Seniors are now searching beyond our borders for their dental needs in an attempt to find the same quality dental care for significantly less than what they might find in…

dental tourism
Anca Pandrea / Flickr / CC BY

Why Seniors Love Dental Tourism

Seniors are now searching beyond our borders for their dental needs in an attempt to find the same quality dental care for significantly less than what they might find in the U.S. As healthcare costs continue to rise, there are many seniors who just can’t afford the dental care they need.

While there are pitfalls to dental tourism as we’ll talk about later, here are some of the benefits you might find.

Special procedures like dentures or implants are sometimes more affordable in countries like Mexico or Costa Rica. So why not schedule in a visit while you’re on vacation? You’ll not only cut your travel costs but you will cut your dental care as well. That has been the mindset for many who have taken part in dental tourism.

The vast majority of people who participate in dental tourism actually live close to one of our international borders. Those in Texas, California or Arizona can easily cross into Mexico, and those on the East Coast can get to Costa Rica for their cheaper dental care.

Top 5 Dental Tourism Destinations for 2013

  1. Spain. Known for their great dental services and low dental costs, Spain is one of the top dental destinations and has been for quite some time. Now, with Spain’s economy facing severe deflation, the cost of dental care has been pushed down even further, making their care even more affordable.
  2. Kevin Hutchinson / Flickr / CC BY

    Mexico. One of the closest locations to the United States with cheap dental care, Mexico is a top dental tourism choice for many Americans and Canadians. By taking a short drive south, you’ll be able to get your dental care taken care of at a reasonable price. Many seniors find that traveling to Mexico a couple of times to get fit for dentures is much cheaper than getting fit for and paying for them here. Some of the top locations in Mexico for dental tourism include: Cabo San Lucas, Cancun or Puerto Vallarta.

  3. Thailand. Thailand features some of the largest and most up-to-date dental hospitals in the world. There have been tens of thousands of patients who have been treated by the expert dentists of Thailand.
  4. Turkey. Another great vacationing spot for any tourist, Turkey has become a hot spot for dental tourism because it offers quality and affordable care with a fascinating culture to experience while you’re there.
  5. Czech Republic. Ever been to the Czech Republic? Maybe it’s time for a vacation and a dental appointment. You can receive your affordable dental care in the heart of Prague.

And while Costa Rica is not listed in the top five dental tourism destinations of 2013, it’s still one of the top destinations for Americans and Canadians. In Costa Rica, you receive treatment from American-trained dentists while also enjoying a wonderful vacation not too far from home.

i-to-i Meaningful Travel / Flickr / CC BY

If you’re interested in dental tourism, see Dental Departures. At Dental Departures website, you can type in a procedure and desired location into their search engine and it will bring up dental clinics in the area that have the best reviews. It’s important that you do this if you decide to participate in dental tourism because dental tourism does have its pitfalls.

Pitfalls of Dental Tourism

First, not all places will offer good dental care. Your dental care may be cheap upfront, but if they don’t use good practices, you’ll end up paying more overall than you did in the beginning. Receiving poor dental care could even go so far as landing you in the hospital. Second, in most situations, for seniors looking for dentures, Medicare, health insurance and dental insurance plans will not cover the cost unless the services are provided by a doctor who is licensed in the United States. However, regardless of what procedure you are going for, make sure you review your policy before venturing out to another country for your dental care.

See our last post on Dental Tourism for more information on these tourist destinations—both good and bad. You’ll find that we, personally, recommend a discount dental plan over dental tourism as we believe it will save you both time and money.

Natasha is 1Dental’s managing editor and copywriter, focusing content on dental and health news, advice and tips straight from the experts. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and has since been a book editor and now copywriter and managing editor on dental and health. You can find her on Twitter and all of 1Dental’s social networks.

4 Comments
  1. I found that the process of organising medical travel was more effort than it was worth when I was looking for dental treatment. It’s hard to gather sufficient information before making such a big commitment – you never know enough about the clinic or procedures, or the location.

    However it is more than worth it when you look at the price comparisons, plus the fact you can combine it with a vacation. Eventually I found dental work back home but I am considering revisiting the idea of dental tourism for my next trip. I’ve found sites like whatclinic to be a great resource and there are now even sites like Medigo that act as a third party. Ultimately it comes down to doing enough research to know that you are making the right decision.

    • Thank you for sharing your personal experience with dental tourism. It’s great to hear more feedback on this trend!

  2. There are so many destinations to go for medical and dental tourism. Thank you for this article. I was looking on list of destinations on Wikipedia and there are so many to choose from: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_tourism#Destinations
    Now I have two candidates: Czech republic and Slovakia. I was looking at several clinics – their services, and they’re are quite good too: medprestige.eu/services/ If you have any experience with local clinics in these countries, please share. Thank you

  3. Dental tourism is not for everyone, in case of major dental treatment, like full mouth makeover, getting outside the country is a practical decision which will allow you to cut costs and enjoy visiting new countries at the same time. Today medical tourism is becoming a common solution to different healthcare needs, with the skyrocketing cost of dental treatment in the US and other western countries, going abroad is now a common choice.

    For people who are considering a treatment in other countries, I recommend doing your research and making your choices beforehand, get recommendations, ask around on the forums, look at experience, how long the dentist has been operating, credentials, what his/her specialty is etc. Don’t just go down, walk into the first office you see and hope to get nice results on major dental services.

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