You’ve probably had friends, or friends of friends, family members, or acquaintances mention that they’ve been abroad for dental surgery. “Oh I had a bridge done in Bali”, “I had dental implants at this hospital in Bangkok”… There’s no denying that getting your teeth fixed abroad has become more popular. In the hunt for a bargain (and maybe a holiday thrown in), going overseas for dental work is on the rise.
But before you start teeing up dental in Thailand, or some such destination, you should have a think carefully about whether getting your teeth fixed abroad is really going to be the best decision – as there are numerous downsides to overseas dental work.
Can you be sure that the dentist’s qualifications are legitimate?
Even if your agent that’s booking your dental work, or the website of the dentist that you’re researching said they are a qualified dentist according to the X association of X country – can you be assured that their qualifications are legitimate? The standards that we are used to in Australia for uncovering this type of fraud may be a lot more stringent than standards of another country.
The dentist’s qualifications may not be up to international standard
If the dentist that you are looking at booking in with has qualifications by an accredited body in their country or another country, can you be assured that they are up to international standards – standards that you would expect in Australia? Unless they have studied abroad with an accredited college in a reputable country, then the answer is probably no.
There is no aftercare
With many dental surgeries, part of the process of getting your teeth fixed is going in for ongoing aftercare to check if your teeth are coming along correctly. This may be weeks or even months down the track. If you are going on your average dental holiday you will probably be overseas just 10 days to 2 weeks.
Your private health insurance will not cover any of it
The good thing about having private health cover is that it can go some of the way towards covering the cost of your dental work. This is often one of the main reasons that Australians choose to get private health cover, as dental services are not covered by Medicare. If you choose to get your dental done overseas then your private health cover will not cover any part of the costs.
If general anaesthetic is required for dental work, your health risks increase
How significant is the dental work that you are proposing getting? If you require general anaesthetic for your dental surgery then the health risks of the dental work go up significantly. Anaesthetists need to be highly trained in administering anaesthetic and monitoring your vital signs throughout surgery to ensure that you don’t accidentally slip into a coma, or wake up during surgery. Obviously, the training levels of these anaesthetists may differ significantly from those in Australia, and the monitoring equipment may also not be up to the same standards.
If complications occur, your travel insurance may not cover you
If you are travelling overseas for dental treatment, then many people choose to get travel insurance. Travel insurance is generally a must when going overseas in case you get yourself into a sticky or dangerous situation. If you are choosing to undergo dental services overseas and something goes wrong either during or following your treatment, it may come to light that your travel insurance doesn’t cover the cost of hospital treatment or medical assistance.
If you are thinking about getting some dental treatment overseas, then you should very carefully examine the related risks to doing so. While there are many stories of successful overseas treatments, the chances of a botched job or something going wrong are far higher when you travel abroad to seek out a cheaper deal in a far less developed country than Australia.