Going abroad for medical or dental procedures has a long history, even as far back as the Middle Ages when the wealthy trekked far from home to bathe in popular medicinal spas. Today, people of all walks of life seek care, including dental work, outside their home country: some to see a renowned specialist; others to lower costs.
If you’re considering dental care outside of the United States, however, there are some things you should look into before you become a “dental tourist.” Here are 4 reality checks you should make and then plan for before embarking on your trip.
Differing standards. Not all dentistry standards are the same around the world. In the U.S., dentists must graduate from accredited programs and pass certification tests before they can practice: standards can be more or less than this in other countries. So, find out first what your destination’s standards are for education, as well as safety, materials and workmanship.
Communication confusion. Being unfamiliar with a country’s language can make it harder for you to understand and have your questions answered about your procedure or the costs of meals, rooms and other charges. Your providers likewise may have trouble accessing or translating your medical records. Be sure ahead of time you and your provider can speak a common language or arrange for translation.
Recuperation blues. While spending time in an exotic locale sounds like a vacation, being there for a major procedure could be anything but. You may find recuperating in an unfamiliar “paradise” to be quite rigorous and uncomfortable, contrary to the travel brochure. Make sure you know how long you’ll be there and what inconveniences you might face.
Follow-up care. If you have problems or concerns with your treatment after you return home, it may not be practical or possible for you to see the provider who performed the procedure. So before you go, try to arrange with a provider here to see you about follow-up issues.
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