Foreign Travel for Dental Care

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Many of Dr Timmerman’s patients spend time south during the cold part of the year and return for the beautiful Seattle summers. In an effort to be frugal, sometimes they go “south of the border” for more involved dental care, assuming the quality is the same but at a discount. Honestly, if a person can get the same thing for less money they would be foolish not to.

However, more often than not, they get what they paid for. Many will beam with pride on what top quality dentistry was performed, but all they truly can report on is how they look and feel. Without a dental education, patients are not qualified to critique the quality.

How things FEEL is not a very good indicator for quality or health. Like high blood pressure, people often feel fine when in fact they are at high risk for stroke or heart attack. Often radiographic (x-ray) examination will reveal very poor quality dental work, yet everything may FEEL great. The long term prognosis may be catastrophic while the short term situation feels fine.

Insurance companies usually have no benefits for foreign providers, and should something go wrong there is no recourse.

This is not to say foreign dentists are not capable. Far from it, as there have been SOME cases that look great (in fact, not all American dentists are wonderful too). But there ARE certain standards that are regulated here that are not elsewhere. Infection control is a gamble outside our borders sometimes.

By all means, patients should do what they feel is best for them and their family. But they should do so in an informed manner and not be upset if they find out their gamble did not pay off.

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