Dental tourism has been a frequent practice lately, as people are looking for cheaper alternatives for their dental procedures and treatment. Most people who opt for this type of service are looking for cheaper prices and taking a trip to another country to make sure that they get dental treatment is less expensive than having treatment in their own country. This practice also gained popularity due to the general medical tourism that has been happening for quite some time in a lot of countries. It seems that due to healthcare costs people can’t afford some procedures in their countries and opt to have them done in less expensive countries.
Another reason why dental tourism has grown and keeps growing is the fact that most dental service providers are trying to shape their clinics to be more dental tourism friendly. Some of them are offering fast services and packages that may also include accommodation at competitive prices. Also, this is backed up by travel agencies that have been offering packages that may include medical procedures, also called dental vacations. Many people choose to go to foreign countries that will offer the same materials and the same service for a lot less. Countries like Thailand, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, or Mexico will offer their neighbors dental vacations at smaller costs. For example, the price of implants can reach $5000 in countries like USA or Canada, but it only costs around $1000 in those mentioned above.
Many countries with emerging economies are offering better prices and good quality for the same procedure due to several reasons. Usually dentists and other medical practitioners in “emerging economy” countries might be part of programs that offer them fixed costs regarding the materials and expenses. There’s also the fact that they will benefit from lower labor costs, so medical assistants and dental technicians will also charge less for their services. Another important difference is the fact that education fees can be a lot less in these countries and most medical students don’t end up with a big debt after college that needs to be paid in a few years; this usually contributes greatly to the prices of medical practitioners in developed countries. This makes even the most expensive procedures in “emerging economy” countries be affordable for those who couldn’t afford it in their own countries. This doesn’t mean that the low cost services are low quality, but it also doesn’t mean that the expensive services offered in some countries are all high quality either. There is an international debate over the fact that people might not get the same high quality in other countries, but many reports have shown that services in these countries are the same as all over the world, especially since the same material brands and equipment is used. The same implant can be thousands of dollars in the U.S. or Australia but only a few hundred dollars in countries like Bulgaria, India, and Romania, so the price is not justified by the quality of the material or the brand, since the comparison is made with a product from the same brand.
Another problem most people have with dentistry is the fact that there is no price transparency; this usually doesn’t happen in countries that allow dental tourism, as people are able to know from the start how much their procedure will cost. There is one concern that has been raised which may seem valid for those opting for dental tourism and it refers to whether the treatment or procedures can be completed safely abroad in a short time period. However, a lot of travel agencies and dental clinics are now offering packages that include multiple visits between healing periods, so dental services still remain the main reason why people are opting for medical tourism.