I have had two patients in recent years that had their work done overseas. One patient needed all her teeth removed after having faulty crown and veneer treatment, the other ones; a married couple showed up to my office with decay and poor fitting crowns on every tooth in their mouths, 56 teeth in total, and need root canals , extractions and re doing of all the work for a cost of over $100,000.
Dental tourism has seen a rise in recent years, with Americans booking trips around visits to foreign doctors for cheaper treatment than they find at home. However, while it may seem like glitz and glamour, there are many reasons to reconsider traveling abroad for dental treatment. Today, we’re breaking down the biggest dangers related to dental tourism! (not including the gastrointestinal issues.)
The American Dental Association (ADA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) heavily regulate all dental practices in the United States and require diligent standards to be upheld by doctors. When you travel abroad for treatment, you leave these regulations behind and are entering uncharted territory regarding standards of care. Without regulation, you risk unsterile environments, a lack of hygiene, and a generally unsafe experience.
While most dental procedures are relatively safe, there is always the risk of complication, especially when you’ve had work done in an unregulated environment. Complications far from home can be much riskier and more dangerous than those faced close to your own doctor. Language barriers can add another layer of complication to your procedure and a miscommunication about your recovery needs could be harmful. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns that traveling post-surgery can lead to blood clots and that surgery abroad has a great risk of infection.
Everyone has heard a horror story about someone traveling abroad and realizing their body does not agree with the local food or water. While most issues of this nature can be avoided with diligent hand washing, choosing particular foods to eat, and drinking filtered water, having a dental procedure performed poses a new threat for exposure to germs and bacteria. The CDC warns that medical procedures abroad can increase your risk for coming in contact with drug resistant bacteria and increases your risk of illness in general. The dental labs are filthy in some countries.
At home, your dentist has a detailed history of your past medical needs and procedures. There is a general base of knowledge about your needs and medical history that can help your dentist treat whatever issue is arising at the moment. When traveling abroad, there are no past dental records to work from, no knowledge of how you react to certain drugs, and just a general lack of personal understanding that can put you at risk in a way visiting a trusted professional at home wouldn’t.
why take the risk? You are paying US fees when you factor in flight and hotel fees!