Dental Tourism Vs. Local Dentist

With healthcare costs constantly on the rise, many Americans seek cheaper, less-regulated dental care elsewhere. Although dental care abroad may be more affordable, it can also pose many health risks to your oral and overall health. At our practice, we take pride in providing our patients with the utmost dental care they deserve! Learn more about dental tourism and why sticking with your local practitioner is safest for you.


Dental tourism is a branch of medical tourism that has been increasing over the last decade. According to data provided by the company Dental Tourist, the industry is expanding by 15% annually across Europe.

Dental tourism is a widespread practice where people visit other countries or states within the same country for dental care. Usually, the tourist
may combine his dental care appointment with the tourist experience in his destination.

For instance, a person in the U.S. can decide to get dental care in the Bahamas while also exploring the tourist attractions in the country.

The dental procedures for which individuals travel can vary just as the destinations vary. While some may seek complex services such as bridges, implants, and cosmetic dentistry operations, some only require root canal therapy or a tooth filling.


The risks of dental tourism include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Risk of contracting disease through traveling significantly increases
  • Dental procedures often require multiple trips, making dental tourism less conducive and efficient
  • In the event of implant failure or infection, dental tourism is not ideal
  • Visiting local dentists to further, correct or complete the work received elsewhere is often very difficult and costly
  • Dental insurance coverage is not likely to be present in other countries
  • Common risks of traveling, security threats, etc.


The following are some of the most important reasons why people choose dental tourism over local dentists:

Low-cost Dental Treatment:

Data shows that even with insurance, the cost of dental care in the United States can be prohibitively high. A recent survey by the American
Dentists Association shows that over 40% of Americans don’t visit dentists as often as they should. Interestingly, many of them identified cost as their top reason.

For people in this category, dental tourism can be a cheaper alternative. Even when airfare, meals, accommodation, and other incidentals are included in the dental expense, dental tourists still wind up spending less money in another country.

According to an article by the Washington Post, dental tourists can save up to 18% on dental care. These savings include dental work and travel costs.

According to the findings of the Ontario Academy of General Dentistry, the savings from procedures alone might range anywhere from 40 to 75 per cent.
The cost of dental care in other countries is typically lower in these countries for the following reasons:

  • Reduced living costs result in cheaper labor and office space costs.
  • Lower cost of medical malpractice insurance or total exemption in these countries.
  • Dentists in tourist countries typically have far lower levels of outstanding student loan debt.

Why Dental Tourism Is Not The Best Option

Dental tourism may be a less expensive alternative to dental care; however, it may not be the best option for treatment. There are possible disadvantages and even risks linked with traveling for dental operations. The following are some of them:

Language Barriers

The most common problem with dental tourism is language issues. If your dentist in a foreign nation speaks little or no English and you do not speak their language, miscommunications that could be serious may occur. So, ensure you verify the languages spoken before you move.

Dental Standards

Standards for overseas dental practices may differ from U.S. standards. Dental care standards refer to the procedures of practice in the country. An important example is the infection control guidelines, which explain how dentists should prevent spreading infections. Usually, this might vary substantially by country. To ensure safety, consult the Organization for Safety, Asepsis, and Prevention (OSAP) for travel-related information and checklists.

Dental Care Continuity

If you receive dental care abroad, the dentist may not know your dental history. When you return home, your regular dentist may not be aware of the therapy you underwent or its purpose. These issues may cause problems for you later on. To avoid issues like this, you should send your dental records to your overseas dental office. Also, send your international records to your local dentist for adequate follow-up.

Concerns Within Particular Countries

Not all countries are safe. While some have medical concerns, others may have security issues that may not allow you to travel. So, before your trip, consult the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for information on required vaccinations, safe travel advice, and health alerts for dental tourism destinations. Upon arrival, consult the U.S. Department of State website for travel warnings and U.S. contacts.