The Trend of Dental Tourism

I had two wisdom teeth extracted yesterday. Ouch. I’m OK though. A few weeks ago, I had been given a quote for a dental procedure which had an astronomical price tag.

So I contacted a dentist friend of mine for help, had a second opinion, some last minute insurance luck, avoided the biggest costs, and emerged with healthy teeth.

But then I thought of something. We are getting on a plane to Bali in 2 days, and the timing got me thinking – dental care is a lot cheaper in South East Asia, why not visit a dentist there??

Actually, this idea is quite popular! Save money, whilst getting a holiday in Thailand at the same time! Even with the flights and hotels factored in, the dental bill (sometimes 75% cheaper) makes the whole thing a huge saving.

I met an English backpacker in Borneo who had done that exact thing. He had dental surgery done in Kuala Lumpur, instead of in Australia, and was completely happy with the results. In a country where the tap water is questionable, I was curious about the medical care.

I asked him about the quality, and he said it was just like in England. In fact, ‘dental tourism’ is getting so popular now that there are travel companies set up specifically to organise it.

I’m sure that the dentists are just fine overseas. Obviously, they’re qualified – I don’t doubt that many of them even have Australian or other western degrees. Besides, places like Bangkok or KL are big cities with many wealthy inhabitants – the dental care would surely be on par.

I suppose it’s just a matter of trust, feeling secure, and hoping nothing worse happens. If something goes wrong, you can have it sorted out at home, but if they mess up your teeth on holidays, you’re kinda screwed.

Have you ever gone overseas for dental care? I’d love to hear some stories!

15 thoughts on “The Trend of Dental Tourism

  1. Well, I can tell you it’s not worth coming to singapore for dental care, hahaha…but I’ve had friends who had theirs done when they were in thailand..:)

      1. Well, I would consider it expensive, yes.

        Consultation+scaling n polishing usually costs me S$60-S$80…filling is around $50-$80 if required so visits to the dentist are never looked forward to…government dentists are much cheaper though.

        Of course, the noise from the machine unnerves I just don’t like having to visit the dentist…haha…:D

        Are you considering doing it here? If you are I can go hunt down more accurate figures. 🙂

      2. Haha…sure no problem..I’m dreading my wisdom tooth extraction because I will have to do a surgery….definitely not enjoying dentist visits….haha…enjoy your trip to bali!! 🙂

  2. Wisdom tooth surgery honestly scares me. I mean anything to do with dentist are. But i have extracted 3 of mine. Its a matter of finding the right dentist. You can try KL. i do not live there but i know the dental and medical care there is much cheaper than what you have to pay. Medical tourism is gaining popularity as well. Good luck and have fun in Bali.

    1. I agree, anything other than just a checkup and clean is quite scary when it comes to dentists. It’s just a matter of trusting your dentist, that’s the bottom line I suppose!

  3. Ahhh Bali. Love it there. My wife and I went there a couple of years ago, along with Singapore, Thailand, KL, Cambodia and we can’t wait to go back.

    Medical Tourism is huge in Thailand. Over a half a million medical tourist visit Thailand each year and many of them go to Bumrangrad Hospital in Bangkok. It is know as the number 1 medial tourism hospital in the world.

    For dental tourism, Cancun, Mexico is growing in popularity and provide top quality service.

    Anyway, travel safe and enjoy your trip.

    1. I imagine Mexico would be quite popular for Americans requiring cheap medical or dental care. I don’t know much on the subject, but from what I’ve read online, life can be pretty hard for an American without good insurance…

  4. I had my overall dental treatment a few months ago in Thailand, when my husband and I was also having a vacation. My husband was concerned about whether a dentist in Thailand would be regulated and have good qualifications like they do at home. That’s why we went through a dental tourism company (,6,subtreatment,39.html/Dental-Implants-Treatment-Abroad ). Their website helps you track down average dental costs for a wide variety of treatments in different countries so I was quite prepared with the cost. Great happiness with my dental experiences over the years in Thailand.

  5. I’ve heard very good things about The Philippines for Dental work…in fact a friend of mine had all of their teeth replaced and was thrilled with the whole package.!

  6. Dental care prices in Ireland and the UK can be eyewatering too, not quite US scale, but enough to make you pause. Hungary and Poland in particular offer a good option, because the prices are much cheaper, but all the EU standards are met, with the added bonus of being really fantastic places to visit!

    1. I wonder if dental tourism will one day have a significant impact on dental prices in the ‘expensive countries’. Perhaps in 10 years, there might be a big dent in the market of expensive dental procedures.

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