Recently, the dollar has come back strong against many foreign currencies, and this is starting to lower the costs of travel, which makes some people think medical tourism seems like an attractive option. After all, costs almost everywhere in the world just dropped when compared to costs in the US.
And some people like the idea of going someplace tropical to have their dental implant procedure done. Despite what you may think, though, medical tourism is not a good option for dental implants. Here’s why:
You Don’t know the Quality of the Dentist
Although many foreign-trained dentists are superb (one of our implant dentists trained first in Belgium before taking additional studies here in the US), not all of them are, and it’s a lot harder to tell the difference when you’re coming from another country. It’s not that hard to link an impressive website with a ramshackle office tucked away in a back alley.
And speaking of back alleys, you may not even have the proper resources to determine whether a particular dentist is even licensed to practice in the country you’re going to.
Your Back Is against the Wall
To protect yourself from coercion or mistreatment at the hand of a dentist, you need to have options. You need to be able to refuse treatment and walk out of the office. But what happens when you find yourself in that foreign country, far from family and friends, and you’re being told that your situation isn’t what they anticipated and you’ll have to pay more to get it done?
You Don’t Have Legal Recourse (and They Know It)
Most dentists are ethical and do what’s right just because it’s right. But for dentists who might be tempted to prey on people, there’s a further incentive to do what’s right: they’re afraid of getting sued or thrown in jail. But if you’re in another country, you don’t know what kind of legal options you may have to employ against a dentist that puts you at risk or causes serious harm. This makes unscrupulous dentists more likely to treat you poorly.
Dental Implants Require Multiple Visits
Medical tourism sometimes allows you to save money even when you include the cost of travel, but if you have to make multiple trips, your savings will rapidly vanish.
Dentists Have to Work Together for Best Results
You might think to get around the previous problem by dividing up the dental implant process. You will have the foreign dentist place your implant, then have a dentist in the US perform the abutment and crown procedures. The problem with this is that implant dentists have to work together closely to ensure the best results.
When a dentist comes to place the dental crown on your dental implant, he may have a hard time figuring out what the implant dentist was planning when the implant was placed. Dentists aren’t mind readers, and the notation standards of other countries may not match with ours–not to mention that the notes might not even be in English!
All in all, looking at the problems with medical tourism, it’s another reminder that you should never put your health at risk to try to save a few bucks.