It isn’t rocket science: Better teeth, better relationship prospects. Fair or not, politically correct or not – humans instinctively judge each other by their looks, and our teeth play a major role in our attractiveness to prospective romantic partners, employers, and potential friends or business associates.
We all know this, too: Great teeth come at a price. From regular dental checkups and fillings, to root canals and crowns, a healthy mouth costs money. And if you really, really want to achieve that movie star smile, dental implants, teeth whitening procedures, and dental veneers can rack up quite the out-of-pocket expense.
With dental insurance coverage leaving much to be desired, and more than 100 million Americans unable to afford dentist visits (source: PBS), it’s no surprise that some turn to unusual options in pursuit of that red carpet smile.
Enter Dental Tourism
According to health.com, an estimated 400,000 Americans hop into their car or on a plane each year to chase down affordable dental care abroad. It’s called dental tourism, and Mexico, India, and Costa Rica are reportedly some of the favorite destinations. The most sought-after treatments are dental crowns, dental implants and bridges, as well as root canals and veneers.
Is it Worth The Risk?
The answer to this question is somewhat ambiguous. For most of us, it depends on what you’re looking for in a dentist, and the quality of treatment you’re shooting for.
Add up the cost of a plane ticket or gas for the car, hotel stays and eating plus entertainment expenses, then a rental car, all in addition to the cost of treatment. A great deal suddenly may not seem that great anymore.
Sure, one could argue that the dental care can be combined with a much-needed vacation, but how much fun can you actually have while recovering from dental treatment in a hotel room with a swollen cheek?
And what about follow-up visits? Extending your trip to receive follow-up care only adds to the travel expenses the patient incurs. Unless you plan on taking care of follow-ups at home, that is, which could make one wonder why travelling internationally for cheaper dental treatment made sense in the first place.
Quality of Service
It’s hard enough to find a reputable, trusted dentist here in the U.S. It’s difficult to imagine how tough it would be to find a dentist you like abroad.
In the United States, dentistry is highly regulated. Educational requirements are firmly in place, hygiene protocols must follow rigorous standards, and patients are afforded certain rights when it comes to the quality of care they receive. Pain management, too, must be conducted diligently to avoid unnecessary risks and negative patient outcomes.
Which brings us to the next point…
What if something goes wrong? The protection of patients’ rights in a foreign country is by no means guaranteed. If you do consider travelling abroad for dental treatment, be sure to understand the rights and recourse options you have in the event that problems arise.
Let’s not forget that a trip abroad – for dental treatment or otherwise – requires time off work. This means using valuable PTO or vacation time or, in a worst-case scenario, losing income by taking unpaid leave. It’s a far cry from going in locally for a dental implant on a Friday, recovering over the weekend, and feeling as good as new on Monday morning, just in time for the big client meeting that’s been scheduled for a month.
The Better Option
All things considered; dental tourism is a decision best deliberated carefully. At Grand Parkway Smiles we provide comprehensive and top-quality dental care at our dental office in Richmond Tx. You’ll never have to miss out on your work or family obligations to receive the care you and your loved ones deserve.
We offer a full range of sedation options administered by licensed practitioners, so you can enjoy peace of mind at every visit. In addition, we provide several dental financing options featuring affordable payment plans – no credit check needed!