Should You Travel Abroad for a Dental Procedure
I still think back to what inspired my first version of Patients Without Borders: My father, age 72 at the time, announced he was heading off to Mexico for extensive dental work.
My first reaction upon hearing his plans then was a mix of bewilderment and fear, then resignation, knowing that despite my protestations, he was going anyway.
In spite of my concerns -- some of them quite real -- I'm pleased to report a happy ending: Dad selected a U.S.-trained dentist in Puerto Vallarta and spent thousands less than he would have for new pearly whites at home.
Dentistry: Comparative Costs in Popular Destinations
If you've never considered traveling abroad for a dental procedure, check out these cost comparisons below. (Keep in mind that estimates are for treatments alone. Airfare, any necessary hospital stay and lodging vary considerably.) Savings on dentistry become more dramatic when you need lots of mouth work involving several teeth or full restorations. Your dental insurance will probably not cover medical treatment abroad.
|Procedure||U.S. Cost||Mexico||Costa Rica||Hungary||Thailand|
|Dentistry: Comparative Costs|
|Dentures (Upper and Lower)||$5,000||$2,700||$1,600||$1,500||$1,000|
|Inlays and Onlays||$1,500||$360||$350||$500||$235|
Is Overseas Dental Care Safe?
Although no medical procedure is 100 percent risk-free anywhere in the world, the best practices abroad maintain health and procedural standards equal to or higher than those you encounter in the U.S. It’s not hard to find overseas dentists who received their medical training and degrees at first-rate dental schools in the U.S., Great Britain, Canada, Switzerland or Germany. To get started, contact the Medical Tourism Association, an agency that can do a lot of the legwork for you, or check out Patients Beyond Borders, Second Edition (PatientsBeyondBorders.com).
Josef Woodman is the author of Patients Beyond Borders, a guide to medical tourism. He has spent four years touring more than 140 medical facilities in 22 countries.
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