As odd as it sounds, there are more and more people traveling abroad for major medical treatments. Why? Well, basically to save money. There is a perceived financial savings to be had by going to India, Thailand, or Hungary for major surgery, especially for cosmetic surgery and other surgery not covered by traditional insurance. Hard to beleive, but this trend may be spreading to Dentistry. Now, I know there are many skilled dentists throughout the world. I personally know many great dentists outside the United States. Who knows what the future holds with the continuing internationalization of our world? We should be prepared for anything. It is perhaps more likely that, with the shortage of dental school faculty and dental school graduates, any shortage of dentists here would open up the doorway to more internationally trained dentist to come here to the USA. Who knows?
I have to say, however, that I do not think this trend of traveling overseas will affect Pediatric Dentistry or Orthodontics. Orthodontic treatment takes many visits over a long period of time, therefore, no cost savings. With Pediatric Dentistry, the majority of procedures are small low cost treatments, not big dollar surgeries. It is simply not worth it to travel for the treatment required. In addition, what makes our profession special is the time we take to build relationships and the personal nature of dentistry itself.
Finally, the risks people often take themselves are not the ones to which they would choose to expose their children.