In this article I will be discussing dental tourism and a company that specializes in it, Dental Departures. In this Dental Departures review, I will be giving you my opinion (as a western dentist) on dental tourism and how Dental Departures can help keep you safe should you choose to go ahead with dental treatment overseas.
I am sure you have heard that you can save an incredible amount of money getting your dental treatment done overseas in countries like Mexico and Thailand. This is true.
You can pay as little as a fifth of what you would have to pay for dentistry in your own country if you are prepared to travel to countries like Mexico and Thailand.
Most people don’t travel overseas for their dental treatment because they are scared that something will go wrong and they will end up having to spend even more money to get the botched dentistry fixed up. Another fear is that getting dental treatment overseas might be unhygienic and they will risk contracting a serious illness.
Before I discuss how Dental Departures can help you get the dental treatment you need at an affordable price without sacrificing quality, I want to give you a bit of background on my own experience with overseas dentistry and why I believe if you are in need of major dental work that you may benefit from getting it done overseas.
How I became interested in overseas dentistry
When I was volunteering as a dentist in a free dental clinic in Phnom Penh, Cambodia I was introduced to the head dentist and owner of a local dental practice. When I arrived at his clinic, I was caught off guard by how large, modern, and professional his practice was!
The dentist has a Masters in Implantology and Oral Medicine from the University of Frankfurt, Germany and it was obvious this guy knew his stuff. His english was good and he had a pleasant and professional manner.
His practice is 10 stories high and has over 30 dental surgeries. The dental equipment and materials they use are of high quality and after inspecting their sterilization room, it was obvious they take patient safety very seriously. Honestly, this dental practice made the modern dental practices I had worked from in my own country look out of date!
The other thing that impressed me was the professional dental laboratory they have in the building . Back home, I have to wait two or three weeks for lab work to be returned from the overseas lab I use. Unlike my practice, their lab is on site. This means their lab work can be ready in just a day or two!
Before I saw this clinic, I expected that all Cambodian dental practices would be well below the standard of a country like the USA and certainly not a place I would recommend people get dental treatment from. How wrong I was!
I left feeling totally humbled. I had to seriously reconsider my belief that because I was a western dentist that I, without question, would be practicing superior dentistry than a dentist in a poor country like Cambodia.
I couldn’t shake the question I kept asking myself:
“How could I possibly be better at implant dentistry and making crowns than the dentists working in that Cambodian dental practice when I only place and restore a few implants a year while they do hundreds or maybe even thousands?!”
Are there other practices overseas like this?
There are many! Since coming back from Cambodia I have discovered quite a few of my patients have had their implant and crown work done in Thailand. The quality is as good, if not better, than that done by many western dentists. They have all been happy that they had the work done and have expressed no regret.
They rave about how they spent less money on a long holiday in Thailand and got all the dental treatment they needed for much less than the dental work alone would have cost at home.
Not all the dental work I have seen done in Thailand have been without problems, but that is true of dental work from ANY country. Often the dentists in Thailand guarantee the dental work they do like implants and crowns. Although, this will mean taking a plane back to Thailand at your expense, so you need to know that the dentist is reputable before travelling overseas.
Of course, if there is a problem you can always get it fixed by your dentist back at home if you would rather not travel overseas again.
I once had a patient break the tooth part of their implant off that they had placed in Japan. It wasn’t a problem fixing it. Even though the implant was placed in Japan, it was easy for me to order the parts because the companies that make implants use the same parts all over the world.
There are, of course, dental clinics overseas that you should avoid. This is where Dental Departures can help.
Dental Departures is an organization that extensively audits overseas dental practices to ensure they are practicing high quality dentistry.
They check that the dentists are licensed, that they guarantee their work, the sterilization methods are at least up to western standards, and that the dentist hasn’t any malpractice claims made against them or has any criminal history. They usually physically visit the practice too.
In the rare event that a problem arises with your treatment, Dental Departures will advocate on your behalf and make sure the dentists make good on their warranties if need be.
They have extensive information on over 4000 dentists from over 30 different countries. You can view all the information you need about any of the dental practices you are interested in on the Dental Departures website. Information includes:
- The costs of the different dental treatments
- Photos of the dental clinic
- Information on the dentists working there
- Reviews on the clinic from Dental Departure clients that have already been there
- Free quotes
- Contact information for the clinic
- and much more.
Their website is easy to use and has all the information you need on it, such as hotel booking close to the dental clinic, so that you are able to book the trip yourself. You can even apply for financing directly from the website.
If you still need help, the customer service representatives are easily accessible and will assist you with any question you have and can help with finding suitable accommodation and with your travel arrangements.
Another great thing is you can find testimonials about the dental practice from people who have actually had their dental treatment done there already. Dental Departures checks every review for authenticity and only accepts reviews from people who they know have actually been there by checking their details with their client database.
If it makes you more comfortable, Dental Departures can arrange for you to speak directly with the dentist who will be providing your treatment. You can also request that you be treated by a dentist who was trained in a western country such as the USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand.
No payment from you is made directly to Dental Departures. The fee for your dental treatment is paid directly to the dental practice on the day you will be receiving the treatment. This means you can book your treatment now and pay later.
By doing your research on the Dental Departures website you can reassure yourself that the practice is reputable before making your booking on the website. If you decide to cancel or change your booking later, Dental Departures will not charge you a fee for that.
Of course, you could try to do all this research yourself. However, this will take you a long time and how confident are you that all the information you get is accurate? Also, are you prepared to interview all the different dental practices?
If you are interested in using Dental Departures you can find their website by clicking on the banner below.