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Dental Tourism: A money-saving adventure or a costly mistake?

Adventure and relaxation used to be the main reason for travelling overseas. However the face of holidays is changing – for many travellers quite literally! Yes, medical tourism has snowballed in recent years especially in the area of dental treatment. Enticed by low prices and the opportunity to recover after a procedure by a pool with a cocktail, many are opting for overseas dental treatment. Few though consider the real dangers of dental tourism and many simply believe that the higher $ price paid in Australia is simply to line practice owners pockets. The truth is however that when you go overseas for dental treatment, the price may be much higher than you think. So what are the dangers? Is dental treatment in Australia really that expensive? What are you really getting for your money?

The dangers of dental tourism:

-          When things go wrong

The reason that most people travel overseas for dental treatment comes down to one simple thing: saving money. And while it would be unfair to say that things never go wrong in the dental chair in Australia, the truth is that if this does happen in Australia there are standards of practice which protect you and highly-trained dentists close at hand who can perform corrective procedures.

-          Standards of practice & Infection

All Australian dentists must be registered and are required to operate in a strictly regulated environment. This is particularly true in the case of ADA accredited practices such as here at Dental Excellence. The sterilisation, cleaning audits and infection control procedures alone take a large part of the nurses’ daily tasks.  Unfortunately many “superbugs” are now becoming present in Australia, often brought into the country from people who have spent time in medical facilities overseas with poor infection control standards. Infection control standards are simply not guaranteed in many other countries due to them operating by different regulations. Australia has a world-wide reputation for being a country at the forefront of medical innovation and safety.

-          Too many procedures too close together

Many dental tourists travel overseas for the more costly procedures such as Root Canal treatments, crowns and implants. These are procedures that need to be carried out over a period of weeks and months to ensure the teeth and gums are given sufficient time to recover between procedures. Trying to fit a number of appointments into just a week or two puts you, the patient, at risk of all kinds of complications and treatment failure, even if the work has been done to an acceptable standard!

Is dental treatment really that expensive in Australia?

Dental treatment may seem to be expensive in Australia until you consider what you are getting for your money! Your dentist will be fully insured to protect patients against any malpractice. The equipment is made to meet the Australian standard resulting in you receiving the best possible treatment with fully functioning machinery. Every item that comes into contact with your mouth has been sterilised to the highest infection-control standard. Your dentist has studied and trained for many years to gain his expertise. Every product used in your mouth from composite material to floss has been tested to meet the Australian health and safety standard for medical use.  Your dentist is committed to caring for you to the highest possible standard because they are interested in developing a long-term patient-dentist relationship- they are not interested in a quick fix like many overseas dentist who will probably never see you again.

When you take all of this into account, Australia actually offers value for money. When it comes to your health ask yourself it is affordable for you to budget to possibly need to have a procedure done twice – taking into consideration the cost in both time and money?

Here at Dental Excellence we have seen too many patients who have been distressed after receiving poor dental treatment overseas to even consider recommending dental tourism as an option. Plus because we are a HBF Preferred Provider, most of our patients have minimal out-of-pocket expenses even on major dental treatment.

So if you have been considering overseas dental treatment for a while, why not at least us for a second opinion and a quote? You may be pleasantly surprised! In the end, many health-insured patients pay less than the price for the procedure overseas, meaning that when they do go on holiday they can properly enjoy that pool-side cocktail safe in the knowledge that their health has not been put at risk.

Photocredit: @bellaablues photography

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