You may not realize it but, going abroad for medical or dental procedures has a long history, even as far back as the Middle Ages when the wealthy ventured far from home to bath in popular medicinal spas. Today, people from all walks of life seek care, including dental work, outside their home country: some to see a renowned specialist; others to lower costs.
Although the recommendation is to see a professional you are familiar and comfortable with, that is not always possible or practical. If you experience an emergency in which you need dental care outside of the United States, there are some things you should look into before you dive into “dental tourism”.
Taking precautions to avoid a negative experience is a great way to start off. So, before your trip you should schedule a dental visit, especially if you have some lingering issues that need attending. You should also be sure to plan this visit enough in advance to allow time for any potentially needed treatment and convalescence. It’s especially important that you have damaged or cracked teeth treated, as well as complete any recommended root canals. You should also schedule a cleaning, and have any teeth with sensitivity issues checked for possible periodontal (gum) disease.
If you have a dental emergency abroad, you may be unpleasantly surprised at the lack of available care at the level of quality you’re accustomed to at home. It’s prudent, therefore, to take a few precautions before you go and do a little research on sources of dental care where you’ll be traveling.
While you can significantly reduce your risk of a dental emergency before you travel, you can’t eliminate it all together. A problem could still arise during your trip. It’s advisable, then, that you bring along contact information for people or organizations that could assist you with obtaining medical or dental treatment.
A dental emergency during foreign travel could turn that dream vacation into a nightmare. You can lessen the chance of that by taking these few precautions before you go.
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.
If you do need emergency or last minute dental care while traveling abroad, please see your regular dentist as soon as you get home to ensure the correct actions are taken for effective long term recovery. If you have any questions, we are happy to answer them. Feel free to contact us!