Dental Tourism: Is It Right For Me?

In May 8, 2013

Dental and other forms of medical tourism

have become very popular in the United States over the last several years. Among other reasons cited are the expense of having dental work done by a US doctor versus a doctor in another country and the increasing difficulty of finding dentists who accept certain dental plans, particularly those available to self-employed individuals. While it is certainly an option, there are a number of thing to consider when deciding whether dental tourism is the best choice for your needs.

The Pros of Dental Tourism

-Expense: Many doctors charge a quarter to three quarters of what an American doctor can abroad. This makes dental tourism a very attractive notion. Mexico, India, and Thailand are currently hotbeds for American medical tourism, because of the cost and the autonomy doctors in these and other nations are afforded. Treatments such as veneers and crowns, which may be completely unattainable for many Americans under the US healthcare system, are more affordable in other countries, even when taking into account the cost of traveling to the country in question.

-Transparency in Pricing: In order to stay competitive in the global market, many dentists abroad offer pricing that is more clearly identified than is common among US dentists. While your insurance bill may be confusing and difficult to understand, many foreign dentists make a point to tell you the price upfront, as well as what’s included. This “no surprises” billing makes budgeting and planning for your trip easier, which is one of many reasons why dental tourism is booming. While this sounds great, there is a downside as well.

The Cons of Dental Tourism

-Reduced Legal Recourse: Undergoing a medical procedure far from home, especially on a visiting basis, severely curtails your ability to seek redress through the judicial system if something goes wrong or the work proves to be faulty. Additionally, many countries, especially developing nations, do not have the government oversight and patient protection in place that the US does. This makes any form of medical tourism a risky gamble.

-Less Government Oversight: Countries like the US, Canada, and the UK have national standards in place for certification of medical personnel. In some countries, however, simply having some basic tools, a storefront, and a sign is sufficient to call oneself a dentist. This increases the risk that a poorly or not at all trained person is working on one of your greatest assets: your mouth!

-Quality of Treatment: Because American standards of dental care are so high, dentists are forced to rise to the challenge. In other countries, this is not necessarily the case. A veneer that may cost $3000 USD in America may only be $1200 USD in India, but that does not mean the individual installing the veneer is qualified or competent to do so. Also, the ever-present question of how much and how good the aftercare you can expect during a vacation-length recovery period arises here. For this reason alone, cheap doesn’t automatically equate to good.

-Location and Qualifications: If something goes wrong, how far are you willing or able to go to have it fixed? If you live in California, skipping across the border to Mexico could be a ten-minute trip. From New York to Acapulco is another matter entirely. It should also be remembered that in some countries, simply taking a course on dental hygiene qualifies people to pull teeth! You should always be sure the person who will be doing the work is certified, has good references, and will back their work, even to the point of paying your trip back if the dental work isn’t done properly.


While dental tourism is a valid option for many people, it may not be the best or the only option for you. Instead of spending your valuable and hard-earned vacation time getting your teeth drilled, wouldn’t it be better to spend that same time relaxing and enjoying the fruits of your labor?

United Medical Credit can help make going to a certified dentist or orthodontist in your own town easy and affordable, with flexible billing plans and lines of credit from $500 to $20,000 with a variety of payment options and incentives for even those customers with less than perfect credit. Before you spend your vacation abroad getting dental work done, why not see if you can have it done here at home? Then you can spend your vacation on vacation, instead of convalescing. Contact United Medical Credit today and find out what financing options we can offer for your dental procedure!

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