When it comes to dental procedures, some patients may be tempted to travel to other countries for their treatment. Travelling abroad is known as dental tourism and is usually motivated by trying to get the procedure cheaper than they might at home.
It may be a different scenario when the patient arrives. Low prices can mean poorly trained dentists and low standards of care. Over the long-term, dental tourism can cost a patient more than if they had received quality care in Australia in the first place.
Teeth Whitening in Thailand
Thailand, especially in Phuket, is easily accessible from Australia. A short flight to get teeth whitening treatment for a much lower price than the sticker prices at home can seem like a good option. However, the price is often low for a reason.
Each year, it is estimated 15,000 Australian residents travel abroad for dental work, including teeth whitening. When researching treatment on a laptop, the cost savings can seem attractive, but dental tourism poses many risks.
Everyone likes to get a good deal, but what if the price is an accurate reflection of the quality of care a patient will receive? Patient health and safety is at the heart of Australian dentistry; a dentist will always consider the risks to a patient’s health before carrying out any procedure.
Dental tourism carries with it many risks, including:
- Poor hygiene practises
The Dental Board of Australia outlines strict standards of hygiene that all dentists and hygienists must follow. These include how to sterilise dental tools, hand washing and disinfecting procedures, and how to protect dental professionals and patients from bodily fluids using universal precautions.
There is a concern in countries without strict regulation that unsterilised medical devices could transmit serious diseases such as HIV or hepatitis. The aim of saving some money could, unfortunately, lead to lifelong illness.
The water used in cleaning processes in some countries is a concern, as contamination is a real threat. Should this be the case, then a dentist could inadvertently transmit water-borne diseases to their patients during a procedure.
- Lack of regulation and oversight
Quality control is very high in Australia, as the Dental Board of Australia holds professionals to account both in their training and in maintaining this level when qualified. Professional development means dentists are keeping their skills up to date so patients can be confident they are receiving the care they deserve.
- Inadequate training
While many Thai dentists and hygienists are incredibly qualified and highly skilled, they have not undergone the rigorous training that Australia requires. There is simply no assurance for dental tourists that their teeth whitening in Thailand will be performed by a dentist highly trained in the most up-to-date teeth whitening procedures.
It’s not only a dentist that is involved in a procedure; there are also assistants.
If they are not at the required level, then they could negatively affect the treatment a patient is receiving.
- Low-quality materials
Dentists who offer teeth whitening services must purchase their materials and products through licensed distributors, or directly from the teeth whitening company. This assures dentists and patients that they are receiving whitening treatments with the proper mixtures of hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide so that teeth and gums are not damaged. This oversight is not as strict or even enforced at all in some countries.
- Aftercare and complications
If there are complications or injuries that require interventions after the teeth whitening treatment, many patients are already back home in Australia. The cost to correct these problems back in Australia may exceed the cost of the trip to Thailand.
Other patients may have to extend their time in Thailand to receive proper care and interventions for their complications, which will cost them even more money. Additionally, as Australians are not citizens of Thailand, they may not have legal recourse to get a complication from their teeth whitening treatment rectified by the dentist.
A holiday and combined cheaper treatment sound appealing, and it’s easy to get excited. However, there are health and safety aspects to consider as well as the quality of treatment you wish to receive. Going to have your teeth whitening in Thailand may not be as cost-effective as it seems.
At Available Dental Care, we recommend two methods of teeth whitening – home teeth whitening kits or laser teeth whitening/in-chair teeth whitening. Costs may vary depending on the current condition of teeth and how much work will be required to bring them to the desired standard.
Our in-home whitening kits come with bespoke bleaching trays custom-fitted to your mouth to protect your gums and give you optimal results. We do not recommend over the counter at-home whitening kits, as these may cause damage to your teeth and gums if used improperly.
For in-chair teeth whitening treatments, we use the Pola laser whitening system. We apply a thin layer of specialised hydrogen peroxide red gel to your teeth and target the gel with pure green laser light. The combination of these two technologies targets deep staining and can lighten teeth up to eight shades in just one hour.
At Available Dental Care, we pride ourselves both on the high quality of our services, and our level of patient care. If you are considering travelling abroad for a teeth whitening treatment, call us first for a consultation on (02) 4062 8763.