Dental tourism is a worldwide phenomenon, with millions of people pulling out their passport for their health every year. In Europe, Brits and Germans head to Hungary and Poland for affordable dental care. Across the Atlantic, Americans and Canadians pour across the border into Mexico or fly to destinations in Latin America.
Read on if you are one of the millions interested in high quality, affordable dental care abroad. In this guide, we’ll introduce 5 key tips for choosing a dentist abroad to make sure that your next dental vacation is a success
1.Verify the Credentials of Your Dentist
Traveling abroad for dental care can save you tens of thousands of dollars off what you might pay at home. However, you want to ensure that you are getting the best possible care. It is important to know that the dentist performing your surgery has the proper qualifications.
For instance, you want a dental implant placed by a specialist with 2-3 years of additional training called a periodontist rather than a general dentist.
In Mexico, the most popular destination for American and Canadian Travelers, the best way to double-check your dentist’s qualifications is through the website of the Secretary of Public Education. You can use the full name of your dentist in the search field to determine whether they have an advanced degree.
Don’t be intimidated if you don’t speak Spanish, you can use google chrome to translate the webpage into your language of choice.
2. Evaluate the Clinic’s Online Reviews
Reviews are a great way to gauge the customer experience at a clinic and view how they respond to the inevitable conflict or inconvenience.
Google is the most popular online review platform, and by Googling the name of different clinics you are considering you can determine how you might expect to be treated.
In some countries, Facebook may provide more revealing information and more reviews than Google. Be sure to check there as well!
3. Ask Expats About Their Experiences
Any big city you might consider will have an Expat group. Simply search “Expats in [City]” in Facebook and you will be able to connect with a community of people able to make recommendations based on their experience. Expat groups tend to be full of people eager to help give pointers to travelers.
Asking questions in these groups is particularly helpful if you’ve already done some research and have narrowed down your dentist to a few providers. For example, a question like “I’m interested in getting veneers in Budapest, and I am trying to choose between Dr. X and Dr. Y. Can anyone tell me why I should choose one over the other?” is bound to get a more specific and relevant response than “Can anyone recommend a dentist in Budapest?”
4. Check out the Traveler’s Guide to Safe Dental Care
Once you have selected a clinic, you can use the Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and Prevention’s Traveler’s guide to safe dental care and their checklist for obtaining safe dental care abroad.
This checklist recommends asking the following questions when making an appointment:
Do you use new gloves for each patient?
Do you use a steam sterilizer or a dry heat oven to sterilize instruments between patients?
Do you sterilize or disinfect drills between patients?
Is sterile water used for surgical procedures?
Additionally, OSAP recommends you check whether the office is neat and clean, whether staff washes their hands between patients, and if they use gloves and disposable covers on surfaces.
5. Work with a Professional
Finally, you may consider using the services of a medical tourism facilitator. Medical Tourism facilitators evaluate clinics, conduct site visits, and build long term relationships with providers and see the quality of their work over time.
For example, at Apollo Medical Travel, we have built relationships with dental clinics across Mexico, Costa Rica, and Colombia. We’ve conducted site visits, performed background checks, and interviewed previous patients to make sure our network is full of outstanding doctors, and we make sure prices are transparent and affordable on our website. Working with a professional will save you a lot of time and effort, and it will give you the peace of mind to get the care that you deserve.
Choosing a dentist abroad is an important decision and one you want to get right. Make sure to check the credentials of your dentist and make sure they are qualified to perform the procedure you need. Check out online reviews, and try to get advice and pointers from the local ex-pat community. Use the Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and prevention’s traveler’s guide to safe dental care to evaluate whether a clinic is safe. Lastly, consider using the services of a professional medical tourism facilitator if you would like an extra layer of security and peace of mind.
Wesley Jacobs is the Founder of Apollo Medical Travel. He believes that everyone deserves access to high-quality, affordable medical care. He makes that a reality by helping patients from the United States opt-out of US prices by getting medical care in Latin America.