Going on holiday usually involves getting a tan, experiencing new cultures, or enjoying a cocktail by the resort pool. However, there are an ever-increasing number of people considering dusting off the ol’ passport to get dental work performed overseas ‘on the cheap’. This new trend is commonly known as “dental tourism”.
The decision to become a dental tourist usually comes down to one simple thing – saving money. And while it’s true you may save some money in the short term, the reality is that the risk for things going wrong is real and all those expected savings can quickly disappear.
Things can go wrong
Complex dentistry generally involves many intricate processes to achieve an outstanding result. This requires significant expertise, as complications may arise in the dental chair. It is worth considering that when the work is done in Australia you’re close to highly-trained dentists who can perform corrective procedures as needed. But if the treatment is performed overseas, you may be unable to access the expert emergency care you might need.
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 here. Luxurious looking practices do not necessarily correspond to high quality treatment nor exemplify the provision of strict regulations.
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. Overseas clinics may promote their “strict protocols”, they are not regulated the same way as dentists and practices in Australia.
Too many procedures, too little time
Many dental treatments, such as root canal surgery or implants may need to be conducted over a number of visits, sometimes at least weeks 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.
Dr Calavassy, Clinical Director of Maven Dental says luxurious clinics, slick websites, and the appearance of top-end equipment doesn’t necessarily mean best in clinical practice.
I would advise extreme caution to have dental treatment performed overseas due to the inherent risks of having complex procedures performed in clinics that know you will be returning home in a few weeks
We have seen horrific outcomes of patients who have had procedures performed overseas and these patients have had no line of recourse for corrective treatment. In Australia, dentists are regulated and there are strict codes of conduct that need to be followed as part of their registration as a dentist
Without these controls in place, the regulation of dental treatment is harder to control and the patient will ultimately suffer. Dr Calavassy said
Before you think about jetting off on a dental holiday, consider that Maven Dental has practices at over 110 locations around Australia, and all our clinicians are registered and regulated in accordance with Australian law. And with payment options like Afterpay or 18 Months Interest Free, it’s easier than ever before to have that treatment you desire and get that smile you deserve.
While the lure of cheap dentistry might be enticing, consider what happens if it doesn’t work out. Don’t be sold on glitz and glamour alone.
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