Going on holiday usually involves getting a tan, experiencing new cultures, or enjoying a cocktail by the resort pool. However, there are an ever-increasing number of people considering dusting off the ol’ passport to get dental work performed overseas ‘on the cheap’. This new trend is commonly known as “dental tourism”.
The decision to become a dental tourist usually comes down to one simple thing – saving money. And while it’s true you may save some money in the short term, the reality is that the risk for things going wrong is real and all those expected savings can quickly disappear.
Things can go wrong Complex dentistry generally involves many intricate processes to achieve an outstanding result. This requires significant expertise, as complications may arise in the dental chair. It is worth considering that when the work is done in Australia you’re close to highly-trained dentists who can perform corrective procedures as needed. But if the treatment is performed overseas, you may be unable to access the expert emergency care you might need. Standards aren’t as stringent While Australian dentists are trained to a very high standard, must be registered, and are required to operate in a strictly-regulated environment, not all countries have the same requirements. The overseas dentist you select to do your dental work may not be as qualified as their Australian peers and may not be working with the same quality materials as those routinely used here. Luxurious looking practices do not necessarily correspond to high quality treatment nor exemplify the provision of strict regulations. Infection and antibiotic resistance A matter of increasing concern for health professionals is the growth of “Superbugs” which are resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat serious infections. Previously rare in Australia, they are appearing more and more as people return from treatment in overseas hospitals and clinics without this country’s infection control standards. Australian dentists, by contrast, are obligated to adhere to strict infection control protocols. Overseas clinics may promote their “strict protocols”, they are not regulated the same way as dentists and practices in Australia.. Too many procedures, too little time Many dental treatments, such as crowns, root canal therapy, surgery or implants may need to be conducted over a number of visits, sometimes at least weeks apart to give the teeth, gums and bone sufficient time to recover between procedures. Trying to squeeze a complex number of procedures into a typical holiday means you’re risking all kinds of complications, even if the work is performed to an acceptable standard.
Dr Gurguis, Lead Dentist at Natural Dentistry says luxurious clinics, slick websites, and the appearance of top-end equipment doesn’t necessarily mean best in clinical practice.
There are inherent risks having complex procedures performed in overseas clinics and I’d advise people take extreme caution when considering any overseas treatment.
I’ve been in the dental industry a long time and we’ve helped patients who’ve had horrific outcomes from overseas dental clinics.
In Australia we are highly regulated and there are strict codes of conduct that need to be followed as part of our registration as a dentist. Without these controls it’s a lot harder to control dental treatment and unfortunately the patient suffers.
Before you think about jetting off on a dental holiday, consider that all our clinicians are registered and regulated in accordance with Australian law. And with payment options like 18 Months Interest Free, it’s easier than ever before to have that treatment you desire and get that smile you deserve. While the lure of cheap dentistry might be enticing, consider what happens if it doesn’t work out. Don’t be sold on glitz and glamour alone. While the lure of cheap dentistry might be enticing, consider what happens if it doesn’t work out. Don’t be sold on glitz and glamour alone.