Dental care and oral hygiene are essential behaviors for maintain one's general well being. Unfortunately, because of the high cost associated with dental treatments and regular dental visits, record numbers of Americans are trying to find alternative ways to fit dental health expenses into budget. While some are opting to skip dental office visits altogether, others are traveling to exotic locals such as Mexico, Romania and India to get affordable dental care. Those who favor the latter may be putting their lives in jeopardy as there are risks associated with dental tourism.
As a whole, medical tourism is a booming business that approximately two million people worldwide take advantage of on an annual basis. Dental tourism, or the practice of taking a vacation in order to receive dental care, is the latest addition to the industry as the practice can shave thousands of dollars off of dental expenses. In the United States a dental implant complete with a dental crown can cost $2990 to $5,000 per tooth, yet the identical procedure would cost a scant $600 in India. In order to reap those rewards, there are a myriad of compromises that must be made.
About Dental Tourism
Medical tourism has been popular with the international set for decades and dental care is the latest type of health vacation growing the ranks. According to a European study, annually 260,000 people travel to get professional dental care. While there are no American statistics on the subject as of yet, dental industry insiders believesthat the industry is growing by approximately 20 percent annually and suggest that the typical dental vacation patient is a middle-class American with dental insurance.
In response to the growing trend, the National Institute for Health Research has funded a study on the industry to be conducted by the University of York. The analysis will focus on what prompts people to travel for both medical and dental care. A team of dental clinicians, health economists and social scientist will study four facets of medical and dental tourism. Those categories are:
- The impact on the economy.
- The decision-making process surrounding medical tourism.
- The risks and quality of traveling abroad for medical care.
- The future developmentally potential of the medical tourism industry.