Dentists in developed countries like the U.S. have years of training, use materials approved by the FDA, and follow strict health and safety regulations. However, some people practice dental tourism and travel overseas for cheaper dental treatment. Dental tourism is not recommended as a safe dental practice and can be very harmful to your health.
One of the major dangers of dental tourism is the lack of regulations in some undeveloped countries. Here are a few examples:
• Dental Training: The U.S. sets a high bar and has their dentists undergo years of training before opening a practice. Some countries don’t have their dentists required to train as long, resulting in a lack of knowledge about the very dental procedures you may ask them to perform.
• Quality of Dental Materials: Dental tourism is supposed to be cheap, but you don’t want cheap materials put into your mouth. Fillings, implants, and other dental materials need to have some degree of quality in order to last. Cheap or faulty materials can break and even damage your mouth.
• Hygiene Standards: Dentists in the U.S. practice very strict hygiene standards. They wear a face mask, wash their hands and change gloves between patients, sterilize instruments, etc. Countries that do not practice these basics of dental hygiene can put you at risk for infection and disease.
The differences in safe dental regulations aren’t the only reasons dental tourism can be harmful.
• Language Difference: You may not speak the same language as the dentist you ask to treat your teeth. This can be dangerous if you cannot communicate what you need done.
• Recovery Time: Compressing treatment times is common to dental tourism and also dangerous to your health. If you aren’t allowed enough recovery time between treatments, other problems can arise.
• Emergency Care: Something can always go wrong no matter what you do. Don’t have an emergency occur in a foreign country with an unfamiliar dentist when you need expert emergency care that your own dentist is qualified to provide.