Monday, February 19, 2007

Traveling Overseas for Dentistry?

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.


Anonymous said...

Hello, and thank you for the opportunity to ask questions. My question is about space maintainer (sorry, it is in the wrong space, but that article is "disabled" to allow comments). My 7-year-old daughter had one put in a week ago - bilateral, on the top, with a plastic button. It leaves marks on her tongue with its wires, and I'm worried that for two years ahead it might be pressing on a spot that could be connected to some internal organ. I'm sure that we are made complicated enough for this to be possible. She had a unilateral to do the job, and she only needs it on one side, but our new dentist said he doesn't like those. Well, this one looks too intrusive and unnessesarry to me. Should I ask him to put the old one back? And yes, some of the people that immigrated from Russia go back home to fix teeth because it turns out to be cheaper, plus of course, they get to visit. Thanks again, Elena

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

See my post on Space Maintainers

I know they seem weird, but I have seen very little problems with "Nance" type space maintainers.

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

A Nance spacer is quite stable. I put one in last week. Need to keep them reasonably clean, but they do a good job and can last longet than some unilateral ones. Each case is different. The palate is some tough tissue. I have only had problems if they become damaged somehow..the other ones can get damaged too. Ask your dentist about your situation, but Nance spacers--(the ones with the little button) are quite useful.

Dr. Dean Brandon said...

I do not endorse this place, but if you don't believe me that there are places like this, here is a place in India that does dentistry as a tourism thing:

Dental Tourism India