For decades, tourists have been calling Thailand by its nickname, “Land Of Smiles,” because the people are so friendly. As it turns out, this amiable moniker may fit better than we ever realized before. Thailand has become one of the hottest destinations for a rapidly growing international trend called dental tourism.
What Is Dental Tourism?
Dental tourism involves people traveling to another country to have their dental work done. The primary driving force for this is to save money. In countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, dental work is extremely expensive. Furthermore, even if you have dental insurances, it doesn’t usually pay for much more that $2000 a year which is barely enough to cover teeth cleanings, general check-ups, and minor dental work.
Many dental patients are facing the terrible news that the dental work they need will cost them more than $10,000 and the rates are still skyrocketing. These incredible costs have spurred a cottage industry of travel agents who specialize in connecting dental patients in countries where dental rates are extremely high with dentist offices in countries where the dental rates are much cheaper.
Why Is Thailand Such a Popular Dental Tourism Destination?
Thailand has emerged as one of the most popular destinations for dental tourism. This is based on the fact that it is quite easy to save up to 80 percent on dental work by having it done in Thailand. It is also based on the fact that many of the dental offices in Thailand, especially in Bangkok, are state of the art and the dental procedures are performed with the highest skill. The dentists are often trained in the United States or the United Kingdom and then return to Thailand to set up their practice. Dentists in Thailand have a much lower cost of living and the overhead is also much lower so they charge a much lower price.
Even when you add in airfare, hotel stay, and other trip expenses, if you live in a country like the United States where dental costs are exorbitant, you can save a bundle if you go to Thailand to have your dental work done. The dental offices in Thailand are often vetted by the travel agents who specialize in dental tourism so you don’t have to take a stab in the dark to find a Thailand dentist. The travel agent will be able to tell you which dental offices in Thailand are the best for the procedures you need done.
What Type Of Dental Procedures Can You Have Done?
One of the most popular dental procedures to have done in Thailand is titanium dental implants. This is because you can literally save thousands of dollars by having this type of work done in Thailand. You can also save a bundle on veneers, jaw reconstruction surgery, root canals, caps, and any other type of dental procedure.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), dental tourism dollars is supposed to reach 3.6 billion dollars in year 2012. The growth of dental tourism is also expected to rise exponentially for several years. As this trend becomes even more popular, the package deals become even less expensive.
What Can You Expect From a Dental Clinic In Thailand?
Many of the dental clinics in Bangkok are actually nicer and more modern than the dental offices you’ll find in the United States. One of the more popular dental clinics in Bangkok that caters to international dental tourists has all glass walls in the waiting room. The waiting room looks out into a beautiful outdoor atrium with a koi pond. This has a great calming effect in what is usually a nervous situation.
What If There Are Complications After Return Home?
Companies have also started selling dental insurance to cover patients who travel abroad for approved dental work to cover them if something goes wrong after they return. There is usually a 6 month limit on this but this is more than enough time to know if there are any problems with a dental procedure. It is actually quite rare for a complication to arise because the standards are so high in Thailand dentistry. In fact, may American dental tourism patients state that they received the best dental care they ever have had in Thailand. Dental insurances also usually cover the patients if there is a mishap on the trip. It’s just a way of getting extra peace of mind.
Perhaps the best part about dental tourism in Thailand is the fact that you can also combine your dental work with some tourism fun. With Bangkok being the 3rd most visited city in the world by international travelers, there is plenty to do and see in Bangkok. So, if you are in need of dental work, you may want to head to Thailand for an amazing dental vacation. After you’re done with your dental procedure, head over to the Grand Palace for a little sightseeing or to the floating market to find some treasures to bring back home.
John Chen is a travel writer currently located in Bangkok, Thailand.