April 29, 2015 by Amanda Duffy
Choosing a dental destination and clinic abroad can seem a bit like shopping on the clearance rail – the discount prices and the choices are overwhelming – and you’re not sure if it’s really for you anyway. Our simple tips will show you how to find a good dentist abroad, ensuring you always pick the cream of the crop.
1. Know about your Dental Case
This is one of the most important things you shouldn’t overlook. How many implants or crowns do you need? If you’re having a root canal do you need a crown as well?
If you’re unsure of what needs doing, a consultation with a dentist at home can provide you with a treatment outline, as well as x-rays, and a cost estimate. The cost estimate is useful for making comparisons with dentists abroad, the treatment outline will tell you what needs to be done, and the x-rays (usually digital these days) can be sent to your choice of dental clinics in advance. They can confirm treatment options and prices (subject to an examination) before you even get there. This way, there are no surprises.
2. Do I need a general or specialist dentist?
Not everybody needs a specialist – the majority of everyday dental work, including fillings, crowns, veneers, dentures and laser teeth whitening are performed by general dentists.
However, if you are looking at, for example, dental implants, braces or root canals, then you may want to see a dentist who has qualifications and expertise in that particular area. This is where knowing about your case is helpful. For instance, if you have a history of gum disease then seeing a gum disease specialist (periodontist) could be a priority for you.
3. Check out Dentist Qualifications, Experience and Professional Memberships
The obvious starting point once you have decided on what dental work you are having done is to find a dentist who can do the job competently and reliably. Assessing qualifications, experience and professional memberships is a must.
Dentist training may differ slightly from country to country, but, in general, the criteria to obtain qualifications is high. Standards are becoming homogenized as cross-border training and the speed at which information is disseminated brings best practices and new techniques to every corner of the globe.
Dentists who work with international patients tend to ensure their qualifications are recognizable to foreigners. This means they have membership of both their own country’s professional organization as well as a Western one. For example, many of our dentists in Mexico are also members of the American Dental Association. They may also be members of specialist international organizations, such as the International Congress of oral Implantologists.
As far as experience is concerned, if in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Inquire how many dental implant procedures a dentist has carried out, or how many years they have been performing root canals. It’s your health, after all – and you need to be comfortable about any decisions you make regarding it.
4. Look for Recommendations and Testimonials
Recommendations and reviews from past patients, taken in conjunction with your other research, can certainly help build a picture of your dentist’s reliability. However, you should bear in mind that just because a dentist has rave reviews for one area of dentistry that they are any good in another. Again, this is where knowing about your particular case will help you find what you’re looking for
Reviews come from all sorts of sources, and it is worth checking as many as you can. Dental Departures publishes all patient reviews, without editing – both the good, and the bad. While none of us like to have bad reviews, sometimes things do go awry and rather than brush things under the carpet, they are an opportunity for us to try and put things right. We are committed to fantastic customer service and are proud to maintain our 5* reviews on Feefo and Review Centre.
5. Be realistic about the time it takes
Reputable dentists will not sacrifice quality for speed, but there are unethical ones who will. You will do well to ensure you have enough time so that all your work is carried out in an unhurried manner – that way no corners will be cut, and your dental work is much more likely to stand the test of time.
6. What about Hygiene, Safety, Equipment and Materials?
For anybody who hasn’t experienced dental tourism this is, after dentist training, one of the areas that produces most concern to patients. Despite the fact that many thousands upon thousands travel abroad and have safe, reliable dental care, the newspaper headlines always publicize the few that have a bad experience. These are also likely to emphasize inadequate or sub-standard facilities and safety protocols, leaving anyone with the impression that clinics overseas are all generally lacking in the basics.
This may have had a ring of truth in it if we’re talking about decades ago, but the picture is very different nowadays. Modern clinics are as good as any in the West, with universal hygiene and safety procedures the norm. Many clinics overseas are International Standards Organization (ISO) accredited, and the latest equipment and materials from branded manufacturers are just as likely to be used by dentists abroad as they are by dentists at home.
In fact, some dental clinics, in Thailand, for example, have facilities that are way beyond what your dentist at home provides with spa treatments, restaurants and even on-site boutique hotels offering an all-encompassing experience designed to offer the ultimate in convenience and customer-focused services.
7. Where should I go?
The simple answer to this is anywhere that takes your fancy. We have more than 4,000 great quality dentists and clinics in 33 countries across the globe – from popular beach resorts to exciting cities and everything in between. Check out our listings and start organizing your dental trip today.