What You Should Know Before Trying Dental Tourism

Written by Dr. Reuben Sim
Published: 13-12-2021

Have you ever actually considered doing a dental trip or a cosmetic dental trip overseas? Now if you have, I’m going to share with you the pros and cons of going overseas because personally I know both sides of the story. I’ve got patients that have gone overseas to Thailand, Vietnam or Southeast Asia to get dental treatment done. And I also have patients coming in from abroad from UK, New Zealand, Malaysia- to actually come over to get dentistry treatment done.

So based on this, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what the pros and cons are and I’m going to share that with you. Now, one of the key reasons why patients want to go abroad to Southeast Asia for example is because they want to kill two birds with one stone. They might want to go travelling. They might want to visit a country, immerse themselves in a culture and at the same time get some dental treatment done.

The other reason for, a driving factor for, why patients these things abroad is because of the cost of the treatment. Because the cost of dental treatment in these countries might be a little bit lower or significantly lower compared to any dental treatment in Australia. Now, those are the advantages.

However, if you’re planning to do things overseas, you must be aware of a few things as well. Because if you were to do treatment overseas and things are not done the first time, you might have to travel back to the country again. So all the savings that you might actually have may be wiped out doing that second visit because you’ve got to take another air flight, more accommodation time and more time off work as well. So this is one of the risks that you may get yourself into if you actually do things abroad.


Now, the other reason why patients go abroad to do the work is because of the costs as well. As I mentioned. There’s a reason why the cost is lower in these other countries. One would be the cost of wage to run a dental practice. So the cost of wage are definitely lower in these other countries. But also more importantly is the health regulations and safety.

In Australia, we actually have health regulations and government boards to actually protect the public from being overexposed with health issues. In some of these countries, you may not have this health authority to look over these dental practices. So therefore, things like infection control, sterilisation and cleanliness of the practice may not be a priority of the dental practice. I’m not saying that all the practices are not good but there may be some that do not follow these regulations because there’s actually no governing body to look over all of this.

One of the key things is that if you’ve got infection issues and sterilisation issues, you’re putting yourself or your family members at risk because you can contract things like HIV, Hepatitis or other viruses or bacteria that may not be eradicated infection control or sterilisation protocol isn’t up to scratch.

So, before you go overseas, this is something that you will need to consider. Because when you contract this bacteria, sometimes there’s no turning back. This can be a life changing scenario.

Now, one of the stories I have is last year I had a patient who was Australian who actually went to the Philippines. There’s nothing wrong in the Philippines, but he visited potentially the wrong dentist in the Philippines. So he came back and one of the key things was that the teeth started to get infected and he had ten crowns placed on his teeth.

Now, out of all the ten crowns- and all the teeth were alive and healthy initially- all ten of them started getting abscesses and infections. Out of all ten teeth we had to start doing root canals on each and every one. Once I removed the crowns to clean out the infection, they had little stumps of teeth because the dentist actually overcut and over prepared the tooth to actually allow the crown to fit in.

While this is something that’s not ideal, he’s stuck in a position where potentially he can’t get his healthy teeth back, number one. Number two, he may have to go back to the Philippines. But again, will you trust someone who has cut too much of your teeth away? So he’s actually started treatment with us, but what that means is that the savings that he had initially is wiped out, number one. Number two, he’s actually come out worse off because of the damage to his preexisting healthy tooth structure.

These are the risks you need to be aware of before you move overseas to actually get your dentist treatment done. So hopefully, this has helped you. There are definitely pros and cons. If you get it done once and get it done well overseas- that’s really good. I’ll be really happy for you because if you achieved your smile that way, perfect. But you need to know there are certain risks involved when you do something as well. So, remember to think about it and do your research well, ask friends and be sure to do due diligence before you go overseas.

So, thank you for your time and if you know someone who might be going overseas or if you are thinking of going overseas. Again, share this video with friends and family. Hopefully, I can help you with as much information as I can and hope to see you in the next video.