The Not-So-Good Side Of Dental Tourism For Australians

Posted on

Dental tourism refers to a situation in which an individual chooses to travel overseas (to a less-developed or to a developing country) for dental procedures including the fabrication and installation of implants, dentures, and similar prosthetic devices. Some patients choose to go for more complex dental procedures such as oral surgery in the destination country.

The dental tourism concept can help to save on the cost of dental procedures, which are often more affordable in the developing and less developed countries than they are in Australia. However, here are a few reasons why one may want to think twice before catching the next flight to an overseas dentist.

Compromised Expertise

One of the major problems associated with dental tourism is that the expertise level of an overseas dental practitioner may easily fall short of that of a dentist in Australia. This is because the minimum training and educational requirements spelt out for dental practitioners in less developed countries may be lower than that spelt out for dental practitioners in Australia. As such, general service provision from an overseas dentist is likely to be sub-standard as compared to the services of an Australian-based dentist.

Insurance Coverage

Insurance coverage (or lack thereof) is also often considered part of the not-so-good side of dental tourism. Unfortunately, a large number of dental health insurance plans will not provide cover for patients who seek dental services overseas. This is because an overseas dentist will not be in the network of preferred dental health practitioners recommended by the dental insurance service provider.

As such, patients will be forced to purchase additional insurance for their dental procedure overseas or forced to go without insurance. 

Possibility Of Contracting Infections

In a large number of developing and less developed countries, the enforcement of infection control protocols in dental clinics and hospitals is often wanting.  This leaves visiting dental patients vulnerable to the risk of contracting infections as a result of poor infection control strategies in a dental clinic or in a hospital. 

In contrast, the enforcement/ implementation of infection control protocols in Australia is treated with the seriousness it deserves. The Dental Board Of Australia, The Australian Dental Association, and the National Health &Medical Research council all work together to see to it that dental practitioners don't slack in terms of infection control.

In conclusion, dental tourism may not be the best for Australian patients because they run the risk of contracting un-related infections during the actual dental procedure.