Every so often, I turn on the radio to hear a few hours of “Dentist bashing”. I have heard callers call NZ dentists “greedy”, “a rip off”, and many more unflattering terms. Most boast of travelling to Thailand, India, China and other countries to have their dental work done at a bargain, with a 5-star holiday thrown in. Sitting quietly in my car, I feel very sorry for them because most of the work fails within 5 years, and then what?

So, what is the true cost and risk of Dental Tourism?

It is common knowledge that no one likes to go to the dentist. Most people have avoided a “Stitch in time”, and they have let the breakdown in their mouths build up to an alarming level. However, Preventive Care if started early, is cheap and most affordable. Why wait till the mouth is totally broken down?

I have been a dentist for almost 40 years and seen many disasters that have occurred when patients have travelled overseas for treatment. Last week, a patient came in with massive swelling and pain under his crowns. He had travelled to Thailand to have this work done. Yes, he needed many fillings, his mouth was a mess, but when he woke up after a few sessions, each of 6 hours under anaesthesia, he had been fitted with 24 crowns, 19 Root Canals and 1 implant. All billed to his credit card. This is his x-ray.

Seriously!!!!!!! I was absolutely shocked to see this. The patient was 31 years of age.

He was told that he has saved $ 30,000 by having all of this done at one time overseas. BUT …. he did not need all this treatment and completed in 2 weeks’ time. In New Zealand, he would never have landed in this situation because dentists are ethical and regulated by the Dental Council. Additionally, he is protected in NZ by ACC, but not if the work is done overseas.

When patients travel overseas for dental work, they get glammed over by the glass and mirrors of flash clinics and told that all on the staff are qualified in the US or in Germany or the UK. Does anyone really check that this is true? Would Kiwis allow overseas dentists to work here without being Dental Council recertified? Going to a NZ dentist keeps us all safe and protected. The work is documented and must meet the standard of care.

When patients travel overseas for treatment, they wilfully discard the protections of New Zealand and the safe environment here and opt for a risky adventure.

Yes, there are some amazing dental clinics in India, China and Thailand, and I am aware that they cannot and will not do unethical work. But the same cannot be said about all the others that are built only for quick-fix overseas patients. Those clinics know that you will leave on a specified date and so everything is rushed, and completed, without giving the body time to assimilate and heal.

And, if something goes wrong, ACC is not involved in your protection and rehabilitation. You are on your own and trying to sort it out here can be a lifetime’s nightmare.

Please think again before you decide to travel overseas for dental work. We have seen large numbers of patients who have had serious complications of overseas treatment, but they NEVER go on the Newstalk ZB to tell others not to do it. They are embarrassed and feel cheated and they keep quiet and do not tell anyone.

Caring 4 Smiles Dental Group is a team of caring professionals who begin with patients as young as 1 year. We train mum and dad to care for their children’s teeth. In doing so, they give their baby the most amazing gift.

The gift of a Beautiful Smile that lasts a Lifetime.

To see us please call the practice on 09-6315416 or book online: www.caring4smiles.co.nz

Let your Smile reflect your Lifestyle

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