Is Dental Tourism Safe? What You Need to Know

Is Dental Tourism Safe? Are you considering dental tourism, enticed by the idea of combining dental treatments with a delightful vacation in a foreign land? 

It’s no surprise – dental tourism has become quite the trend lately, with ads for dental vacation packages everywhere you look. 

But before you pack your bags and jet off for that smile makeover, let’s take a closer look at the safety aspect and the potential dangers associated with dental tourism.

What is dental tourism?

Dental tourism, also known as dental vacation or tourism dentistry, is a growing trend where individuals travel to foreign countries to receive dental treatments at a lower cost than here in the UK.

The idea is to combine dental care with an enjoyable holiday experience in a new and exciting destination.

Countries like Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Thailand have gained popularity as dental tourism hotspots due to their reputation for offering high-quality dental services at significantly reduced prices. 

Dental tourists seek procedures such as dental implants, smile makeovers, veneers, and other treatments while enjoying the cultural richness and beauty of the host country.

While dental tourism can be appealing for cost savings and adventure, it’s crucial to prioritise the safety and quality of treatments. Thorough research, reading reviews, and consulting with trusted dental professionals will help make an informed decision. 

Ultimately, ensuring your smile receives the best possible care should be the top priority when considering dental tourism.

What are dental holiday travel packages?

Dental vacation packages are alluring deals being heavily marketed nowadays. These packages combine dental treatments with a memorable holiday, enticing individuals with the promise of affordable dental care and an enjoyable getaway in a foreign country. 

Ads promoting dental tourism often feature attractive discounts on procedures, return flights and accommodations, making it seem like an unbeatable opportunity for those seeking dental treatments and a unique travel experience. 

But alongside these packages, the headlines also include numerous stories of people reporting the dangers of dental tourism that they experienced first-hand, botched dental implants and veneers gone wrong. 

Is Dental tourism safe?

While the idea of saving money and enjoying a trip may be appealing, there are several reasons why dental tourism can be risky:

Taken in by a cheap price

One of the primary reasons people opt for dental tourism is the significantly lower costs. However, these seemingly affordable prices can come at a hidden cost. 

Dental clinics in some countries may cut corners on materials, equipment, or expertise to offer cheaper services, leading to subpar results. Some dental clinics abroad may compromise on quality to offer lower prices, leading to disappointing results.

Surprisingly, cost savings is often assumed without the individual obtaining quotations from local private dentists for comparison.

Oral safety hazards

Different countries have varying standards and approaches to dental care, and not all may adhere to the same safety protocols as your local dental clinic. 

This can lead to potential risks during procedures or inadequate post-operative care. Proper sterilisation and infection control measures may not be followed, increasing the risk of infections and complications.

These countries use unfiltered water during procedures that could make you sick if you haven’t built up immunity to the disease-carrying organisms. Locals typically already have immunity.. This could also cause complications in your recovery.

Implant failure

Dental implants require skill and precision, and complications can arise if the procedure is not performed correctly. In case of implant failure, seeking follow-up care abroad can be difficult and costly. Implants often require several follow-up visits to ensure a comfortable fit and the correct bite. 

Language barrier

Effective communication is crucial in any medical or dental setting. A language barrier between you and the dental professionals could lead to misunderstandings, potential misdiagnoses, and inadequate explanations of the procedure and aftercare instructions.

Medical and dental history

Dentists in your home country have access to your complete dental and medical history, which helps them make informed decisions about your treatment. Overseas providers may not have access to this information, potentially leading to treatment complications.

Follow-up care issues

Some dental procedures, such as dental implants, may require extended recovery periods. Without proper follow-up care, complications that arise during your recovery may not be addressed promptly, potentially leading to more significant problems.

Travelling back and forth for these appointments can be both time-consuming and expensive.

There is also the risk of seeking local follow-up care. UK dental clinics may use different techniques, equipment and materials than those used abroad and therefore, UK dental clinics may not be in a position to offer the correct follow-up care. 

Risks of exploring a new destination or sightseeing after a procedure

While the thought of exploring a new destination and sightseeing can be incredibly exciting post-surgery, it’s essential to consider the potential risks:

Physical exertion

Exploring a new place often involves a lot of walking, standing, and physical activity. After a procedure, your body might still be in the healing process, and overexertion could hinder your recovery and lead to complications.

Risk of infection

Visiting crowded tourist spots or using public transportation in a new destination can expose you to various germs and infections. Your immune system may be weakened after a procedure, making you more susceptible to illness.

Changes in climate and altitude

Changes in climate and altitude can impact your healing process. Even if you’re aiming for a relaxing poolside vacation, a destination with different weather or altitude levels can affect your body’s recovery. It’s essential to consider how these environmental changes might influence your post-procedure healing and take appropriate precautions accordingly.

Limited access to medical care

Being in an unfamiliar location could pose challenges in accessing immediate or emergency medical assistance if you encounter unexpected complications.

Dietary restrictions

After a procedure, you might have specific dietary restrictions or requirements. Exploring new cuisines might not align with your post-procedure dietary needs.

Indulging in foreign cuisine also exposes you to different gut bacteria, and many travellers experience digestive discomforts and, in more severe cases, food poisoning. This can add additional strain to your body post-surgery. 

Stress and fatigue

Travelling, sightseeing, and just being in a strange location that is not home can be physically and emotionally taxing. Stress and fatigue could hinder your body’s ability to heal properly after a dental procedure.

Risks of flying after a procedure

In most cases, your dentist will advise you not to fly after a dental procedure for 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the procedure and recovery process. Flying too soon after a medical or dental procedure can present certain risks and considerations that are important to keep in mind:

Increased risk of complications

After a procedure, your body needs time to heal and recover. Flying too soon could increase the risk of complications, especially if you had surgery or dental work that involved anesthesia.

Blood clot formation

Long flights can lead to reduced blood flow in your legs, which may increase the risk of blood clots forming. This risk is particularly higher if you’ve undergone surgery, as your body’s natural clotting ability might still be affected.

Discomfort and pain

Sitting in a confined space for an extended period after a dental or medical procedure can be uncomfortable and painful, especially if you had oral surgery or abdominal surgery.

Changes in air pressure

Fluctuations in cabin pressure during flights can impact healing tissues, especially if you have dental implants, dental extractions, or sinus surgeries.

Delayed access to medical care

Being at a higher altitude and away from immediate medical assistance could be problematic if unexpected complications arise during your flight.

Risk of infection

Airports and aeroplanes can be breeding grounds for germs and infections, which may pose a risk if your immune system is compromised after a medical procedure.

Additional travel risks to be aware of

Other issues you will have to consider that may pose more risks include:

Vaccines and health precautions

Travelling to a foreign country may require specific vaccinations or health precautions, depending on the destination. Failing to take these precautions could expose you to health risks.

Security threats

Travelling to some countries may involve exposure to security risks or unstable political situations. Your safety should always be a top priority.

Recent Survey by the BDA

A recent survey by the British Dental Association (BDA) sheds some light on the dangers of dental tourism. The survey involved 1000 UK dentists, with 94% having treated patients who received dental treatment abroad. 

Alarmingly, 86% of these cases required follow-up treatment due to unfavourable dental outcomes, with dental crown replacement and dental implants being the most common. 

Complications were reported by 86% of the dentists, stating that the patient’s treatment had either failed or was failing. 

And 76% of patients experienced pain, while 72% reported that the treatment was poorly performed. Most patients spent between £500 to £5000 to have the dental treatments corrected.

These numbers highlight the risks of dental tourism and the importance of prioritising safety and quality when seeking dental care. And it seems that what may be cheaper in the short term can end up being more costly in the long run.

Consider MyHealthcare Clinic as the alternative

At MyHealthcare Clinic, we prioritise your safety, well-being, and satisfaction. Choosing us as your local dental provider offers several advantages over dental tourism:

  • We uphold strict sanitation and hygiene standards to ensure your safety during treatments.
  • Our experienced and highly qualified dental professionals have completed thousands of successful dental crowns and dental implant placements.
  • We have access to your complete medical history, enabling us to provide personalised care.
  • You can communicate with our friendly team in your native language, eliminating any language barrier concerns.
  • Follow-up care is convenient and accessible, ensuring your recovery progresses smoothly.
  • You contribute to your local community’s economy and support local businesses by choosing a local dental clinic.

At MyHealthcare Clinic, we ensure that you receive high-quality dental care in a safe and welcoming environment at an affordable price. Read more about our fees.

We also offer MyMembership, which is a monthly membership plan starting from £25 per month that includes dental check-ups, hygiene treatments, dental X-rays and CT scans, and a 20% discount on dental treatments. 

By choosing a local dental provider, you invest in your long-term oral and overall health, ensuring you receive the best possible care from experienced professionals who prioritise your well-being.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Read our most commonly asked questions about dental tourism and dental tourism pitfalls.

Are dental treatments in Turkey safe? 

Dental treatments in Turkey can vary in quality and safety. Some clinics may provide excellent services, while others may lack proper hygiene and sanitation standards. It’s essential to research thoroughly and choose a reputable clinic.

What are the risks of getting dental implants abroad?

Risks of getting dental implants abroad include implant failure, inadequate follow-up care, potential language barriers, and differing sanitation standards. These factors may lead to complications and unsatisfactory results.

How do I know if a dental clinic overseas is trustworthy?

Read online reviews and testimonials, research the clinic’s accreditations and certifications, and seek recommendations from people who have had successful experiences with the clinic.

What are the advantages of choosing a local dental provider?

Choosing a local dental provider like MyHealthcare Clinic ensures easy access to follow-up care, familiarity with local regulations, personalised attention, and convenient communication.

Is it worth it to travel for cheaper dental treatments?

While it may seem tempting, compromising your safety and quality of care for lower costs may not be worth it in the long run. Investing in your long-term oral health should be a priority. Often what may seem cheaper in the short term can end up being more costly in the long run. 

How can I make an informed decision about dental treatments abroad?

Consult with one of our dental clinics in London, do thorough research on potential clinics abroad, and weigh the risks and benefits before making a decision. Always prioritise your health and well-being.

PLEASE NOTE: This information is not intended for diagnosis or treatment. It is aimed at presenting a perspective only and is not a substitute for a prescription or clinical assessment. Anyone experiencing a medical condition should contact us directly for a consultation.