Australian residents are increasingly travelling to overseas countries to have dental treatment done. This is called dental tourism. Dr Sherry’s Mum is from the Philippines so she does understand the justification for those who seek cheap dental work IF you do your research. Mrs Wong does not have to pay for her dental care in Australia anymore but was lucky enough to have had good Filipino dentists.
Gentle Dental Centre’s stance on dental tourism is that we are open minded but cautious. We go through a few key points to keep in mind when you’re considering seeking overseas vs local treatment.
- Post operative treatment
Will you be able to stay long enough to be subject for a review period where they can make sure the site is infection free or address any issues? Locally you’re at least able to access hospital treatment or the clinic if any problems arise. At Gentle Dental we see patients with the view to becoming their dentist for life so we have a vested interest in making sure our work lasts long term!
- Avenues of complaint
In Australia, there is a Dental Board that patients can raise grievances with and in Western Australia, a Dental Cases Panel that can help mediate problems before they become litigious. If you have problems with your overseas treatment there is no avenue for complaint and it is unlikely that you will receive any sort of monetary compensation. Even if the practice will guarantee your aftercare or redo treatment, there will be the cost of a plane flight back to the country where the procedure was done.
- Infection control methods
Ask about infection control methods. Gentle Dental Centre abides to the high infection control standards of ADA and also Dept Health of WA. Each instrument is sterilized in a Class B autoclave and tracked for each patient so that we know exactly what time, date, temperature the instruments were processed at. Any patient will be able to ask about our protocols and even be shown the process if you like!
- Use of genuine parts
Gentle Dental uses the best materials available. We find that there is value in buying high quality, modern equipment and the dental work lasts much longer in your mouth. The implant brand we use is Straumann which are made in Switzerland. For crowns and dentures we use local Perth labs who use authentic Ivoclar brand materials from USA, Germany and Lichtenstein for your crown and Dentsply resins from USA for high quality dentures. Gentle Dental is able to print you out a certificate of authenticity which you can see the name of the lab, technician who worked on your prosthesis, the brand and origin of the materials. If your lab is based in Asia (whether your dentist is in Australia or not) then be sure you are getting genuine parts, not “house” brand implants/crowns of poor quality metals. These can break down and rust over time, causing infection or even have toxic metals such as lead mixed in.
- Qualification and training
You can search for your dentist and make sure they are registered or have any restrictions at the AHPRA website. It sounds ridiculous but make sure that the person you’re seeing is actually a dentist!