Overseas Dental Work: What Are The Risks?
Even if most people do not think of going to the dentist as their idea of a holiday, the idea of dental tourism is spreading quickly. Dental tourism involves travelling to a foreign country for dental care. In many countries, fees for dental treatments are below what they would cost in Australia. For many people, this can mean big savings, especially if they don’t have any dental insurance because many treatments are classed as cosmetic procedures, which are not covered by a regular policy.
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) has warned of the risks involved and we've looked further into the possible problems you could face.
Most Popular Dental Treatments Abroad
The most popular types of dental treatment whilst abroad are:
- Dental Implants
- Cosmetic Dentistry, e.g. teeth whitening, veneers etc
Potential Risks & Things To Consider Before Visiting A Dentist Abroad
The language barrier is an obvious factor to consider. Although many foreign dentists speak great English, others do not. Should you experience any complications during your treatment, the last thing you want is to have trouble understanding what’s going on.
But communication problems can run deeper than just the language. When you have a complex procedure like implants or veneers abroad, you will probably want your dentist to:
- Prepare you for the treatment
- Tell you what to expect during treatment
- Explain common side-effects or discomfort you’ll likely experience afterwards
- Show you how to care for your new teeth
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 at Creative Smiles.
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.
Too many procedures, too little time
Many dental treatments, such as root canal surgery, need to be conducted over a number of visits at least a week apart to give the teeth and gums 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.