I get it! Implant dentistry is not an inexpensive treatment. All the necessary diagnostics, surgical treatments, and restorative needs add up. In the hope of a reduced treatment cost, some patients have sought care through dental tourism, going to another country to complete their treatment at a discounted fee. India and Costa Rica seem to be the two most common countries for dental tourism. But is dental tourism a good idea?
Before choosing dental tourism as a cost-saving option, you might want to consider the following:
- Cost of travel and hotel: This is an obviously added cost to the overall treatment. Often, this cost is not just for the patient since most people like to bring a family member or friend with them for support and assistance before and after the treatment.
- Comfort and convenience: If given a choice, most patients would like to go home directly after having implant surgery. This is where they have everything they need to be comfortable. Traveling to another country usually involves staying in a hotel without all the comforts of home. Furthermore, the trip back to your home country can be stressful with unexpected travel delays, which aren’t something you may want to deal with when you are recovering from surgery.
- Post-op complications: Should a post-operative complication such as infection occur, you cannot easily see the treating doctor(s) for management. You’ll have to find another specialized dentist in your area and pay them for any care required. At first this might not sound like a big concern, however if you experience problems at night or over the weekend, it’s very difficult to find a dental specialist who can assess and treat the problem if you aren’t an established patient.
- Post-op adjustments: Minor adjustments are often necessary following implant replacement of teeth. Again, you will you not be able to easily go back to the treating doctor(s) and will instead need to seek and pay for care with a nearby doctor.
- Management of problems: Who will see you for continuation of care should problems occur with your dental implants or restorations? Will you have to travel back to the doctor(s)? If so, this is costly regarding both time and money.
- Quality of care and materials: While the cost of labor and running a practice in foreign countries may be less, there is no significant difference in the cost of implants and restorative materials. There is little assurance regarding the quality of care, sterilization practices, infection control, and the use of high-quality implants and dental materials when visiting doctors in other countries.
After considering all of these factors, the overall cost of treatment in another country is not necessarily less. In fact, it will require more in terms of your time and the loss of the comfort and convenience of home. By seeking care with a top-notch team of surgeons and restorative dentists near where you live instead, you will have much greater peace of mind knowing that your investment is protected by quality care, thorough monitoring and follow-up, and quick access to care when you need it most. Plus, the stress of treatment is considerably reduced when you are in familiar surroundings with your family and friends nearby. All in all, tourism is best for vacations, not for dental treatment.