Dentistry Abroad


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Treatment abroad, also known as ‘medical tourism’ (something of a media cliché – the tourism involved is limited), is the name given to the industry in which patients seek treatments outside of their home country. A wide range of countries offer these services, including Thailand and Argentina. Some of the most popular treatments provided abroad include dental implants and cosmetic surgery, and often a country has a particular renown for a certain treatment; for example, India is known to provide advanced heart surgery. Nonetheless most countries offer most of the procedures which a patient may seek abroad.

Although medical tourism was until not so long ago considered insubstantial and limited in its scope, it has recently become greatly appreciated as a practical solution to high and/or rising costs in home countries. In addition to a select few cosmetic surgeries, the range of treatment has increased exponentially, as this guide will demonstrate. There is historical evidence for people of early civilisations travelling long distances to receive healthcare (often through spiritual means, rarely with success), including the Greeks, Romans and even the Mesopotamians. They would seek cures for a variety of medical problems still present today, including eye disorders and sexual diseases. Although many of these ancient superstitions proved to be insubstantial, the willingness of people to travel far and wide in search of the best treatment for their problem remains today. Certainly however the quality of care they receive has vastly improved!

Ultimately the onus is on you as an individual to pursue treatment, using the information contained hereafter as a pointer.

Why choose dental treatment abroad?

There are numerous factors for you to consider when choosing treatment abroad. Perhaps the most important of these is the price: typically you can save a lot of money by electing to have a particular treatment abroad instead of in your home country. Prices and quality vary from country to country but it is still possible to receive an excellent level of treatment, even on par with or superior to that of most UK clinics, at a considerably lower cost. Some treatments abroad are ideal for those who do not wish to undergo them at an NHS establishment and are unwilling to the pay the amount that a UK private dentist charges.

Another reason that a patient, whether from the UK, USA or otherwise, may wish to seek dental treatment abroad is the apparently growing risk of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in hospital patients. Though this does only apply specifically to hospital based dental treatment, which is usually on the NHS and most dental treatments are carries out in clinics. MRSA is a contagious disease that particularly affects individuals who have weakened immune systems or open wounds or who have been treated with invasive surgery, MRSA, although not excessively common, can be fatal. Consequently some patients travel abroad to clinics without any records of MRSA infections for treatment.

Another potential draw of treatment abroad is the manner of communication between the medical tourism provider and the patient. Typically conversations are less formal and quicker than in a home-country clinic, with the provider requesting all necessary information pertinent to the patient’s condition as rapidly as possible. Although this allows swift progress towards the actual treatment, it can cause legal and ethical issues, which will be discussed later in this guide. You should be assured of communicating with as reliable a provider as possible to make sure fewer complications arise from the less formal interaction.

Furthermore in some cases a wealthy patient seeking treatment abroad will be able to skip the waiting list, especially if he or she travels to a country without a public healthcare system (such as the NHS). Some UK residents may find this preferable following the widespread controversy about the length of NHS waiting lines. Coupled with faster communication, this usually ensures that the patient can receive treatment very shortly after enquiring to the dental provider.

Many clinics accustomed to medical tourism are proud of the business it brings, and consequently many go to great lengths to ensure each patient has the best possible personalised experience, often throwing in free amenities such as pedicures. Of course minor embellishments are always secondary to the quality of the primary treatment, and in some cases the style will be greater than the substance; it is certainly not unheard of for a clinic to provide both, however, and this is one reason you should be sure of where to receive treatment before venturing out.


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