More people are seeking out cosmetic-dentistry procedures. While the results are usually excellent and greatly improve a person's smile, the price can be off-putting for some. With the rise of cosmetic dentistry, there has also been a boom in dental tourism. Overseas destinations such as Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Eastern Europe offer both a holiday and a reduced fee for what brokers claim is the same cosmetic result. Is this really a good deal, or could you be worse off in the long run?
Higher prices, higher standards
Australia has some of the highest standards for dental work in the world. You can trust that your Australian dentist has met high standards through years of rigorous study and practical work. Overseas standards can vary wildly, and there's no way to ensure the work you have done overseas is of a similar standard to here. While dental work here may cost more, it is still excellent value.
Not all materials are created equal
Standards for dental equipment and materials are also very high in Australia, whereas some overseas countries use inferior products, including veneers and bridges. These inferior products may have a poor fit or not last for as long, meaning you'll need to have extra work done in the near future and that the cosmetic finish may not be what you're expecting.
Good things take time
As any qualified cosmetic dentist will tell you, some work takes time. Dental tourism often involves multiple procedures being carried out in weeks or even days so as to offer what seems like a good use of the holiday. While this may sound efficient and financially savvy, this means that your teeth may be damaged by such quick work or that you won't reap the full benefits of any procedure.
When something goes wrong
While a qualified dentist will explain the risks of any procedure and minimise them wherever possible, occasionally things do go wrong. If this happens after treatment in Australia, you'll have the benefit of long-term follow up with your dentist. If you're overseas, there's no guarantee that your dentist will stand by their care or be able to perform any procedures needing to correct damage you've sustained. The financial and physical cost can blow out, and travel insurance may not cover this. Should you require corrective work after you've returned home, it could be difficult for your dentist to establish what went wrong. The final cost for procedures may be far more than what it would have cost to have the work done in Australia.
Alternatives to dental tourism
Most people who choose to have cosmetic work done overseas do so because the quoted costs are cheaper than those available in Australia. If you're unsure how you can pay for the dental work you're after, however, you do have options in Australia. Talk to your private health insurance about any extra coverage or the implications of increasing your cover. Dental surgeries are often aware of different financial options for patients. Discuss a care plan with your dentist that will give you time to save while also getting you the care you want as soon as possible.