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Dental Tourism

As dental costs continue to rise, a lot of Australians are choosing to travel overseas for treatment with reported savings of up to 75% in some countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and India. The low price tags of these dental holidays are luring more and more Australians overseas each year.

Most people go overseas because they want fairly complex work done – crowns, bridges, root canals and implants. What a lot of people don’t understand is that the more complex the procedures, the more likely it is that something will go wrong. Trying to squeeze several complex procedures into a short holiday means people risk all kinds of complications, even if the work is performed to an acceptable standard.
Complex dental procedures require ongoing follow up work and time to settle, and can sometimes require corrective action.

People that require corrective work end up having more problems that would have been minimised if the original work had been done in Australia, where dentists are held accountable for any failed treatments or complications arising from a procedure. Returning overseas to see the original practitioner means that any savings gained from the first ‘cheap trip’ are likely to be lost, along with any additional costs seeing a dentist back home to treat the dental issue ‘mid-stream’.

While Australian dentists are trained to a very high standard, must be registered, and are required to operate in a strictly-regulated environment with strict infection control procedures in place, not all countries have the same requirements. The overseas dentist may not be as qualified as their Australian peers and may not be working with the same quality of materials as those routinely used here.

If you are unsure what to do, before making the decision to have dental treatment overseas, make sure you ask your overseas dentist some simple questions:

• What qualifications do you have? Where did you attend university?
• Are you registered? Which dental board or standards association are you registered with?
• What can go wrong with the treatment?
• What happens if things do go wrong? How much will it cost to come back and fix the issue?
• How are the instruments cleaned and sterilized?

Do your own research with the answers to these questions and discuss your options with friends and family to determine whether or not you believe the overseas practice would meet Australian standards.

We have seen a lot of acceptable and even high quality dental work that has been done overseas, however we have also had to help devastated people who have had things go horribly wrong once they are back home. When we need to help people with correcting dental work from failed overseas treatment, it can be anywhere from a few months to a few years down the track. Due to time differences and language barriers it can sometimes be difficult for us to get in touch with the original overseas dentist to get the information we need about the materials and products used for us to help our patient.

In the unfortunate event of something going wrong, to help us help you, make sure you always get a copy of the materials and products used including any measurements and brand names.

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