If you’ve traveled to Mexico or another country, you may assume that the reason for the vacation was to relax, see the sights, or experience the local culture. However, a growing number of Americans are traveling to other countries for a completely unexpected reason: affordable dental care. From Costa Rica to Mexico, India to Spain, discover the rapidly rising trend of dental tourism.
Why Do People Engage in Dental Tourism?
The answer to why dental tourism is such a rising trend boils down to one thing: affordable treatments. Even if you have insurance in America, many companies only cover up to $1500 each year and a lot of them won’t cover cosmetic treatments at all. Considering that a dental implant can cost as much as $5000 per tooth in America, it’s no surprise that a lot of patients are taking their chances in other countries, where these procedures are a fraction of the cost.
10 most popular countries for dental tourism
Countries that are popular for dental tourism only need one requirement: They offer the services at a lower price. Mexico is an extremely popular destination due to its close proximity to the United States and much lower prices for dental care. Other countries that are excellent for dental tourism include:
- Costa Rica
How much can you save with dental tourism?
For Americans to pay for a flight to another country just for dental treatment, you’d expect the savings to be pretty significant. Rossarin Phinyowan from Dental Departures estimates that people save up to 80% by traveling to other countries for their dental care. Since treatments like veneers and implants cost thousands of dollars, this savings can make a massive difference.
Making Dental Tourism a Reality
For those who are prepared to risk traveling to a country where dental procedures are more affordable, the first step in the process is to plan where to go. Once you have a country in mind, a little research will help you narrow it down to a city and even the specific dental practice you think matches your needs. Contact them to schedule an appointment, book your flight and hotel, and you’re well on your way to living the life of a dental tourist.
The Risks Inherent in Dental Tourism
America has some of the highest medical and dental costs in the world, but also arguably the highest standards in safety and care. This means that with the lower cost of going to Mexico for your treatment, you’re also taking on increased risk by accepting their lower standards. This makes it a risky decision for the following reasons:
Your Dentist May Be Poorly Trained Compared to American Dentists
Since elaborate dental procedures depend greatly on the experience of the dentist who’s performing them, this is a huge risk to accept. For example, American dentists who provide Invisalign, like Dr. Stephen Grussmark in Miami, FL, are carefully regulated and even receive a ranking depending on how many patients they treat with the procedure.
Patients can clearly see that Dr. Grussmark has a Diamond Plus rating from Invisalign, signifying vast experience with the procedure. However, this information may not be available for doctors overseas, so you may never know their credentials.
If a Treatment Fails Overseas, Your Options are Limited
Dental treatments aren’t 100% guaranteed to succeed. From implants to root canal therapy, there are times when dental procedures fail, and when it happens, it’s good to understand your options.
If you’re in America visiting a local dentist like Dr. Nicholas Sager, then it’s easy to know that you can return to the practice if anything goes wrong to have it corrected — most if not all American dentists abide by that standard. However, if you’re in an unfamiliar country and your flight leaves the next day, it can be difficult to find emergency treatment for your failed procedure.
The Standards or Procedure May Be Completely Different in Other Countries
America has clear-cut rules and standards regarding medical procedures and safe practices. Whether you’re getting veneers from a doctor in the midwest like Dr. Bryan Klym or hundreds of miles away on either coast, you have a solid idea of what to expect and feel like you’re on the same page about what the procedure entails.
You probably won’t have that same level of confidence when traveling to a foreign country. The materials, methods, and results may be far different than what you’re expecting. This is another aspect of dental tourism that makes it unpredictable and emphasizes the need for thorough research.
Cheap Dental Care–Is It Worth the Risk?
America has a lot of advantages that make it a great and free country. With that high standard of quality often comes high costs, and this is especially true when it comes to medical and dental treatments. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual to assess the risks of dental tourism and to make the personal decision to save money through dental tourism. By doing your research beforehand and talking to those who’ve done it, you can maximize your chances for a safe, effective experience.