What I Want You to Know About Dental Tourism

Jamie J. Alexander on February 5, 2015

Dental tourism is a growing trend. The marketing you may begin seeing on the Web will try to sell you on the affordability of dental care in other countries and the benefits of a Dental Tourism company getting you an appointment in a vacation spot of your dreams.

What I Want You to Know About Dental Tourism

Of course, you may think, “Dr. Alexander doesn’t want me to go elsewhere for my care.” But do you know why I don’t want you to do this?

The Risks of Dental Tourism

It’s simple, I want your dentistry to be in your best interest, and in other countries you are at risk in several ways. Fees are lower in many countries because the overhead costs of insurance and government safety compliance are lower or nonexistent. For example, there are lower standards of sterilization almost everywhere outside the USA. Because there is a lack of malpractice insurance, if something goes wrong, you will be paying for retreatment. Recovering your original and additional costs will be an ordeal and likely ineffective, because suing across international borders is expensive and almost impossible. When your vacation is over, you will likely never see this dentist again, so the motivation to do the best dentistry is not present, and your follow up care will likely have to be after you return home.

And, as a further caution, I can truthfully say that I have examined the dental work done in the mouths of many patients from other countries, who are now living in the USA. Some of their prior dentistry was excellent, some mediocre and some terrible. On average the quality was poorer. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Outside the USA there are much looser rules about who can and cannot be a dentist. Education is rarely up to the USA standard.
  • Because dentistry is done on the micro level, tiny deviations in treatment can lead to infection or worse. For example, if a crown’s margin is not properly sealed, it will fail quickly and infection can occur. If a root canal treatment is not thorough prior to crown placement, infection can lead to the loss of the entire tooth. Imagine what might go wrong with dental implant placement and restoration that is hurried, utilizing poor quality implant materials, and not performed in a completely sterile environment?
  • In our nation, we have strict standards for what metals and chemical can be used in the mouth. Elsewhere, base metals are frequently in use, sometimes even lead.

You’re Better Off in the USA

The cost of doing business in the U.S. includes required malpractice insurance, OSHA standards compliance, and FDA regulated materials, so, of course, fees are higher — but if you are like me and most of the patients in this country, you want professional services regulated for quality and recourse.

I strive and personally commit to the dentistry I provide being not only safe but also optimally planned and executed to be long lasting. It will improve your oral health, function and beauty. The results will be comfortable. And, I will be here to follow up and make sure all our objectives were achieved.