While many countries have serious issues with primary health care systems resulting in their residents traveling to other countries for essential services, there remains even more people in need of dental health care. Even in countries where health care is covered, dental is generally not included, so extended insurance plans are required. But many individuals and families do not have access to these plans and as such, dental healthcare tourism is quite prevalent.
Further, traveling to obtain dental services is done for several reasons. Some seek treatments in the US or Canada because they believe the level of care to be superior to their own countries. Others leave the US and Canada to go abroad primarily because of cost. Since oral surgery is not approved surgery under medical insurance plans, patients opt to book dental operations in countries such as Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, Columbia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Panama, Poland, South Africa, and Turkey.
Apparently, according to various booking agents who arrange dental health care trips, Thailand is among the most popular dental heathcare tourism destination. Panama is one of the oldest countries that has encouraged and welcomed foreigners to their state-of-the-art dental hospitals. But the most desirable location is Costa Rica with its superior care (documented to have the best health care system in Latin America), considerably cheap prices (quotes indicate that dental surgeries are fifty to seventy-five percent cheaper than the US), and the fact that the country is an oasis of eco-tourism.
Moreover, dental healthcare tourism does not only include surgery, but also the healing of a range of chronic dental problems and oral diseases. Treatment may be of a cosmetic nature or medical necessity. Some of the procedures offered are dental implants, dentures, root canals, bridges, crowns, periodontal disease treatments, teeth whitening, and braces.
Choosing a dental provider in another country will be a little more difficult, but with the help of medical concierges, it should lessen the load. Factors such as the credentials of the doctor and staff, ease of travel, availability of flights, length of stay required, and personal documents needed should be investigated before making a decision. In addition, patients should take into account where they might prefer to travel, and also whether the country is safe or in political and social unrest. Obviously budget is going to factor into the decision, as the prices may vary.
Services of the booking agent may also vary so it is a good idea to understand what is included in the package price being offered, but generally speaking, the facilities and doctors are pre-screened. In fact, most of the larger companies that book dental health care trips have actually visited the sites. Every leg of the journey is usually scheduled with someone greeting patients at the airport, arranging meetings with the doctor, and making reservations for hotel accommodations for the period of recovery. Then, when the stay is complete, returning the patient to the airport to travel home.
Finally, depending on the patient's condition and the extent to which he/she can move about, tours of the country may be planned and a vacation might be incorporated into the visit.
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