Taking care of one's teeth is, of course, highly important. Unfortunately, it's also quite expensive. So if you're a little short on cash, one possible option that you can try is dental tourism. Despite its reputation, going to other countries for dental care can actually lead to a lot of very good results both dentally and financially. In fact, according to data from Patients Beyond Borders, the average American can save as much as 70% on dental procedures, such as crowns or root canals, by simply visiting a dentist in another country rather than a local one.
Furthermore, Patients Beyond Borders also estimated that in 2012 around 400,000 Americans traveled abroad simply to get dental healthcare, which increased by 20% in 2013. The most popular places for dental tourism include the U.K., Mexico, the Philippines, Costa Rica and India. These places are also particularly popular for dentures and crowns. So if you do decide to visit these countries, or just about any country that offers quality dental services for very affordable costs, here are several tips to help you get started.
Check Out Countries with Very Efficient Health Ministries
If you don't know which country you want to go to for affordable dental care then it's best to focus on the ones which have reliable health ministries. Aside from ensuring the quality of the dental health facilities in their countries, they can also help you should something go wrong with your procedure. So in making your list of options of countries that you wish to visit for dental care, take the time to look at the websites of their health or dental ministries to see what sort of quality control you can expect from them.
Choose the Dentist before You Visit the Country
It's important that you find a dentist that you trust before moving into the country that you wish to go. To do this, all you need to do is make a quick search on the internet for dental tourism sites. You can also try viewing sites, such as WhatClinic.com as well as the Patients Beyond Borders website, for a list of options that you can trust.
Get Local Recommendations
Aside from international recommendations, you should also consult local sources for help in choosing a dentist in the country that you wish to visit. Forums and other similar sites are good places to start, but if you already know some locals then you might as well consult them. In addition to their recommendations, you can also ask which dental organizations in their country are affiliated with American or international organizations as this is an indication of professional prowess.
Choose the Dentist Affiliated with Laboratories, Periodontists, Orthodontists and Other Ancillary Care Specialists
Aside from their credentials, one other sign that a foreign doctor is reliable is how many colleagues and affiliates they have. Professional affiliations with laboratories, periodontists, orthodontists and other specialists indicate that the dentist is well known and well respected in his or her field.
Make Sure You Know What Sort of Tools or Materials Your Doctor Uses
Foreign dentists may not always have access to sophisticated dental tools or devices, and it's entirely possible that they are using outdated equipment. If this is indeed the case then ask the dentist about the size, brand and specifications of the tools they use and compare them with the latest tools available today. You can also ask them where they get their gloves, masks and sterilizers. This way, you'll be able to determine whether the tools are hopelessly outdated or if they are still quite effective for modern dentistry.
Schedule Your Appointment as Early as Possible
Assuming you've decided what dentist to visit, it's important that you schedule your appointment as early as possible. This is because certain dental procedures require a lot of processing and follow up operations, so being early is always a good thing.
Think About Additional Costs
Finally, you have to remember that with dental tourism, you are basically traveling to another country. So aside from your travel expenses and dental fees, you should also set aside money for your visas, food and airfare. You should try setting aside a little extra cash, just in case you might want to have an extra procedure done while you're there.