The Great Awakening of Asia Dental Tourism
Philippine dental patients have over 7,000 islands to explore or just kickback on..
CHOICE investigates why some patients are taking dental holidays going to dentists in Asia to save money on their dental treatment.
As dental costs continue to rise, some people are choosing dental holidays abroad for treatment instead.
With reported savings of up to 75% in some countries, it’s not surprising a growing number of people are packing their bags to chase cheap dentistry overseas.
In this report we look at:
· What the overseas options are
· What the downsides and dangers are
· The growing dental crisis in Australia
· Some case studies from home and away
· What to look out for
There are few things in life worse than a trip to the dentist. Some might say the only thing worse is paying the bill. Worse yet, though, is not being able to afford to go at all. Because of this a growing number of Westerners are considering seeking cheaper dental treatment overseas.
And if you’re up for it, there are plenty of medical tourism agencies to help you on your way. Many offer a range of medical options – from cosmetic surgery to elective surgery, eye surgery and fertility treatment while others specialise in one area such as dental.
These agencies will organise your flights, accommodation and even sightseeing (though not travel insurance should a procedure go wrong). They will provide advice on hospitals regarding their success rates and complications for treatment and whether they are accredited by organisations such as the International Organization for Standardizations or the Joint Commission International.
It all sounds pretty tempting, but is dental tourism too good to be true?
Popular Dental Tourism Overseas Destinations
India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Turkey and Mexico are just some of the exotic global destinations on offer for medical tourism. For Australians, the most popular destinations for dental work are Manila and Bangkok. (Update – Manila has just surpassed Thailand due to martial law being declared in Jun. 2014). -ed
Barbara Sherriff, who owns a Queensland travel agency, specialises in sending clients to Asia for dental work, cosmetic surgery and laser eye surgery.
Mr. Sherriff says her travel business came about as a result of her husband’s dental woes. “He needed substantial dental treatment and was quoted $26,000, which was just far too much.”
Clients are asked as to why they’re choosing overseas destinations for their dental care, and the answer is always the same.
“It’s the high cost of dentistry in Australia. I have seen patients who’ve been quoted over $60,000 for substantial work and simply cannot afford to have it done in by a Queensland or Sydney cosmetic dentist.
Ms. Cassandra Italia who owns another agency that sends dental patients from Australian to a variety of countries for care says: “Dental tourism is huge, and the driving factor is cost,” she says. “Even if people make it a dental holiday at the same time they will normally find they still come out better off financially.”
Bangkok dental clinic
The Board Certified Asia Dental Association notes that since the military lock-down of Bangkok, the primary destination for foreign patients has switched to Manila. American English is the national language, "so patients don’t have to know how to say “Ouch” in Malay, Cantonese or Vietnamese" says the Association spokeswoman Sandra Jamala.
“We ensure our dentists are certified for the treatments the dental tourist goes abroad for. The most popular being dental implants, min implants, veneers, orthodontics, oral surgery and cosmetic dentistry.”
"The Association offers the dental tourist vetting of certified dentists, resumes, referrals, cost estimates, appointment setting, ground transportation and dental holidays information. We annually send hundreds of Westerners to dentists in Manila, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, New Delhi and even Mexico."
Board Certified Asia Dental Association services are without cost to patients. -ed
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