Overseas Dental Holidays – What They Don’t tell You

Overseas Dental Holidays – What They Don’t tell You
by on November 21, 2017

Save money! Go abroad and get your teeth done and get a holiday for less money than using a dentist at home! That’s what the brochures say and it’s certainly true that there are places in the world that using a dentist might cost less than at home. But here’s what they don’t tell you and it’s pretty frightening stuff:

The head of the Australian Dental Association Neil Howson says of the idea, “It’s a bit of a lottery. We advise people not to do it, we sort of warn them of the possible, adverse things that might happen.”

He says that the majority of overseas dental horror stories never make it to the press because people are highly embarrassed about them. Neil explained that our mouths are intensely personal places and because they affect our looks we don’t want to tell the world and show the public our worst days.

So, what can go wrong?

One of the first problems you are likely to encounter in cheap tourist destinations is that the dental sector is significantly less regulated than it is in Australia. That means dentists may not have studied as long to become a dentist and may not be confident and/or competent to diagnose exactly what is going on in your mouth.

It also means that there’s no real code of practice or ethics being enforced. That can result in dentists trying to upsell vulnerable patients on expensive and often unnecessary treatments.

There is also the issue that this kind of environment fails to promote best practice working and overseas dentists can lag current developments in dentistry severely. So, for example, biomemetic dentistry which is a non-invasive form of dentistry designed to play to the strengths of your natural teeth and which, long-term, prevents substantial dental work may not be an option.

There’s often no comeback

The regulatory and oversight issues, however, pale in comparison to your ability to seek recourse if things go terribly wrong. Dentists are human and they can make mistakes but they are obliged to make that right if things go wrong in Australia.

This simply isn’t the case in places like Thailand and Cambodia. There if things go wrong, you have no comeback. You can’t sue the dentist. There’s no government protection scheme. If they botch your dental work, you’re stuck with it.

Bigger problems often don’t occur until later

Finally, there’s the problem that when dentistry goes wrong, it often doesn’t go wrong immediately after the procedure. A poor filling may take months before it falls out and the tooth underneath has suffered massive additional damage. Some of these issues can be irreparable by the time they are discovered.

You get what you pay for

The best rule of thumb in life is that you get what you pay for. When you use an Australian dentist you are paying a premium that covers insurance if things do go wrong, it covers an ethical and best practice approach to dentistry and it includes the latest techniques and the most skilled dentists.

Can you really say that your mouth isn’t worth a little extra cash? We didn’t think so. If you’d like to talk about the risks of going overseas and have us take a look at your teeth, instead please contact us today.

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