What is Dental Tourism?
In recent years, traveling abroad for medical care has become a popular option for individuals looking to save money on treatments. Dental tourism accounts for about half of all medical travel globally. In the United States, dental tourism has steadily become more and more popular
What Pushes Patients to Travel for Expensive Dental Care?
The biggest catalyst is lack of dental insurance. By some estimates, about ⅓ of people living in the United States struggle to pay for basic dental care, including routine cleanings and exams. For those that can afford dental insurance, benefits primarily cover biannual cleanings and some restorative treatments. Very rarely does dental insurance cover the large restorative treatments, such as dental implants or hybrid implants.
Furthermore, only 15 states offer comprehensive dental care as part of Medicaid. In other states, only emergency dental cases or limited coverage is available. Thanks to these limitations, patients without insurance face higher out-of-pocket expenses if they choose to visit their neighborhood dentist.
What are the Risks?
As with any medical procedure, there are inherent risks to having dental work done without your regular dentist present. These include:
No one knows your smile as well as your dentist. Trusting a dentist during your first visit to their office to complete extensive treatment can make it difficult to establish a repertoire. You may also not have enough time to ask the right questions and research your options before pursuing serious dental care.
Recovery and Follow-Up Care
As is the case in many large-scale treatments, successful dental care often requires some form of follow-up visit to monitor recovery and ensure proper healing. In the case of dental implants, these follow-up visits are especially important to ensure that the implants have successfully healed. If you’ve traveled abroad to have dental implants placed, it’s critical that you make accommodations to meet these important post-surgery visits.
Language and Transportation
When it comes to undergoing major dental treatments, the procedure itself is only part of the process. Once you get to the country where you’re having your procedure done, you also need to arrange for transportation to and from where you’re staying to your dentist’s office. If you’re’ unfamiliar with the language, getting around the country can be especially difficult.
No matter where you are, no treatments come without the risk of dental emergency occurring. However, if you get dental care in a different country and experience an emergency, it’s critical that you have a plan in place. If the emergency occurs when you return to the US, it’s extremely important that you bring all treatment notes and files to your general dentist for review so that they can determine the best course of action.
Considering Dental Tourism? Do Your Research
Whether you’re looking to defray the costs of extensive full mouth reconstruction or simply planning to have minor treatments completed while on an extended vacation, dental tourism is no doubt an intriguing possibility. However, it is our experience that certain large-scale treatments, including dental implants and full mouth restoration be completed at home from the safety of your neighborhood dental office. Your dentist knows the unique features of your smile and can ensure treatment is tailored specifically to your needs.
At St. Louis County Dental, our mission is to help patients identify the right treatment strategies for their smile. Whether you need just one tooth replaced or are considering full mouth rehabilitation, Dr. Brace and his team are here to help you achieve your best smile. Call today to learn more about dental implants in St. Louis and schedule your complimentary consultation today!