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the Australian Dental Association
Written by the Australian Dental Association, Dec 08, 2021
Fact Checked

Many people continue to travel overseas for holidays that are combined with dental work. This work may be cheaper than what people can access at home and is part of a trend known as dental tourism.

Although seeking dental treatment overseas may appear to save you money at the time, this may only be in the short term as there is the risk that things can go wrong and cost your much more in the long-term.

Infection control standards

Australian dental clinics operate under very strict infection control protocols. Not all countries have the same requirements. As well, only quality dental materials approved by the Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) are used in Australia. Depending on the overseas location, the dentist may not be working with the same quality materials as those routinely used here.

Antibiotic resistance

A matter that is becoming more common and concerning for medical professionals is the growth of superbugs. These are bacteria that are resistant to the antibiotics that are commonly used to treat serious infections. Previously, superbugs were rare in Australia, but they are appearing more and more as people return from overseas after having treatment in hospitals and clinics that do not have the same infection control standards as Australia.

Too many procedures, too little time

Some dental treatment cannot be completed in one single visit. There may need to be a certain amount of time between appointments such as for healing to occur before more treatment is performed. Trying to squeeze several complex dental procedures into a typical holiday means you may be risking complications. By having your treatment at home in Australia, you are guaranteed follow-up care.

Questions to ask

​If you are going to combine dental treatment as part of an overseas holiday, some things to consider include:

  • Is the dentist registered health professional and were they trained at a reputable university?
  • What are the countries infection control standards and are they as rigorous as those in Australia?
  • If you have any complications, can they be taken care of whilst you are still overseas and will this require more money and extending your time there?