Medical tourism is a type of holiday combining medical treatment with a vacation in, sometimes, exotic destinations. It has many sub-branches, one of which is dental tourism.
What is dental tourism?
It is a branch of medical tourism that focuses on dental procedures and prosthetics together with a possibility for a pleasant vacation that would leave enough time for a patient to recover before returning home. It is also referred to as dental holidays since patients usually travel to receive the desired dental treatment abroad – most often dental implants and dental veneers.
It is gaining more worldwide popularity in recent years due to globalisation and competitiveness, on one hand, and technical and technological progress and material advances of less developed countries, on the other. That is why many people resolve to combine business with pleasure, hence the popularity of medical tourism is on the rise.
What are the reasons to engage in dental tourism?
Patients who have so far engaged in medical tourism are a proof that it pays off in the long run. Even recurring treatment patients, who return for a follow-up after several weeks or months, such as dental veneers (also referred to as porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates), are evident to receive a good run for their money.
Compared to other treatments patients seek while travelling for medical purposes, dental procedures tend to be relatively simple. That is why dental tourism is particularly suitable. It gives patients the perfect opportunity to combine their vacations with medical tourism. Due to affordable prices of dental procedures, the total sum of the such holiday makes it more attractive, hence more and more patients are interested in it.
Some of the reasons to engage in dental tourism:
- Affordability of dental procedures;
- Quality healthcare;
- Easier access to health care system;
- Visiting exotic destinations.
Are there any drawbacks?
Patients sometimes report drawbacks, but the fact is: some of them may happen even when you receive medical treatment at home as well. Hence, the list of potential drawbacks includes technical as well as legal and material issues.
The potential drawbacks of dental travels can be as follows:
- Lack of pricing transparency – patients can find it difficult to compare prices due to individual procedure differences and severity of the procedure(s);
- Patients worry whether the lower price of services could be an indicator of a possibly lower quality of the services they might expect to receive;
- Sometimes large-scale dental procedures need more time and cannot be safely completed abroad over a relatively short time period;
- Lack of guarantees or legal resources if something goes wrong.
What countries are particularly popular for dental tourism?
There are two points to bear in mind when it comes to countries that are particularly popular destinations for dental travels.
1. Border dental tourism
Firstly, there are patients living in border areas who find it more affordable to travel abroad and receive dental care in neighbouring countries.
Such cases include a significant portion of European countries, hence, e.g. patients from Austria tend to travel to Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia; and those from the Republic of Ireland choose Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, and Ukraine.
On the global level, US residents most often opt for Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, and Mexico, whereas the Australians prefer Thailand and other countries of South-East Asia. In particular, India is a popular destination for medical tourism in general.
2. Dental tourism all over the world
Secondly, there are patients who opt for medical tourism no matter the distance or destination, as long as the service they receive is more affordable and of desired quality.
Such patients happily choose exotic destinations, as various as Mexico, Bangkok, Thailand, Phuket, or Hungary, for their dental work. Most important with these is there are virtually no limitations when it comes to the destinations nor medical procedures they choose to go abroad for.
Hence, with the aforementioned countries, Hungary, Thailand, and Mexico tend to be popular for dental implants; Bangkok is on the rise for teeth whitening procedures; while Phuket and Hungary are a smart option for dental work in general.
What dental treatments abroad are most wanted?
Dental practice offers numerous treatments to patients worldwide. However, there are also two types of treatments available.
#1 – Medical dentistry
Firstly, medical dentistry includes treatments that are generally practiced, and most patients do need them no matter what.
Such compulsory treatments are known as preventative dentistry in children, with the aim of taking precautionary procedures so as to prevent possible problems later on. For example, children are advised to wear braces due to improper dentition or bite or to remove certain teeth to leave more space in the jaws for later on, when the jaws reach their final size and dentition.
Such medical dentistry treatments include clear removable aligners or orthodontic dentistry.
With adults, however, medical dentistry can include more complex treatments which are the result of aging or improper bone structure or degenerative processes in the human body in general. Hence, these include wisdom tooth removal, as they tend to develop complications in most patients, tooth bridges, dental crowns, periodontal gum disease procedures, periapical surgery, airflow tooth polishing and debridement, or maxillofacial surgeries; nonetheless, the list of available dental treatments is significantly longer.
#2 – Cosmetic dentistry
Secondly, there is cosmetic dentistry, which includes optional treatments patients opt for due to aesthetics and beauty reasons.
Such cosmetic dentistry list includes treatments such as tooth jewelry, teeth bleaching, dental fillings, amalgam, cast gold, composite resin or ceramics.
In the long run, engaging in dental tourism may be a solid option: when proper medical care is not available in your home country, when quality healthcare system abroad allows you better options or when a combination of an exotic destination holiday and a necessary medical treatment outweighs its price at home. After carefully considering both advantages and disadvantages, dental tourism does pay off in the long run.
LEARNING ABOUT DENTISTRY
- American association of endodontists
- American dental association
- America’s pediatric dentists
- British association of oral surgeons
- British academy of cosmetic dentistry
- Colgate dental glossary
- Aligners, clear aligners, clear removable aligners (thin clear flexible plastic device which is used to move the teeth to the right positions).
- Apicoectomy (remove the end of the tooth root on a tooth that cannot be treated with conventional root canal treatment.
- Cleft lip repair surgery (reconstruct the shape of the lip and nose).
- Cleft palate repair surgery (repair defects of the hard and soft palate).
- Cosmetic dentistry, aesthetic dentistry (improve the appearance of a person’s teeth, gums and bite).
- Dental bone augmentation, dental bone graft (add bone in order to increase and strengthen the jaw).
- Dental braces, orthodontic dentistry, orthodontic treatment, (improve position of teeth).
- Dental Bridge, tooth bridge (fixed device that is cemented onto existing teeth or implants to cover a space when missing teeth).
- Dental Crowns (fixed device that is cemented onto existing tooth to entirely cover a damaged tooth or an implant).
- Dental examination (examine the teeth, gums and mouth).
- Dental Fillings, Amalgam, Cast Gold, Composite Resin, Ceramics, Glass Ionomer (different filling materials to restore damaged teeth).
- Dental implants (titanium screw, placed into the jawbone, replacing the tooth’s root in order to hold crown or false tooth in place).
- Dental jewelry, tooth jewelry (place a jewel on the tooth).
- Dental prothesis, prosthetic dentistry, prosthodontic dentistry, prosthodontics (restore defects inside the mouth e.g. missing teeth or structures of the jaw and palate).
- Dental veneers, onlays, inlays, composite resin dental veneers, porcelain dental veneers, porcelain veneers, cosmetic dentistry, dental aesthetics (custom made shell to fit over teeth in order to fix discolored or chipped teeth).
- Dentures, full dentures, partial dentures (artificial replacement for natural teeth that can be taken out and put back into the mouth).
- Endodontics, endodontic dentistry, endodontic therapy, endodontic retreatment, root canal surgery, root canal treatment, root canal therapy (treat tooth pulp diseases).
- Gingival flap surgery, gum procedure, periodontal gum disease procedure, periodontics, (treat gum disease, periodontitis).
- Gingivectomy (removal of gums in order to provide accessibility for calculus removal, smoothing of the roots and gingival healing).
- Gum contouring surgery, gum reshaping (even out an uneven gum line or gums that sit too low or too high on the teeth).
- Jaw surgery (orthognathic surgery), upper jaw (maxillary osteotomy), lower jaw (mandibular osteotomy), chin surgery (genioplasty); (correct improper bite by straightening and realigning the jaw).
- Laser gum surgery, dental lasers (gum disease treatment).
- OMS Oral & Maxillofacial surgery, Oral surgery, maxillofacial surgery (treat diseases, injuries and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws and tissues of the mouth).
- Orthognathic surgery (correct conditions of the jaw structure that cannot be treated with braces e.g. improper bite (malocclusion).
- Pediatric dentistry (oral health of children from infancy through the teen years).
- Periapical surgery (treatment of tooth infection after root canal treatment).
- Periradicular surgery, (manage disease associated with endodontic and extraradicular apical infection).
- Periodontal surgery (restore normal form and function of periodontal structure).
- Pulp capping, direct pulp cap, indirect pulp cap (cover a pulp).
- Teeth bleaching, dental bleaching, bleaching procedure, cosmetic dentistry, dental aesthetics (change the natural color of the teeth).
- Teeth bonding, dental bonding, cosmetic dentistry, dental aesthetics (apply a tooth-colored composite resin to repair a tooth).
- Teeth Cleaning (oral hygiene done by a dental hygienist which involves removal of dental plaque and hardened deposits (tartar), tooth scaling, tooth polishing, Airflow tooth polishing and debridement).
- Teeth whitening, dental whitening, laser teeth whitening, cosmetic dentistry, dental aesthetics
- Tooth enamel repair (repairing tooth enamel erosion e.g. by tooth bonding or tooth crowns).
- Wisdom tooth removal, wisdom tooth extraction.
On the Medical Tourism web site you can find:
– the best dental clinics in the world
– dental tourism & Budapest dental
– cheap dental implants abroad
– dental holidays.