When my dentist needs a new car, he just calls me up to remind me that I need to get my veneers done. Just kidding – or mostly kidding, it does cost an arm and a leg to get veneers done. So here’s my story. I have pretty healthy and well-maintained teeth. But my smile sucks. Because when I was a kid I was in a place where there was fluoride in the water and now I have brown stains on my teeth which make me look like I smoke 20 packs a day. Also, my teeth are not aligned straight. And did I mention I have overcrowding of teeth? One day when I finally had good dental coverage and a heart of steel, I went to my dentist and asked him what it would take to fix my smile. A little of this and a little of that. Meaning to say, he’d take out at least 3 teeth to deal with overcrowding, move my teeth by putting in braces for 2 years, make sure all gaps are filled, then he’d put veneers on. It would cost me thousands – with insurance. After I had an attack of palpitations right there, I agreed to spend $60 for cleaning and come back later to discuss the rest. I never went back, and my smile is what it is.
Fast forward a couple of years and I found out about the Land of Smiles – Thailand. That, by the way, is the name given to the country because folks there are always smiling, not because there is excellent dental work available at a very reasonable cost. Though in my opinion the epithet would be apt either way. Going to the dentist is one of the most dreaded tasks for any sane person and putting myself in the hands of foreign dentist miles away from home didn’t exactly make me feel warm and fuzzy. I shrank from the pain, the possibility of a procedure gone wrong needing rework, I had images of an anxiety filled experience. The reality couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you decide to get dental work done in Thailand prepare for a courteous, worry free experience. I’m not going to lie and tell you that a root canal won’t hurt. But then it’ll hurt with your local dentist too. In Thailand though, it’ll only cost you way less and the rest of your experience will be fantastic. You will be treated in time by a well-qualified dentist who will explain the procedure to you, tell you what to expect and then do the procedure flawlessly.
The costs are the most attractive thing about dental tourism in Thailand. The best part is that they tell you all the costs upfront. There are no hidden expenses unlike here at home where sometimes they waffle on about the costs and you don’t have a clear idea. To give a price comparison, a root canal in Australia can cost you around $3000, the same in Thailand is approximately $200. Dental implants can cost you $2000-$4000 per tooth, in Thailand the same costs $400 per tooth. Costs may vary slightly but on an average you get over 60% savings. Even if you factor in cost of travel and accommodation, you are much better off considering Thailand for your dental work. For some people, given the high costs of dental care in Australia, dental tourism is the only way they can actually afford getting work done.
Words of caution – in the interest of getting maximum savings, don’t go seeking the cheapest provider in Thailand. There are several hole-in-the-wall places sprouting up with dodgy practitioners in Thailand, and if you choose by price alone you may end with poor dental work not to mention a lot of pain. Choose accredited, well-known dental clinics. Look up the credentials of the practicing dentists and look for recommendations and reviews. A clinic with a large number of positive reviews is always a good bet. Coming back to my story, I do think I’ll pack my bag, grit my teeth, take those days off and get to Thailand to get my perfect smile. Maybe I’ll see you while I’m there?