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Four Tips If You Plan To Get Your Dental Work Done Abroad
by Ramon Duran, DMD

High on Adventure, July 2018


You’ve heard of vacations spoiled by a terrible toothache. Now more Americans are actually taking a vacation to get dental work done outside the states.   

“Dental tourism” has been trending in recent years, with numerous news outlets reporting that almost half a million Americans annually seek dental care outside the U.S.

  Clip art dentist and patient  

Most are trying to save money. Major dental work is often expensive in the U.S., and - according to various estimates - anywhere from 75 million to 114 million Americans have no dental insurance. Medical publisher Patients Beyond Borders estimates that visiting a dentist in another country can save Americans over 70 percent on procedures such as crowns and root canals. While the savings is appealing, “finding the right quality dentist outside the U.S. requires thorough preparation,” says Dr. Ramon Duran (www.drramonduran.com), a dentist in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and author of Your Best Smile…For a Lifetime: Achieving Your Optimal Health.

“The reality is that many thousands of Americans are looking for dentistry in places they don’t know outside the country, and the main reason they do it is with some procedures they can save 50 percent or more from what it would have cost in the U.S.,” Duran says.

  Clip art of missing tooth   “It would be ideal if you could find a dentist at a convenient location in the U.S. with whom you could get the dentistry you need done properly, but more than that, a dentist you could establish a long-term relationship with. But if you choose to go outside the U.S., there are things to consider to help you make the best decision.  You have a lot to learn not only about the dentist but post-treatment considerations as well.”  

Duran has four tips for anyone seeking dental care abroad:

• Do extensive research on dentists. For most destinations, Google searches bring up numerous dentistry sites. Websites such as WhatClinic.com provide client reviews. PatientsBeyondBorders.com only admits clinics that have passed a stringent vetting process, including U.S. board certification and patient referrals. “This would be a more intensive kind of research than any kind of search for a dentist you would do locally,” Duran says. “Look at the dentist’s website, their affiliations, their training, testimonials, reviews, everything.”

• Research the procedure you’re having done. “Try to understand as much as possible the procedure you’re going to undergo,” Duran says. “It will help you know what questions to ask the new dentist. One example would be knowing the type of implant or crowns and the top brands. Know what that dentist uses; is it top quality? That’s important, too, if there are issues later; repairs or follow up may easily be facilitated in the states when you know the materials, sizes, etc., that were used.”

• Set up a video meeting or call. “You don’t want to just rely on your initial research,” Duran says. “When you’re establishing a relationship with a new dentist out of the country, it’s important to build trust and for the patient to look at the dentist as their mentor, coach and personal trainer when it comes to their oral health.”

• Research your dental legal rights in that country. “What are your rights if something goes wrong, and what are the entities that regulate dentistry in that country?” Duran says. “Do you have recourse? We have seen horror stories. It can get very complicated outside the U.S.”

  “Dental tourism can be really attractive for the average American, but you have to do your due diligence,” Duran says. “Given how many are doing it, they are finding who they think is the right dentist for the type of procedure they need done.”   Clip art of happy tooth  

About Dr. Ramon Durán

Dr. Ramon Duran, DMD (www.drramonduran.com), is a dentist based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a public speaker and author of Your Best Smile…For a Lifetime: Achieving Your Optimal Health. Dr. Duran is part of just 10 percent of dental professionals in the U.S. who practice the concept of complete dentistry, helping patients to identify potential problems before further damage can occur. He is a former faculty member of the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Puerto Rico, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Puerto Rico School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Duran also is a graduate of The Dawson Academy, a world-renowned continuing education institution for dentists.

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