Dental Tourism

Yes, that is a thing. When I was in my residency program in NYC I saw a lot of dental work from other countries. Some clinically acceptable but most standard not met! (Terms used in dental school when they were torturing us by making us redo our work.)

I felt terrible for these individuals. They just spent time and money in their home countries getting dental work completed that has now been deemed a failure. Some patients even show up with active infections under their new dental work. It is heartbreaking to be the informer in these situations.

In the last week I have had two patients say they are going to other countries to have their remaining dental work completed. I give all of the possible consequences but it is your health and your choice.

Luckily, this is not a normal conversation in Cincinnati. I mean, where else are you going to go for your dental work? Kentucky? Indiana? I think not! Have you seen their teeth? 😉

In all seriousness, this is a real issue in medicine for our southern states. A colleague at a meeting told me she is aware of a non dentist working out of a van in Miami - there are patients keeping him in business!  Questions I have for patients are the following:

  • Who will manage follow up care?
  • Who will manage the failures?
  • Who is going to take care of the comprehensive care? Just because a band-aide is placed in one area does not mean that everything is fixed.
  • Do you trust this practitioner? Do you have a relationship with them?

I am all for competition in the marketplace but I don’t think I am willing to risk my health for a deal quite yet. Are you?

- Dr. Ruchika Khetarpal

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