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Dr. Edwards' Blog

"Dental Vacations" Increasing - Jan. 22, 2015

When you plan a vacation, you might think of going somewhere to relax and recharge.  It's doubtful you'd think of leaving the country to go to the dentist.  But more people are doing exactly that. 

Many patients are stuck with huge out-of-pocket expenses because insurance companies have stopped paying like they used to.  Patients are actually traveling to other counties in search of cheaper dental care.  

Patients Beyond Borders, a medical travel organization, reports Americans can save as much as 20% to 30% in Brazil and 40% to 60% in Mexico or Costa Rica.  But it warns that price and quality are two very separate matters.

Take for example the experience of a woman in Florida.  Priscilla Hagle says she did her research and found a dentist in Mexico who she thought would be very good.  That was not the case.  "I had four root canals done in Mexico and I've lost three of those four teeth," said Hagle.  Whatever money she saved she later had to spend on getting quality restorations done at home.

The American Dental Association acknowledges the existence of dental tourism but says its members follow an ethical obligation to treat patients who received treatment outside the U.S. in the same manner they would treat patients who are transferring their care from another practice.  The ADA advises potential dental vacationers to do their homework and look for board-certified or accredited dentists to avoid possible problems.

We'll just have to wait to see whether dental vacations are a rising trend or just a passing fad.


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