Can you trust your dentist?

Our investigation highlights the diagnostic minefield the average dental patient faces and the pluses of dental tourism.
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06.Visiting a Bangkok dentist

Carey-SwanCarey Swan was one of many Australians who decided she simply couldn’t afford the cost of the dental work she needed. Root canal therapy, crowns and implants were among the costly procedures dentists had recommended over the years, and unable to put off the inevitable any longer, she started researching and costing overseas options. 

Carey travelled to Bangkok on two occasions to attend a Thai dental practice well regarded among expats and Bangkok’s elite. Major work included eight fillings, an implant and root canal therapy and crowns on six teeth. The cost of having all the work done here would likely have been at least $20,000. 

Dubious friends back in Australia, at first concerned about Carey’s overseas experiment, are now converts, with six making the pilgrimage to Thailand in the past two years to have extensive dental work done.

Carey returned there earlier this year to have a crown fitted to the implant she’d had done in 2007. “I’ve estimated that, even with the price of airfares and accommodation at about $1200 for a 10-day visit to Bangkok, I’ve saved about $10,000 on the price it might have cost me to get the equivalent work done in Australia,” says Carey, who praises the Bangkok dentists as “the best I’ve experienced”.

The Australian Dental Association, however, warns against going overseas for treatment. It points out that overseas dentists may not be as well qualified as Australian dentists and infection control standards may not be as high. Sometimes you need to visit more than once to allow the mouth to settle between visits, such as for implants. And if something goes wrong, you have limited recourse, and may end up having to get further work done here or overseas again.


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