ADA Cautions on Dental Tourism
In an article pointedly entitled, “Does Dental Tourism Really Save Patients Money?,” the American Dental Association (ADA) puts forward its own cautions and guidelines about dental tourism.
First, the ADA notes that the safety regulations and professional standards in other countries are not like those in the US. There may be an increased risk of infection, and dentists may or may not have professional certifications and training.
The ADA offers four recommendations for people considering dental tourism.
1. Run a Detailed Cost Analysis
Dental tourism isn’t guaranteed to save you money. To make sure you’re really going to save money (even if you don’t have complications), you need to perform a detailed cost analysis.
Factor in the cost of the flight, lodging, food, and other transit. Once you put all the costs together, see what you’re really saving and decide if it’s actually worth the risk.
2. Plan Out the Logistics
There are always complicated documents to deal with when traveling, and these have only gotten worse in the post-COVID era. Be prepared to present proper documentation for vaccination (or get regular COVID testing) in many destinations. Some places still have quarantine procedures in place, especially for unvaccinated travelers.
Make sure these requirements won’t interfere with you getting to your treatment and back.
3. Research Qualifications and Read Reviews
Just as in the US, there are many dentists abroad who are prepared to offer treatment. These dentists may not all be of the same quality. Nor are the best dentists necessarily the most expensive ones.
Take time to research all your dentist options to find the ones most suitable for your treatment, both in terms of cost and quality of care.
4. Plan for Follow-Up Care
Any dental procedure that is worth traveling for is likely going to need some level of follow-up care. Plan to stay in the area of the dental clinic for at least a few days to get immediate follow-up care. Don’t forget to factor this extended stay into your cost calculations.
In addition, make sure you have good contact information for the clinic so you can hopefully reach them if you have any complications. Note that a dentist performing a fix in the US isn’t going to want to turn their schedule around to call a dental office ten time zones away with questions–that might be up to you.
It’s also important to note that dental insurance might not cover follow-up care or fixes of dental procedures performed overseas.