6 Hidden Risks of Overseas Dental TourismDr Alice Yang
- No past history and records
Just like the family GP, it is essential to have a regular family dentist that knows your medical and dental history. With background information available on record year by year, your dentist can understand how your teeth and mouth respond to previous treatment and can plan future treatment options best suited to your needs. Having any invasive surgical procedures performed by other dentists without full knowledge of past medical and dental history can greatly reduce the success rate.
- No on-going maintenance and care for dental treatment
What happens if something goes wrong and patients need to revisit for unplanned follow-up treatment? Your dentist will normally do follow-up care without additional charges. However, this will require you to return to the clinic where the treatment was performed. Additional travel time and cost would be required as a result if you return to the overseas dentist. Meantime the discomfort and additional planning can also be emotionally draining.
- No responsibility
Besides the immediate on-going maintenance, various dental treatments such as dental implants, orthodontics, crown and bridges are meant to last many years or even a lifetime. To the dentist overseas, you are only considered an overseas tourist/patient choosing them based on financial reasons. There will be less sense of responsibility knowing you are not always based in their country.
- Limited treatment option available within short time frame
A period of monitoring is often needed to enable healing and achieve the best result. For example, a minimum period of 6-8 weeks following implant surgery is required for the bone and gum to integrate before placement of the final crown. A short overseas trip limits yourself of such option. The final product is often rushed and compromised, which is less than ideal.
- Unknown hygiene and infection control standard
Australia has one of the most effective infection prevention and control system in the world. This is central to providing high quality health care for patients and a safe environment for those that work in healthcare settings. All medical and dental instruments in Australia are regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Foreign countries offering cheaper medical and dental treatments generally have a lower hygiene standard and are not necessarily regulated by TGA.
- Different systems used overseas are difficult to repair and maintain
Treatments performed overseas often use different equipment and materials that may not be compatible with Australian products. These different systems of dental appliances require specific equipment to repair and maintain. Thus if the patient returns to Australia and a repair is required, it can mean a complete redo of the treatment from the very beginning. This would leave patients bearing the financial and biological costs.