Exploring new places and lands is an exhilarating experience. What if someone told you that it’s possible to see a new region while also getting affordable dental services? Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on dental procedures?? Well, in our modern world of everything now being just a hop, skip and a jump from home, that “if” has become an everyday and opportune reality.
What is Dental Tourism?
Dental tourism refers to the act of traveling to any foreign country where the costs of dental procedures are cheaper than those in the United States. One must ensure that the quality of dental care is satisfactory too. Going on a trip for this purpose is often also referred to as a dental vacation (hence the title of this article).
One can easily save up to 70 percent (or more) of the expenses that they would have incurred if they had as was most typical in the past, needed or opted to get their dental work done within the United States (Canada or Europe too for that matter). And this super sized discount on your dental work includes the costs of traveling, staying and enjoying yourself in another country as well.
There are various factors to look at when choosing countries for dental tourism. The goal of such a trip is to find the highest quality yet most affordably priced dental care. Location matters as well. After all, it is still tourism in the end, and so you need (and presumably want) to satisfy the “vacation” part of the equation as well. Rather than just getting your dental procedure done and hopping onto a plane to come back home, people generally extend their trips so as to enjoy the beauty, culture and life of the place that they have gone to for their dental vacation.
Mostly, dental tourism brings people to countries close to the US. This is because it is easier to travel such distance and is cheaper to do so as well. Therefore, you will find many going to Latin & South America for getting their dental work done, as the next best option in comparison to the former of going for broke in North America.
Treatments that People Opt for During a Dental Vacation:
- Dental implants and/or crowns (caps), which are artificial teeth generally considered superior to dentures, and the caps acting to protect your teeth and give the appearance of actually being your real teeth. This procedure retains the beauty of your smile while also ensuring the functionality of your teeth and overall bite.
- Dental bridges, which are responsible for holding crowns/teeth firmly in place. They make use of natural teeth for support.
- Root canals, where infected pulp is removed from the tooth. The tooth is then cleaned, filled, and sealed to prevent infection and damage.
- Dental veneers, which consist of thin artificial material (i.e. made of porcelain or ceramic) which are somewhat similar to crowns in both appearance and function, that are attached to your teeth so as to appear and serve as the forward facing side of your teeth.
Dental Vacation Packages
Dental tourism has grown tremendously in popularity over the last few years. Foreign countries have noticed, and many of them now offer package dental care deals to attract tourists.
For instance, dental practices in a foreign country can deliver packaged dental treatments in the form of a smile makeover. This package can include dental treatments like implants and crowns, bridges, teeth whitening, scaling, veneers and more. Since it is a packaged solution, the price you pay is greatly reduced. If you are opting for such packages, make sure they don’t include procedures you don’t need. After all, dental care isn’t a spa deal – it should only be purchased if it’s necessary.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Dental Tourism
Just like any decision, you should research dental tourism before embarking on the journey. Here are the key benefits and flaws of dental tourism.
- Reduced expenses for dental care compared to the same procedures offered in the US (or Canada/Europe).
- A chance to travel and experience other cultures of the world, as well as learn some of the language.
- A beautiful vacation and time well spent visiting another country.
- Dental standards may vary from country to country.
- Flights can get delayed or cancelled, causing later than expected departures or arrivals.
- Dental procedures can sometimes take longer than expected, which can effect one’s travel plans.
The Art of Planning Dental Vacations
Once you have researched and decided which country to visit for your dental vacation, here is how you can go about planning your trip.
Consider Staying Close to Your Home Country
At the end of the day, one of the key purposes of dental vacations is to get your dental work done at a low cost. The farther you travel from your home, the higher your travel costs will generally be. Therefore, try to stay relatively close (i.e. within a 4 hour flight of your home), such as in Cuenca, Ecuador, where many thousands of Americans live year round and tens of thousands more Americans visit each year.
Conduct Thorough Research
Merely finding a country with cheap dental services is not enough. You also need to find a specific dentist/dental clinic in the country. Do your research and try to find the best and most reliable dentist you can, and who provides many smiling patients’ testimonials and which provides well-prepared videos in English.
Don’t Get Extra Procedures Done
Upselling is common in all industries. However, in the case of dental processes, it is even more critical to not fall for them. Never buy more dental services than you absolutely need. Therefore, go into the dental clinic knowing precisely what you want, so that you can avoid upselling of any type.
- Dental tourism refers to the act of traveling to another country to get economical dental services while also benefiting from American standards of care, and enjoying the country as a vacation spot.
- Ecuador is an excellent destination for dental tourism because of the low distance, affordability and high quality of care, as well as the US Dollar being its sole currency.
- While dental packages might allow you to save money, make sure your package only includes procedures you need.
- Dental tourism is the perfect way to save money by getting well-budgeted dental treatment, all while enjoying a wonderful vacation in another country.
- Try to stay close to your home country when planning your dental trip. Also, do thorough research on the dentist you select, and don’t let them upsell any dental services to you.
Adam Elliot Altholtz serves as Administrator & Patient Coordinator of the “Find Health in Ecuador Dental Clinic” in Cuenca, Ecuador, and for purposes of discussing your Dental needs or questions, is available via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, via US phone number of 1‐(941)‐227‐0114 or on the Clinic’s Ecuador phone number of 07‐410‐8745.