Many Americans are seeking dental treatment outside of the United States. This is a growing trend due to mainly the rising costs of dental care and that many Americans are under-insured. Many people, particularly those living in California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas travel to Mexico to receive expensive oral health services at an astonishing fraction of the US costs. Other countries such as Germany, Greece and Spain are also dental tourism hot spots where patients can expect to pay 70% less for their dental needs.
Lack of dental benefits is the primary reason why dental tourism is growing in popularity. Although paying significantly less for services in other countries seem like a good idea, it comes with the burden of knowing that these dental services are not regulated with same strict regulations here in the United States. American dental professionals must earn a minimum level of education and must obtain licensure ensuring competency and safety. In addition, dental material safety and quality used abroad are not subject to the same criteria here in the states. Furthermore, dental facilities located outside the US may not follow the same infection control standards that are strictly monitored here in the US. It is also important to keep in mind that if one seeks dental care outside their home country and emergency results from treatment, it may be difficult to find emergency care.
While it is inevitable that dental tourism will continue to grow because of the cost of dental care and lack of being insured, it is important that one weighs the benefits and risks entirely before making a decision.
Written by Brooke Good, Registered Dental Hygienist at Cedar Rapids Smile Center. Cedar Rapids Smile Center is a general dentistry practice located at 1260 3rd Ave SE in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Please call 319-540-8088 to schedule.