In the so-called developed world, millions are putting-off dental care because they simply can’t afford it. Dental procedures are expensive and lack of insurance means looking for solutions when faced with the prospect of a major treatment.
This is when the idea of traveling abroad for cheaper dental care becomes an attractive alternative, with most people finding they can save, on average, 70% at a foreign destination. Depending on the procedure, that can amount to thousands.
Dental tourism, as traveling abroad for dental care is more commonly known, is not new. For decades, Americans have traveled across the border to Mexico for cheaper medical and dental care, and there are similar options for Europeans.
However, where dental tourists traditionallytended to travel to their nearest neighbors, thanks to frequent, low-cost air travel, modern travelers now travel much further afield – although they still tend to stick to their own continent. So, Americans/Canadians will go to Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama; UK/Irish go to Hungary, Turkey and Poland and Aussies and Kiwis to Thailand, The Philippines and Malaysia for significant savings, which more than cover the cost of a trip.
Common Procedures to Have Abroad and Their Savings
It is possible to have any dental procedure abroad at first-class clinics that are reliable and trustworthy. Some of the most popular procedures, and the savings you can make, are detailed below:
Dental Crowns – In the US, the average price is $1,150 (UK £729, Australia AUD 1,320); At a dentist in Mexico $180 (UK £114, Australia AUD 206), saving considerably more than 70%.
Likewise, a full set of dentures in the US cost, on average $1,833 (UK £1,131, Australia AUD 2,071); At a dentist in Thailand only $450 – again saving more than 70%.
You can reduce your costs even further by following a few simple procedures:
Book out-of-season: You are likely to find big discounts on accommodations and flights if you travel in low season.
Pre-book your appointment: Always pre-book and get an estimate of the costs before you travel. Online dental tourism companies often provide prices on their websites, as well as exclusive discounts if you book through them.
If you do have dental insurance, it will go much further if you can use it abroad. Check with your provider if they offer out-of-network coverage, and you will be able to reclaim your expenses once you are home.
In some countries (the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand), you are able to claim tax deductions for medical expenses. Check out your government’s website for information.
Is it Risky?
Find a reliable dentist and it won’t be any more risky than if you had the procedure at home. Some dental tourism companies already quality-check their dentists’ qualifications and experience, and you should be able to find plenty of past patient reviews online. A little research to save 70% abroad is certainly worth the time.
Amanda Duffy is an expert in the field of dental tourism and has been writing on the subject for a number of years. She is currently a key figure in the editorial team at Dental Departures, a company specializing in dental tourism that help patients save money on their dental care by matching them up with the right clinic.