It all looks so easy – you head off on an Asian holiday and get your dental work done as well. Budget sorted, holiday sorted, teeth sorted – easy. Or is it?
Everyone seems to know someone who came back from Thailand or Bali or Malaysia with shiny new teeth and a tan. Should you be planning a dental holiday?
Dental tourism has been on the rise over the last decade or more and there are good dentists, specialists and facilities overseas. However most people aren’t travelling just to get the odd filling done. They’re heading over to have major work completed. And major work gone wrong can be expensive to put right back in Australia.
“While many places in Asia have well-trained dentists and hygienic facilities, you need to be sure which ones are fine, and which aren’t,” says dentist Dr Yvonne Wu, from National Dental Care Chadstone. “You also do not have the protection of Australian standards.”
“Your major work may be perfect, but if it’s not, you have nowhere to complain. Once you’re back in Australia and something goes wrong, it can cost a lot more to put it right.”
Insurance issues with overseas dental work
Failed dental work is not the biggest problem with dental tourism. The most serious issue is when something goes badly wrong which affects your health and you need medical treatment overseas.
If you’ve travelled on holiday insurance you are most likely not covered for medical, hospital or evacuation costs if you have health dramas due to your discretionary dental work.
While most problems with overseas dental work may simply be the quality of the work, if anything goes badly wrong overseas you can run up substantial health costs. A medical evacuation back to Australia will be even more expensive.
Budgeting for dental work
The safest dental work is done in Australia, where you are protected by Australian standards and relevant professional bodies. If something seems wrong, you can easily return to your dentist.
Extras insurance cover can help with many costs, too. You can work with your National Dental Care practitioner to plan your year of checkups and dental work to make the best of your insurance.
If your budget is stretched, you may be eligible for National Dental Care’s interest-free payment plan. This allows you to get the work done when it’s needed and then pay in installments. Make a booking online for a consultation with your National Dental Care practitioner.