Medical Tourism?

Old Apr 20th, 2005, 05:14 AM
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Medical Tourism?

My husband and I have just been given an incredibly expensive estimate from our dentist. Clark Howard suggests travel abroad (india, eastern europe, etc.) for excellent care at a fraction of U.S. prices. Naturally, we are hesitant and wondering if anyone out there has had experience with this or any knowledge to share? We've found a little information on India but were hoping for some positive feedback about S. America or somewhere a little closer to home. Any info - good or bad - would be greatly appreciated! Thanks very much.....
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 05:25 AM
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I did a market research report on this a while ago. It's true, many Europeans will go to places like the Czech Republic or Hungary for treatment...many of their dentists were trained in Germany and are quite good.
Nonetheless, I wouldn't recommend it. You'll be going a long way for a procedure and if you develop post-procedure problems or infections, you could end up losing money in the long run. You also have the trip costs to consider.
There are some high volume dental clinics in one of the Carolinas (South Carolina, I think) that do certain procedures at a lower cost. I know my parents drove up from Florida for some dental work that would have been much more expensive for them at home. They were satisfied with the treatment and long term results. I can get you the name of the clinic if you like.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 06:00 AM
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Frommer's Budget Traveler magazine did a story about the clinics in Hungary a couple of years ago.You may want to contact them for a reprint.It sounded like a viable option to me.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 06:08 AM
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Take a good look at your travel insurance. I didn't closely examine this issue, but it seemed to me on cursory reading that any sort of medical tourism would invalidate it - not only because the sought-out procedure is not paid for, of course, but any other sort of medical coverage is invalid. And a medical emergency can readily occur, even if you are just getting a simple procedure.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 07:50 AM
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What kind of dental procesures are you needing ... crowns, bridgework, implants? And how much is it estimated to cost? I have a ton of dental work I need to do and am interested in the possiblity myself. Thanks
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 08:39 AM
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Thanks for all your replies. We do not have any dental insurance - so that wouldn't be an issue. And, most of our work would be fillings, crowns and possibly braces so it wouldn't require surgery of any kind. India is supposed to have amazing facilites and docs. Not sure we'd want to travel so far for dental work though. Thanks again for the info - any other thoughts, opinions are appreciated!
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 08:42 AM
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My coworker travels to that South Carolina clinic for bridges and dentures (she and her husband).
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 08:53 AM
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Hi flcrickets, if you cannot get to S Carolina for the dental clinic have you asked your dentist about dental schools? It seems to me that one can get work done at dental schools at a lot lower rate and the dental work is closly supervised. At least that was true years ago. I know that SF had a dental school where patients could go to. Good luck with your venture. Dental work is certainly expensive.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 09:03 AM
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BTilke - I would love the name of the clinic in S.C. - - Thank You!
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 09:25 AM
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I know Hungary is known for this and I remember seeing all kinds of dental signs advertising when I was there.

I think this is highly risky and don't really see how you could save money after paying for the air fares and rest of the stay. I wouldn't go to a dentist I didn't know or have a good recommendation on for such important procedures, for one thing. Second, if the cost is so expensive because you need so much, that means you would have to stay there for quite a while, which is why I don't see how it could save money. Last time I got a crown, for example, I think the total time from first visit to final seating of it was about 3 weeks. Maybe they have some rush jobs there or something if they cater to this business. However, you need followup care if something goes wrong, and for braces you have constant followup. If that much work is needed (and fillings are not exactly optional, I don't see how you can be waiting for them or you can permanently destroy your teeth with decay), you teeth must be in very bad condition and possibly also oral health, in which case I would worry even more about followup and quality of care and products.

A botched root canal or crown is not fun, I know people who have had them.

Anyway, I would pursue Europe because South America isn't really that close, at least not to much of it. The air time to Buenos Aires, for example, is about 10-12 hours.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 09:44 AM
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I know we're talking 'dental' here, but last year I saw a show about people (mostly from England) going over to Hungary for cosmetic procedures, and the botched work that was done. Often, it seemed the 'price' was the priority rather than references or researching other patients' results first. It was very sad.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 09:45 AM
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Before this goes any farther, are you willing to disclose just how much money "incredibly expensive" actually entails? Hopefully you aren't going to spend a small fortune in order to save a dime.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 09:48 AM
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flcrickets, I understand you don't have dental insurance, but my concern is if you have a medical emergency or complication while getting a dental procedure overseas. These do happen, and with no medical insurance coverage, because travel medical insurance specifically excludes complications that arise from this sort of tourism, that could be quite problematic.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 10:08 AM
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If you are having dental or cosmetic work donme there are plenty of places to have it done cheaper yet good. In Asia it is very very big business, I had a lot of dental work done in Bangkok and it was superb in addition to being so cheap, of course it's a long way to go but depends where you are traveling 'from'. Many of the dentists have been trained at the world's top places so you are getting the same level of expertise at a fraction of the cost. Sure you may see some bad report on some work done in Eastern Europe but you can probably see the same reports from 'home'. If you stick to the top practitioners in the place you go and especially for dental if it is an established major dental hospital you should be fine.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 10:14 AM
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Hi flcrickets, I have read all the post with great interest and agree with everyone that feels that the money you would spend to go "somewhere" for extensive dental work, the time it would take (my neighbor is in the process of getting a bridge and this is taking over 6 weeks) and the problems you would have if you have complictions from the dental work are all valid thoughts.

Also, just as a point of interest. I have a relative who lived in Italy. He had extensive dental work done in Rome. He spent a fortune with the dentist in Rome.

A few years later he spent a fortune in CA to have all the dental work redone and went through months of agony. The dentist in Rome had not done anything properly.

A few years later reports came out that the Italian governmnet was "cracking down" on "dentist" who had false medical license. Evidently my relatives experience with the dentist in Rome was not that unusual.
Sounded like the government in Italy does not do an excellent job of keeping tabs on Italian dentist.

That alone would make me hesitate to get dental work done in S.America or Central Europe etc.

Too many reasons not to follow this path IMO.

The S.Carolina dental clinic sounds like your best bet at this point, or again check out dental schools in the area where you reside.

And good luck to you. Dental problems are not fun!
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 10:28 AM
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Thanks again to everyone for your input. According to our dentist here (who wants $13,000 for fillings and crowns for my husband and I), the work can all be done in a week. Knowing that, if we can schedule a vacation AND save money ($80 per crown vs. $1000) it may be worth it. However, recommendations and referrals are important. The dentist my husband went to in CA was horrible. So, ther's good and bad everywhere and whether it's here or S.C. or overseas, we'll investigate thoroughly. Again, I appreicate your input. And if there's any info out there (specific dentists, travel agents, etc.) we'd love the info.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 10:50 AM
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I'm not sure where you;re from but $1000 for a crown is a great deal. I just had to have one replaced (front tooth granted) and it was $1800. And my dentist is quite moderate for this area - if you go to one of the rich and famous guys its at least $5,000 per tooth.

Before you do anything else I would get some recos for good dentists in you area and ask one for a full exam and estimate. I can;t imagine the work you're talking about can be done in a week. I have several crowns (volleyball injury) and the process always takes at least 3 weeks - and can be more if the fitting isn;t exact and has to be adjusted.

After a second consultation I would l look into the dental school or SC clinic option. These are the only teeth you have - don;t fool around with them to save a few $.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 11:07 AM
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Have you considered coming to Canada to have your dental work done? The dollar conversion would work to your advantage.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 11:24 AM
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Attention: all dentists
Do not start practice in Western Michigan. You cannot charge more than $800/crown.
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 03:27 PM
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Major work I was to have done in Australia was quoted to me at roughly US$ 750 I got done in Bangkok for US$ 250 at the top hospital's dental clinic.
$ 1,000 for a crown, ouch, now that 'does' hurt..
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