Australian dentists issue warning about “dental tourism”

“Don’t risk the ‘cheap health holiday away’ only to have a ‘big health bill’ after you come back”. That’s the warning from the Australian Dental Association (ADA) and Shire Dental Centre agrees.

“Dental tourism” is the practice of undertaking medical or dental treatment procedures overseas while people are on holidays.

ADA Deputy Chairman of the Oral Health Committee Dr Michael Foley explained the decision to become a dental tourist usually comes to down to one simple thing – saving money.

“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,” Dr Foley said.

“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.

Here are four factors the ADA and Shire Dental Centre urge any prospective traveller considering undertaking dental treatment overseas to consider:

• Too many procedures, too little time – 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.

• Standards may not be as stringent – Australian dentists are trained to a very high standard, must be registered, and are required to operate in a strictly-regulated environment. The overseas dentist may not be as qualified or working with the same quality of materials.

• Infection and antibiotic resistance – Previously rare in Australia, superbugs (resistant to antibiotics) are appearing more and more as people return from overseas treatments. Australian dentists are obligated to adhere to strict infection control protocols.

Shire Dental Centre’s Dr Peter Bouboulos also reminded those considering “dental tourism” that things can go wrong.

“Overseas treatments that require corrective work creates more problems that would have been minimised if the original work done in Australia,” Dr Bouboulos said.

“Returning overseas to attend the original practitioner means that any savings gained from that first ‘cheap flight’ ticket are likely to be lost.

“Also, there may be additional costs with seeking an Australian qualified dentist to attend to the dental issue ‘mid-stream’, which is not recommended.

“This 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.”

Considering “dental tourism”? Speak to your local dental health experts first.

Tel: (02) 9531 4888 | Fax: (02) 9531 4788
Visit: Suite 7/20-24 Gibbs Street, Miranda NSW 2228


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