Not all sunshine and smiles

Dental tourism is a common term these days for people seeking to combine an overseas holiday with seemingly cheaper dental options. But what you save in the short term may quickly be lost if things go wrong.

“When seeing an overseas dentist, there can be a lot of unknowns including their level of training and the quality of materials used. Sometimes it can mean if work needs to be redone in Australia it can be more complicated as we don’t know exactly what has been used previously,” says Richmond Fine Dentistry’s, Dr Matthew Burke.

The Australian Dental Association heavily regulates the materials, tools and qualifications of your local dentist. Strict quality control measures are there to protect you, meaning you’ll receive hygienic care from a highly trained professional with products and materials that have been tested and pass Australian standards.

In developing countries, standards such as infection control and water quality are not as strictly regulated. You wouldn’t drink the tap water, but do you know where the water is coming from that is being used to rinse your mouth? Recent reports from the Australian Dental Association are indicating that antibiotic resistant ‘superbugs’ are appearing more and more in people returning from overseas clinics.

The holiday mood quickly changes if you’re left nursing a nasty infection rather than sipping cocktails poolside. Also, before you book that holiday with a dental drive by, check your health fund. Some health funds will not cover dental expenses if it relates to prior work done overseas, in which case you could find yourself paying a lot more than you bargained for.