IDA Position on Dental Tourism
In response to recent media coverage, the Association has stated its position on dental tourism and warned of the dangers associated with travelling abroad for dental treatment.
We are not aware of an increased interest in dental care abroad though it is possible that this notion is being promoted by commercial interests who are seeking to generate business.
Dental tourism, like medical tourism generally, is a fact of life in every developed country, and some people travel to Ireland for specialist dental work.
The Irish Dental Association is concerned about the results many Irish persons have experienced where they have chosen to travel for dental care in other countries and urges people to discuss their oral health with a dentist at home first before making any decisions on their dental care.
We need to encourage people who may be travelling abroad to focus on the quality of work they receive, and whether that work is really necessary, not just the price of that work. What happens if something goes wrong and is there, for example, an easy form of redress available as is the case here in Ireland where dentists are obliged to provide a complaints service directly or via the Dental Complaints Resolution Service (www.dentalcomplaints.ie) which providers an invaluable service here in Ireland?
The Dental Complaints Resolution Service has helped to assist with the resolution of over 1,000 dental complaints in Ireland during the first ten years of its existence. The Service is provided free of charge and offers a quick means of redress as an alternative to costly and time-consuming litigation through the courts.
We would also encourage those considering travel abroad to review the very helpful guidance produced by the Dental Council, the regulatory charged with protecting patients in receipt of dental care (click here to view a copy of the Dental Council’s guidance on Choosing a Dentist).
More than three out of four Irish dentists had treated patients for problems arising from treatment they received abroad, according to a survey we conducted in 2009.
Of 440 dentists questioned in the 2009 survey, 76 per cent said that over the past 12 months they had seen patients who underwent cheaper procedures overseas.
Common problems included too much dental work being done over too short a time frame, unnecessary work being done and poor materials being used by dentists abroad.
Patients need to be more discerning when considering travelling abroad for treatment.
For more on the High Cost of Cut-Price Dentistry click here