Dental tourism bites!
Everyone loves a vacation. While some people might like cruises to Alaska or skating across the frozen fjords of Finland, many people vastly prefer a simpler set up: sun, sand, and a cold drink in hand. Some agencies make a tropical vacation combined with cheap dental care look like a day of fun in the sun. They advertise anything from cheap orthodontics to low cost endodontics. Many people actually do travel abroad to get access to low cost endodontics. ‘Dental tourism’, as it has been often called, is actually a large source of revenue for some countries, and a big pain in the tooth for many Americans. But is it worth it?
The Benefits of Traveling Abroad for Low Cost Endodontics
Really the only benefit of travelling abroad to receive low cost dental care is that you get to go to another country. The costs are lower than the average endodontist, but there are other ways to get good, low cost endodontics that don’t include risking life and limb. Which brings us to the next point.
The Disadvantages of Dental Tourism
RDH recently put out an article on the risks of dental tourism, citing the following reasons:
- It can be dangerous to health. Many Americans travel to 3rd-World countries like Mexico to get their dental work done. In Los Algodones, Mexico, 90% of dental patients are Americans! These Americans put themselves at risk of developing any number of the following diseases:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Typhoid fever (with a mortality rate of 10%!)
- Amebiasis (parasites)
- Shigellosis (untreatable and has a mortality rate of 20%)
- They may receive a lower standard of care than that available in the United States, due to our regulations which are enforced by multiple health agencies.
- Dentists abroad have little to no responsibility regarding unsatisfied clients. Without Yelp or Google reviews, and without board certifications, there is no way to tell whether or not a dentist is reliable, and it’s even harder to hold him responsible for any work gone wrong because he lives in a different country.
- You run the risk of needing work re-done. It’s not the exception; it’s a common story. Patient A gets a cheap implant or root canal. Cue infections and unnecessary tooth loss, followed by extensive endodontic re-treatment.
- Endodontics is often time-sensitive, and only time can tell whether or not a procedure has gone perfectly with zero risk of infection. Dental tourism limits your ability to either return to a dentist in another country, or to have the correct records you would need in case of an emergency.
In the end, your best bet for low cost endodontics is a dental clinic attached to a top school of dentistry. Skip the hazards, and pick the best. Contact Penn Dental Medicine to find out just how much you can save, without losing anything to shady dental tourism.