into a decision since the opportunity costs for reconsideration are much greater.
Hopefully, by asking yourself these pertinent questions, you would arrive at a well-informed decision before taking that plunge.