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Destination Dentistry: What to know when travelling for your teeth

Adjusting to life in a post-pandemic society has transformed our attitudes and values. There is a new appreciation of the concept of time but also a deeper concern for health and well-being. These current life philosophies have encouraged an unprecedented wave of medical tourism around the world.

We are seeing a movement of travellers, actively pursuing medical treatments in beautiful, inspiring locations. This is a fast-growing global community of patients enhancing their leisure time with meaningful experiences for body, mind and soul. Many are also travelling for their teeth and setting up remote appointments for extensive work such as implants and veneers or even routine procedures of crowns and bridges.

Finding the right provider however means taking the right precautions. Sadly, many nomadic patients become victims of disreputable dental practices and low-quality treatments. Our helpful list below will guide you towards answering the right questions surrounding destination dentistry:

1. Background Check

– The specialist at your chosen destination should be transparent about their background, experience and qualifications. With today’s search tools, it should be easy to piece together a complete profile of a highly trained professional. That should confirm that you have found a suitable person for your treatment.

2. Seal of Approval

- Observe the accreditation surrounding the operations of the clinic and what organisations have inspected its facilities and services. Notably for dentistry, look out for quality management standards such as ISO and OHSAS that have an international presence and avoid smaller, local authorities that could be biased. Beware of websites that are supposedly evaluating practitioners as they are often purchased, unreliable recommendations.

3. Trust the Trader

– ensure that the dental provider being advertised has a solid connection with the dental practitioner i.e. that the dentist owns the practice or that the dentist collaborates with the practice over a long period of time. Be aware of dentists that are surgery-hopping and travelling across different centres – they may not have the best reputation in their field.

4. The Bigger Picture

– Find out what information will be provided during and after your treatment. A highly qualified and trained dentist will produce a comprehensive report concerning the services you have received but also a detailed analysis of the materials used and information about the protocols that have been applied.

5. Price Matters

– Study the offer that is being presented by a dentist you are considering. Observe the price allocated to the treatment and think about the level of quality to which is corresponds – what kind of service will you be receiving? Also if you are considering a package deal that combines accommodation, travel and transport arrangements, again consider the percentage amounting to your treatment in order to assess its value.

6. Right of Return

When visiting a dentist abroad, it is important to consider what after-sales services are provided. Is the said dental practice a one-stop destination or is there a long-term plan in place for their customers e.g. will you be able to visit after two years’ time and are official warranties enforced?

7. Change and Continuity

– Do think about the social, economic and political conditions of the country where the dental practice is based. With any dental treatment, your teeth are reinforced with specific chemicals and materials that are selected by a practitioner. However, if the country in question is affected by war or economic crisis for example, this will disrupt the sourcing of materials needed for continuing your treatment plan.

8. The Finer Details

– Many dental practices are rigid with the treatment packages on offer and this could mean that you are being subjected to over-treatment. Ensure that your selected dentist takes into consideration your individual needs and that you are not being exposed to a mass production line of fixed treatments. You may be pushed into receiving products and services that are unnecessary for your particular situation.

9. Up Close and Personal

– Do monitor how much attention you are receiving in preparation for your treatment. The right specialist has an obligation to begin the treatment plan with a virtual consultation in order to clarify all queries and outline a detailed breakdown of the methods that will be applied. You should be made to feel comfortable, informed and fully prepared for the process.

10. Take time for your teeth

– Above all, give priority to your oral health and recognise that the positive workings of your mouth are essential elements of good health overall. With the right mind-set, you will be able to give your oral health the significance and value that it deserves.

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