A new report from ABC Eyewitness News shows that the number of Americans heading overseas to seek out more affordable dental care continues to increase. The report focuses on a young American woman who, after being told it would cost her nearly $70,000 for a full mouth restoration that would give her back a great looking smile, decided to look around for other options. What she found was UCLA-trained dentist Alberto Menza, a cosmetic dentist operating out of Costa Rica. He offered to complete the same procedure for the woman for only $20,000.
Rising Costs, Lack of Insurance Leave Many Feeling They Have No Choice
This story is not what you’d call unique. As the economy continues to stand on shaky legs and the cost of many dental procedures continue to climb at an astounding rate, many Americans feel they have no other option but to take drastic measures to get the care they need.
The issue is compounded by the lack of access to or the lack of affordability of dental healthcare insurance in the States. According to a report from The Washington Post, as many as 85 million Americans are without dental insurance that would grant them coverage for teeth cleanings, cavity fillings, and other procedures that are necessary for maintaining good oral health. With many American businesses not offering great dental coverage as part of employees’ benefits packages, workers are left to find private insurance; that, for many, is just too expensive to consider.
Trips Abroad May Save Money, but Do They Guarantee the Same Level of Care?
It’s not as though dentists in the United States are unaware of the problem. In a piece for Huffington Post, Thomas P. Connelly, DDS, himself a New York City-based cosmetic dentist, writes that those in the industry know full well that American dental care carries a heavier price-tag than many other places across the world. However, he warns, Americans make the trade for less expensive procedures at their own peril.
“Foreign dental work may be cheaper and faster than in the United States so it is very tempting. But the standards in the United States are much higher than those in foreign countries.” – Dr. Ron Receveur, DDS of NewAlbanyImlants.com
The costs of dental care in the United States, Connelly argues, are necessitated by the demand for the highest possible care. American dentists are held to higher educational standards than other countries, and are further expected to operate along certain ethical guidelines. Most clinics in the U.S. keep X-ray equipment and other expensive hardware onsite, granting clients convenience. All of this taken in concert with the costs of personnel and mandated malpractice insurance means that Americans can really only find the best dental care in the States. That care costs.
Have you ever gone overseas to have dental work done? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below!