The rise of dental tourism

CHOICE investigates why some consumers are going overseas to save money on their dental treatment.
 
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05.Case Studies

Dental surgery in Australia

A check-up with my dentist left my head spinning and it wasn’t from the gas. Just 18 months after my last visit, the prognosis wasn’t good. 

A pregnancy with severe morning sickness had taken its toll. It turns out that vomiting everyday is not only revolting but isn’t great for your teeth either. The result? Acid damage and cavities, which required nine new fillings. To make matters worse, I also needed root canal work and a crown.

The estimated out-of-pocket cost after my private health cover was more than $6000. In a family of four with just one working member (I was on maternity leave) an unexpected $6000 isn’t welcome. 

Having travelled to Thailand before I researched it as an option. A return fare to Bangkok at the time was about $869, accommodation in a basic hotel was $378 for three weeks and the same dental work at a well-known international hospital was estimated at $1800. 

Throw in a little spending money and time in one of my favourite cities and I would’ve still been almost $3000 better off.

The only thing that stopped me from jumping on a plane was my toddler, baby and a husband who might not forgive me for leaving him with the kids while I flew halfway around the world for about a month. 

As a result I reluctantly took the local option, and while the work was excellent, several months later I am still paying off the bill.

Dental treatment in Thailand

David Sanderson from Sydney recently travelled to Thailand for major dental surgery, including implants and a replacement crown. 

He says the prices quoted by his Australian dentist were so high he had no choice but to consider overseas options. 

“I’d used up my lifetime insurance limits for periodontic work and faced paying the entire amount.”

David did his research before making a decision, going online for names of dentists and surgeries. He then trawled online discussion forums for recommendations, particularly those where expatriates discussed the best places.

He settled on a dental clinic in Chiang mai in northern Thailand, where he stayed for four weeks to have the work completed. 

David is happy with the work, the standards at the clinic and the entire cost, which was less than half of what he was quoted in Australia. 

“I also believe my Thai dentists were more expert and knowledgeable than my Australian dentist. My Australian dentist recommended getting crowns on all my upper teeth, but my Thai one convinced me that was not advisable and also replaced my broken crown with a type that was likely to be more durable.” 

However, David says it’s important to research before choosing a clinic. “There were other clinics I saw that I wouldn’t recommend. Find out if the clinic you’ve chosen has a good reputation and be prepared to pay more for higher quality – you’ll still be getting a bargain.”


David Sanderson from Sydney recently travelled to Thailand for major dental surgery, including implants and a replacement crown. he says the prices quoted by his australian dentist were so high he had no choice but to consider overseas options. “i’d used up my lifetime insurance limits for periodontic work and faced paying the entire amount.”

David did his research before making a decision, going online for names of dentists and surgeries. he then trawled online discussion forums for recommendations, particularly those where expatriates discussed the best places. he settled on a dental clinic in Chiang mai in northern Thailand, where he stayed for four weeks to have the work completed. 

David is happy with the work, the standards at the clinic and the entire cost, which was less than half of what he was quoted in australia. “i also believe my Thai dentists were more expert and knowledgeable than my australian dentist. my australian dentist recommended getting crowns on all my upper teeth, but my Thai one convinced me that was not advisable and also replaced my broken crown with a type that was likely to be more durable.” however, David says it’s important to research before choosing a clinic. “There were other clinics i saw that i wouldn’t recommend. Find out if the clinic you’ve chosen has a good reputation and be prepared to pay more for higher quality – you’ll still be getting a bargain.”

David Sanderson from Sydney recently travelled to Thailand for major dental surgery, including implants and a replacement crown. he says the prices quoted by his australian dentist were so high he had no choice but to consider overseas options. “i’d used up my lifetime insurance limits for periodontic work and faced paying the entire amount.”

David did his research before making a decision, going online for names of dentists and surgeries. he then trawled online discussion forums for recommendations, particularly those where expatriates discussed the best places. he settled on a dental clinic in Chiang mai in northern Thailand, where he stayed for four weeks to have the work completed. 

David is happy with the work, the standards at the clinic and the entire cost, which was less than half of what he was quoted in australia. “i also believe my Thai dentists were more expert and knowledgeable than my australian dentist. my australian dentist recommended getting crowns on all my upper teeth, but my Thai one convinced me that was not advisable and also replaced my broken crown with a type that was likely to be more durable.” however, David says it’s important to research before choosing a clinic. “There were other clinics i saw that i wouldn’t recommend. Find out if the clinic you’ve chosen has a good reputation and be prepared to pay more for higher quality – you’ll still be getting a bargain.”

David Sanderson from Sydney recently travelled to Thailand for major dental surgery, including implants and a replacement crown. he says the prices quoted by his australian dentist were so high he had no choice but to consider overseas options. “i’d used up my lifetime insurance limits for periodontic work and faced paying the entire amount.”

David did his research before making a decision, going online for names of dentists and surgeries. he then trawled online discussion forums for recommendations, particularly those where expatriates discussed the best places. he settled on a dental clinic in Chiang mai in northern Thailand, where he stayed for four weeks to have the work completed. 

David is happy with the work, the standards at the clinic and the entire cost, which was less than half of what he was quoted in australia. “i also believe my Thai dentists were more expert and knowledgeable than my australian dentist. my australian dentist recommended getting crowns on all my upper teeth, but my Thai one convinced me that was not advisable and also replaced my broken crown with a type that was likely to be more durable.” however, David says it’s important to research before choosing a clinic. “There were other clinics i saw that i wouldn’t recommend. Find out if the clinic you’ve chosen has a good reputation and be prepared to pay more for higher quality – you’ll still be getting a bargain.”

 

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