Dental tourism – do your research

Are you considering dental treatment overseas because it is likely to cost less than at home? Have you heard from friends who have ‘had their teeth fixed’ in a developing country ‘for a song’ and had a great holiday at the same time?  Before making this choice, you need to understand the risks of having your dental work done in a developing country.

These risks include:

  • Things can go wrong in the dental chair and if this happens overseas you may not have access to expert emergency care. Australian dentists are trained to deal with dental emergencies.
  • The materials used, such as crowns, bridges or implants, may be cheap or faulty. You may return to Australia delighted with your new crown only to have it disintegrate within the first few years. In Australia the quality of therapeutic goods including dental materials is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
  • The dentist you see overseas may not be appropriately trained and qualified to perform the treatment they have offered you. Some countries accept a standard of dental education that would be considered sub-standard here. In Australia dentists undergo extensive training at university, are registered to practice under the federal Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, and meet strict continuing professional development requirements.
  • Infection and the spread of disease in hospitals and dental practices is a real concern in some other countries. In Australia dental practices are required to adhere to strict infection control protocols.

If you are seriously considering dental treatment overseas, do your research carefully and consult with your local dentist to help you weigh up the options.

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