Treatment Abroad & Dental Tourism

Dental Tourism has had some publicity in recent years as Australians are looking to save on the cost of dental treatment by going abroad, but the loosely considered pitfalls often leads to a long term biologic cost that is far more significant. Choosing the right dentist or surgeon in Australia can be a matter of quality, but choosing someone abroad is also a matter of your safety and follow-up.

For irreversible procedures such as dental implants, and especially All-On-4 style treatments, it is not about placing implants in to bone, it is about placing them correctly. There is often no second chance, so it needs to be done well in the first place. When considering treatment abroad ask yourself whether it is worth the risks to your health and well-being, when in many of the cheaper countries you cannot even trust the drinking water, how then can you trust their medicine and dentistry?

As implant surgeons, the type of work that we have to do when we have to attend to failed or poor quality treatment from overseas is far more complex and far more expensive than taking on a fresh case, especially with dental implants because of their permanent and irreversible nature, and the damage that is left behind. As a business owner I may not be particularly motivated to talk patients out of getting treatment abroad, because that would be bad for “business”. But as a clinician with moral and ethical obligations to my patients I have to say that in this niche area of practice requiring the highest level of skill, it is hard enough to find someone here in Australia, imagine finding someone overseas where the regulations are far more lax.

Be Ware of Inflated Testimonials

It is not uncommon for those who already received dental treatment overseas to boast about their experience, and to give those cheap overseas clinics high ratings. In fact people who undertake treatment abroad are far more active in rating their treatments compared to the average person who receives treatment in Australia. There are three main reasons for this:

  • they are driven by shame and/or the need for self-justification;
  • it looks good to them on the surface and they do not fully understand the future implications;
  • they choose to turn a blind eye because they accept their actions as gamble, and that if it needs to be corrected, then they will correct it in Australia.

The problem is that, at least in dentistry, and in particular with treatments such as All-On-4 and dental implants, it is not so simple to undo, and often leads to unrecoverable damage to the jaw bone and limited options in terms of re-treatment.

Dentists in Australia are bound by a strict code of conduct which does not allow them to exploit ratings or testimonials, or offer incentives to their patients. Whereas these marketing strategies are very common overseas, which distracts other Australian prospective patients and lures them away from properly considering the detriments.

Reverse Dental Tourism

Centre for Aesthetic & implant Dentistry (CAID) is the headquarters of the official All-On-4 Clinic brand, and an accredited member of the The Leading Dental Centres of The World (LDCW).  Its a purpose-built and an international clinic with fully integrated surgical, laboratory and diagnostic facilities for quick turnarounds. As such, not only do we see many of the disasters from poor dental treatment abroad, but we also see Reverse Dental Tourism, where patients from overseas actually come to Australia to seek the services of our expert clinicians.

Australians Seeking Treatment Abroad – A Warning!

Australia has one of the highest standards in dentistry and Medicine among western countries and it makes little sense when Australians seek treatment abroad because of apparently cheaper dental prices. Treatments such as cosmetic dentistry and dental implants cannot be mass-produced and duplicated in the same way as other products where price competition is based on volume and buying power. Cosmetic dentistry procedures and smile makeovers are a health and beauty concern that requires individualised attention where treatments are personally tailored to match the health and aesthetic needs of the individual. Whereas the alternative of a cheap, one size fits all approach often means poor quality results, which often affects not only longevity but also the underlying dental health, and which may not be immediately apparent, the problems often masked by the fake teeth.

Furthermore, complications can arise with any surgical or cosmetic treatment even in the best of hands. So it’s important to choose a skillful dentist with expertise in cosmetic dentistry and dental implants, but also to know that potential complications can be appropriately managed or rectified. Such peace of mind may simply not exist for smile makeover treatments offered by seemingly cheaper priced overseas clinics.

In addition, despite the apparent or advertised cheaper dental prices for surgery or dental implants abroad, the actual difference becomes substantially smaller when taking into account all things considered including flights, accommodation, the rebates available for treatment in Australia, and importantly, considering that dental implants cannot be easily undone, the actual risks.

Important issues to consider when seeking cheap dental treatment overseas:

  • Infection control regulations not as stringent compared to Australian standards.
  • Cosmetic dentistry or dental implants offer visually improved results but often fall short of aesthetic enhancement.
  • Quick solution smile makeovers are often at the expense of long term success and dental health.
  • A cheap smile makeover treatment is very difficult and expensive to rectify.
  • Dental implants and cosmetic dentistry treatments outside of Australia often rely on cheaper or inferior materials and components which are often not approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
  • Clinics that advertise ‘Western-trained Doctors’ often have inexperienced practitioners who use these clinics to gain experience.
  • Medicare, Health Care Funds and Tax rebates may not be claimable for overseas treatment.

Visit our main site for more information on fees, working within your budget and providing a second opinion and all our services. Otherwise to book your consultation, please call us on (03) 8845 5400 or send us an email today.