Is Medical Tourism A Good Idea When You Need Dental Implants?
It's no secret that medical and dental work in the United States can be pricey. Many patients go abroad, even if only to a Mexican border city like Tijuana, for cheaper treatment. For advanced procedures like getting dental implants, the reduced costs can seem very tempting, especially if you have no insurance. However, medical tourism is not all it's cracked up to be. You may want to stay right here at home if you need a procedure like dental implants. Here are some things you should consider.
The one area where medical tourism might win is when it comes to the basic costs. If you don't have insurance and can't find a discount or payment plan for your implants, the basic costs for the procedure in another country like Mexico sound very good. However, once you get past the initial love of those lower prices, you have to realize that those are the costs of just the procedure and the materials. You still have travel and lodging costs that need to be considered.
In addition to the costs of travel and lodging, you have to take travel time into account. There's travel to and from the country plus the time you have to spend away from work to recover enough to travel home. If you have to go back for another stage of the procedure, such as having a crown added to the implant in a traditional two-step process, your costs and time for travel and lodging double.
If there are problems, it will be hard to have the original dentist look at the implant. Should something go wrong with the implant, you could go to your dentist here in the United States. However, that U.S. dentist won't know exactly what happened during the procedure. That doesn't mean he or she won't be able to fix the problem, but it may take longer to figure out what happened.
You'll have two insurance concerns regarding going overseas for treatment. One is that your dental insurance here, if you have it, likely won't pay for overseas treatment unless the plan specifically lists it as an option in its brochure. The other issue is that, if something goes really wrong and you need regular medical attention while you are out of the states, your health insurance might not fully cover the treatment depending on what your policy says.
If your dentist here does something that causes you harm, you can report it to one of a few agencies in your state and in the country. However, if you go abroad for treatment, you really won't have a lot of recourse should the dentist make an error.
For better protection and better timing, you are better off working with your dentist here in the United States. Don't let the initial costs make you think treatment here isn't worth it. For more information, talk to a dental implant specialist in your area.