The thought of spending thousands of dollars on extensive work is hard to justify for many people. Treatment such as dental implants, crowns, root canals and cosmetic dentistry are unaffordable to part of the Australian population. For this reason, a lot of people consider overseas treatment as a suitable alternative.

In any industry, in any country, there are good and bad professionals. However, there are many different reasons why having dental treatment done overseas can be risky in the long term.

There has been an increase in number of people travelling overseas for dental treatment in order to “save” money. We understand that people look at cheaper dental options and think about travelling overseas. Some countries even offer “packages” offering accommodation, sightseeing and accommodation to people while having their dental treatment done.

The more complicated the treatment that is required – the higher the likelihood of something going wrong. Unfortunately, many Australians have returned after having dental work completed overseas with problems that are difficult to address. Patients come home with what they think are good results in the short term, only to find that problems begin to surface within six months to a year afterwards.

Most of these damages end up costing them more money to repair than what it would have cost to have it done properly, in Australia, by a good dentist, in the first place. The work required to replace poorly placed, cheaper implants can be much more expensive and fixing bad dentistry can involve much more work and much higher costs. In some instances, some of the damage may be irreplaceable.

One of the main issues we see with treatment carried out overseas or on holiday is the short treatment time involved. Patients may not have ever seen their dentist before they expect a large amount of complex treatment to be done within a 1-2 week period. This often means that the dentist may cut corners to ensure the dental work is completed by the end of the “holiday”.

All extensive dental work requires regular follow ups and maintenance. Having a regular dentist is important as you have a record and charts which can be frequently updated and referred to. The lack of follow up and ongoing care is a big problem for people choosing to have their dental work done overseas. This alone gives them a higher chance of their dental work failing in the long term.

What people don’t realise is that many overseas clinics offer cheap dental treatment and cheap implants because they are using cheap materials that often yield poor results. The implant systems they use may not even be approved for use in Australia.

Many overseas dental practitioners that offer such cheap treatments to patients are not under the control of Australian Dental rules and regulations. Potentially less than one out of three dentists in foreign countries providing cheap dentistry to Australians have passed the stringent tests or even come close to adhering to the high standards required of Australian dentists.

When it comes to infection control in dentistry, Australia has one of the highest standards in the world. Infection control requirements in overseas countries are less rigid. For procedures such as placing dental implants, the surgery requires strict infection control for the procedure to be successful.

Dental implants need to be conducted in a good amount of time, so as to allow each stage of treatment to settle before moving on to the next. Dental implants cannot be done professionally over a holiday period of 7 days. Implants need a time gap between the different stages of treatment, otherwise the patient may find that the work is placed in areas that have not been settled properly and may therefore fail. Fitting dental implants within a holiday schedule without allowing time will only increase the chances of complications and failure.

Another thing to consider is that patients treated within Australia can seek alternatives if they face any problems with their dental treatment. Most importantly, they will have an easy access to their dentist to resolve issues, and their rights are protected. The complications to health caused from dental implants obtained overseas are usually not covered by travel insurance and the repair may not be covered by Australian health funds.

After doing your research, if you decide to seek treatment overseas, you’ll be going it alone. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to get travel insurance, and with no clear avenues to complain if you aren’t happy with the work. There are definite risks, so we strongly recommended to choose your dentist carefully to avoid the risk of consequences of overseas dental treatment.

Dr Nidhi Berera

Dr Nidhi Berera enjoys working closely with her patients to give them the best smile possible. She is happy to discuss and identify your aesthetic dental goals and will guide you through all possible treatment options. With Dr Berera’s enthusiasm and expertise, she will ensure that your end result will be a beautiful new smile. Dr Berera works out of Sydney Cosmetic Sanctuary.

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