Dental care, just like any medical care, can get expensive. Depending on your circumstances, your insurance, and your dental needs, some dental visits can definitely take a bite out of your pocketbook. To combat this, some people travel to other countries to seek cheaper care. But is this “dental tourism” smart… or safe?
Katie Price’s Turkish Tooth Trouble
Katie Price, an English model (and television personality, designer, and author, among other credentials) has an estimated net worth of 45 million pounds (that’s just over 60 million dollars), which makes her decision to pursue cheap dental work abroad surprising. Nonetheless, she took a trip to Turkey in November to get porcelain veneers in order to correct some cosmetic tooth troubles from a childhood skateboarding accident.
Unfortunately, Price fell ill on the journey home. The culprit? Penicillin, to which she has a known allergy. After the procedure, she was given antibiotics by her Turkish dentist, who clearly hadn’t done their due diligence in learning about their patient’s health history and needs beforehand.
Ultimately, Price recovered and her veneers remain in place — but when it comes to the possible risks of dental tourism, she got lucky.
Risks Exceed Allergic Reactions
An allergic reaction is low on the list of the dangers that can come with dental tourism, in the grand scheme of things. Here are a few other risks you’re taking on by seeking care in other, less expensive countries:
- No FDA approval. All dental implants and other medical devices used in the United States have to be FDA approved. This protects patients by ensuring that every product has been thoroughly tested and investigated and is unlikely to cause harm. For example, if your dental implants aren’t FDA approved, they may be more likely to fail or cause other health problems around the implantation site.
- Lower standard of care. When seeking dental care in another country, you can’t be confident that your dentist is properly trained and working in a clean, safe environment. This could lead to poor dental work that needs to be fixed after a few months — which will ultimately cost you more money. Not to mention that if you contract an infection in an unsanitary dental office, the risks to your overall health could be high.
- No licensing and credentials. There are certain credentials that dentists can obtain in the United States that demonstrate a specific quality of education and experience. Without those same licenses and credentials in other countries, it’s impossible to know if the dentist you’re entrusting your health and safety to is adequately trained to treat you.
If you’re concerned about the cost of your dental care, the best and safest thing you can do is to voice your worries to your dentist. They can help you determine your best and safest options for care — without subjecting yourself to the risks associated with dental tourism.