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The Dangers of Tourism Dentistry

Posted by Taylor Schachter on Oct 22 2019, 01:43 PM

The Dangers of Tourism Dentistry

Let’s face it: Medical care can be expensive in America, and that includes dental care. Maybe that’s why more and more people are leaving the country to get dental work done in supposedly less expensive foreign locales. In fact, the trend is becoming so popular, the Washington Post recently ran an article titled "Dental Tourism – Bargain Dentistry and a Vacation to Boot," about the growing trend in foreign dental tourism. But while it may certainly be cheaper, is it worth it to get dental treatment in a foreign country, or is it a big buyer beware?

According to the Washington Post article, there are significant financial savings to be had on the dental procedures themselves, but once you factor in airfare, hotel and transportation, you may not be saving all that much – if anything at all. But you get a built-in vacation, the article trumpets. That is, if you want to spend your vacation healing from a dental procedure.

Then there’s the problem of board certification. Depending on where you go for your procedure, there may or may not be a way to verify that the practitioner is qualified. Several plastic surgery patients have died following procedures in foreign countries in the past few years because their practitioners were not licensed, used inferior materials or simply did not know what they were doing. This is where board certification comes in. Board certification in the United States is an added layer of insurance; you can rest assured that your dentist knows what he or she is doing and is continuing to improve and learn new dental skills instead of simply sticking with old information and procedures.

Another issue? Follow-up care. Say, for example, you go out of the country for dental implants and you experience implant failure. Even if the follow-up appointment is free, the travel back to that country isn’t. If you cannot afford to return, you will then need to see a local doctor who isn’t familiar with the work and who may or may not be able to salvage any work done by your foreign dentist. This can add up to double fees, which defeats the whole purpose of tourism dentistry in the first place.

Our advice? Skip the foreign dentistry and stick with your local, board-certified dentist. You can still take that trip to a foreign country - but wait until your teeth are healthy and you can enjoy your visit without any restrictions.

To schedule an appointment with the board-certified Dr. Abelar, please call 858-256-4088.

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