I've been seeing an increasing number of dental ads lately relating to "Dental Tourism". If you haven't heard the term before, allow me to explain. Dental Tourism occurs when a person elects to travel outside of the United States to have their dental work done. Popular destinations include Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama and India.
So why have I noticed these ads, and why am I bothering to blog about it?
Several reasons really, but mostly because it's not the vacation that it's made out to be. The ads I've seen make it seem as if you're sipping a pina colada and getting a massage while having a mouth full of dental implants done. Now, I've obviously never engaged in dental tourism, but I'm positive that's not how it's done.
It's not worth leaving the country to get a few fillings. The cost of travel alone will be greater than your dental bill. It's is reasonable to assume then that most patients are engaging in dental tourism for more complicated procedures such as dental implants and full mouth crowning.
What's important to understand is that these are actual surgeries. They are not one appointment treatments, like fillings. Dental implants are a complex procedure, and require a copious amount of after care. Recently, a former patient of mine returned to the practice. She had been to South America and had all of her upper teeth extracted and an implant denture made. She had saved approximately $20,000 by having the work done in South America.
Dental implants are a tricky thing... that's why the best person to place and maintain them is an oral surgeon. Long story short, the patient returned home and had not lined up after care. There were complications, and of course she wasn't able to travel back and forth to South America several times a week. All in all, after having to purchase after care to correct several of the problems, she spent more than she would have if she had had the work done locally.
If you are considering doing extensive dental work, it is best to select a local dentist that you trust. You can then guarantee that aftercare will be included with your work, and that they will be able to address not only any medical issues that arise, but assist with the emotional aspect of your recovery. Plus, it's always great to buy American.
If you have any questions, or would like more information, please visit www.allaboutsmiles.org .