A reported 10,000 Australians are heading overseas for discounted dental work each year, but less stringent infection control standards and rushed work could mean patients end up paying more to repair substandard work upon their return home.
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) fears people seeking cheap dental work in Asia are falling victim to under-qualified, unsafe practitioners. ADA Federal Councillor Leonard Crocombe says while some of the dental work may initially appear satisfactory patients are likely to experience trouble in the long-term. “It can be six months, 12 months after the treatment has been done, long after they’ve left the facilities and then things flare up on them,” he says. “It usually occurs when they have a large amount of treatment that needs to be done, so we are talking about crowns, bridges, whole mouth reconstructions,” Crocombe says.
The ADA is concerned many of the dentists bargain hunters are visiting would not make the cut in Australia. To practise in Australia, dentists need to pass rigorous tests and Australian standards for specialisation are amongst the highest in the world. Although most overseas dental practices claim that their dentists are specialists, they are recognised as specialists only in accordance with the requirements of the country in which they are practising. “At the moment about one third of dentists from overseas countries pass those examinations,” Crocombe says.
To learn more about the pitfalls of dental tourism click here or watch the video below.