Posted by Craig Scott on June 01, 2016
Dental Tourism is a spin off from Medical Tourism. The original trend of Medical Tourism was for people from impoverished countries to travel to affluent countries in search of treatment for ailments that they could not get in their homelands. Over time, this trend was reversed. Presently, the typical medical tourist (and dental tourist) comes from an affluent country to receive treatment in a less affluent nation. Many countries around the world have credentialed medical practitioners who can perform treatments for far less of an expense than their counterparts in richer nations can.
Dental Tourism is growing worldwide. So-called “developing countries” are home to an increasing population of well-educated and highly skilled medical professionals that perform their services at a fraction of the cost that their services would command rich nations.
While cost considerations are often the primary motivator for dental tourists, they are certainly not the only concern. Other factors include the way that their respective countries fund public healthcare, the legality of certain medical procedures and how widespread the availability of healthcare is in their country of origin.
Dentists in countries that are destinations for bargain hunting Dental Tourists have lower overhead costs for equipment, personnel and education. This results in lower prices for their patients. Many procedures that are available for dental repair and restoration in rich countries such as the United States are too expensive for the majority of their populations. A single dental implant procedure in the United States can cost as much as $3,500.00. In countries that dental tourists frequent, such as Costa Rica, the same procedure costs as little as $850.00.
Little or no bureaucracy allows the dentists to focus on the practice of dentistry as opposed to splitting their time up between the craft of their profession and their business responsibilities.
Dentists meet the requirements established by accredited educational institutions within their home countries.
Most of the dental practitioners in countries that have become well known for Dental Tourism speak English.
There is often no legal recourse for faulty dental work or procedures that cause injury to the patient.
There are differing standards of professionalism in resource poor countries when compared to their counterparts in affluent nations.
There are companies that operate for the sole purpose of planning out dental vacations. They can provide travel packages that include dental appointments with professionals that have skills that are relevant to your particular issues, hotel reservations, car rentals and visits to traditional tourist destinations within the host country.
Patients Beyond Borders
Patients Beyond Borders is an organization that is dedicated to providing information about global medical care options for people weighing their domestic treatment options against international alternatives.
Patients Beyond Borders establishes lists of reputable medical organizations around the world by obtaining information from U.S. accredited hospitals and clinics, International Health Ministries, public-private healthcare partnerships and elite level hospital associations. This organization also publishes digital and print editions of their ever expanding knowledge base.
(The picture above shows one of the many guides that Patients Beyond Borders has published for purposes of spreading knowledge to their worldwide readership about the many options that are available around the globe for cost-effective, professional and safe medical treatment.)
According to Patients Beyond Borders, a good rule of thumb is the $6,000.00 rule. That is, if your dental care costs will exceed $6,000.00 or more in the United States when juxtaposed with the price in another country with commensurate dental professionals, you should seriously consider going outside of the United States for your treatment. Of course, you should also consider the costs that you will incur from travel and lodging when making your decision.
How many United States residents travel abroad for dental care?
The latest numbers released from Patients Beyond Borders indicate that approximately 400,000 U.S. residents travel abroad for dental care. This number has been steadily growing every year for the past decade and is projected to continue to increase.
Domestic Dental Travel
People that live in the largest cities in the United States will find that dental care costs significantly more in these areas than it does in less populous sections of the country. This is because the overhead costs that a dental office incurs in these cities is much higher than it is in other towns throughout the land. Running a dental office in New York City will require far more money than running a dental office in a small town like Millen, Georgia, for instance.
Before taking the drastic measure of going outside of the United States for your dental care, consider researching the rural areas of the country. There are highly trained dental professionals operating throughout the nation. Big cities are far from the only places where dental experts can be found.
The most popular destinations for Dental Tourism
Residents of the United States will most often visit India, Costa Rica, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and Mexico for their Dental Tourism travels.
For example, Los Algodones, Mexico is home to approximately 350 dentists. Prices in Los Algodones are generally 33% lower than the cost for treatment in the United States. With an abundance of dental labs in the town, dental appliances and fixtures can be constructed very quickly. This means that patients can have an immense amount of work completed in a fraction of the time that it would take in the United States.
Mexico has a reputation for having good dentists. As such, anybody that is doing research into Dental Tourism will find that Mexico features prominently in much of the literature on this topic. Being that the United States shares a border with Mexico, its’ close proximity makes it a very attractive place to have dental work performed.
Dental Tourism and Globalism
The information age has brought the world together in previously unimaginable ways. Thanks to the world wide web, any person with internet access can research their options for dental services on a local, national and global scale. On balance, the pros of Dental Tourism seem to outweigh the cons. Upper echelon dental care practitioners exist all over the world. Their prices vary greatly. However, many are finding that the old age that “You get what you pay for” is not necessarily true in this case.
Due to the cost of education in dentistry, malpractice insurance and an endless sea of bureaucracy and red tape, many dentists in the United States have no choice but to pass the exorbitant costs of running their practices onto their patients. Dental Tourism has therefore risen to prominence through necessity. The vast majority of people that live in rich countries are not rich. The incredible expenses associated with dental treatment are a great burden on many United States citizens. For those that are unafraid to travel abroad and have the resources to do so, Dental Tourism can provide a welcome alternative to the costs associated with dental treatment in the United States of America.