Beware ‘dental tourism’


Australia’s dentists are issuing a warning about the risks involved with medical or dental tourism—the practice of undertaking medical or dental treatment procedures overseas while people are on holidays.

Complex dental procedures that require ongoing follow-up work and time to settle, not to mention the risk of complications that need corrective action, means that undertaking ‘dental tourism’ on the back of a cheap holiday risks costing more than the purported savings—as well as possible additional pain.


“The decision to become a dental tourist usually comes to down to one simple thing—saving money,” Australian Dental Association (ADA) deputy chairman of the Oral Health Committee Dr Michael Foley said. “And while it’s true you may save some money in the short term, the reality is that things can go wrong and all those expected savings can quickly disappear and end up costing more than the holiday itself.”

There are a number of factors any prospective traveller considering undertaking medical or dental treatment overseas should consider.

For example, trying to squeeze several complex procedures into a short holiday means people risk all kinds of complications, even if the work is performed to an acceptable standard.

Also, standards may not be as stringent. While Australian dentists are trained to a very high standard, must be registered, and are required to operate in a strictly regulated environment, not all countries have the same requirements.

“Complex procedures—medical or dental—should not be done over the course of a holiday,” Dr Foley advised. “If you have the need for a complex medical treatment or procedure, it is best done in Australia where you can be assured of the safety and quality standards in place, and of the certainty of follow-up.”

Based on a media release sourced from the ADA.

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  1. As the prices of dental checks in well developed countries like America and Western European countries are very high, more and more people are considering medical tourism towards the states like Eastern Europe, Africa, the Asia or South America. For the reason that dental checkups are cheap in these areas and indeed such inspections are important for every one of us, that’s why those that cannot afford dentistry in America they should book a tickets for Asian country.

  2. The decision to become a dental tourist can be attributed to one thing: access to the private dental business monopoly in Australia is unnecessarily inequitable. Hence a Recommended (i.e. Non-Mandatory) Dental Fee Schedule needs to be developed by an independent/government body in line with those published by the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Psychological Society.

    In Australia, infection control in dentistry is self-regulated. There are no regulated inspections, or randomly conducted audits, of dental hygiene practices. Following complaints, NSW and QLD Health have closed private dental clinics and advised their patients to undergo health checks, as published on government web sites and via the media.

  3. All-on-4/all-on-6 at $50k at Australian dentist prices, is simply unaffordable for many Australians. I question whether Australian dentists even perform as many cases, and have as much clinical experience, as some of their Thai or Polish counterparts that perform many of these procedures to support the dental tourism industry.

    The Australian dental industry is caught in a bind – cater only to the wealthy elite, or compete on price. In catering only to the minority, however, it is not clear their clinical experience will be as extensive as that in low cost alternative locations.


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