I’ve been putting off some dental work that I need to have done because of the costs. Right now, the dentist told me that I need two crowns put in, plus I need a root canal. As you can imagine, this is pretty expensive and I have very little dental insurance. A friend of mine suggested that have it done in El Salvador. In El Salvador, for instance, she said I can get all of my dental work done for only half of the costs! I’m a little nervous going to a foreign country to get my procedures done, but my friend lives there and swears it’s OK. Do you think this is a good idea? Should I roll the dice in El Salvador?
Florence J., Atlanta, GA
There’s at least one positive I see with your situation versus some other situations I get asked about here–you actually know someone who lives in the foreign country you’re attempting to go. Because of this, your friend can give you a semblance of what it’ll be like when you go. So many times people romanticize what the conditions will be like, assuming that a dental office in the US will be the same in another country. I’m sure there are plenty of dental offices that exceed expectations, so I’m not saying it’s going to necessarily be “rough goings.” But let’s face it no matter what your friend tells you, you have no idea what your experience will be like.
It’s understandable why you’d want to seek out affordable dental treatment. And if El Salvador’s currently offering the best deal, it’s very tempting to take it. But here’s the problem. Treatments in foreign countries may be way less expensive because they don’t have to abide by the same regulations that dentists in the US do. The US puts systems in place to ensure that dentists keep clean, sterilized environments and that dentists use FDA regulated materials. Also, dentists in the US must have malpractice insurance. If something goes wrong, you can file a complaint through the US government for help. Does El Salvador have all of these systems in place? If something goes wrong with your procedure, can you have that dentist correct his or her work? Or, at the very least, refund some of your money so that you can get it fixed elsewhere? And do you know what sort of materials are actually being placed in your mouth? For this reason alone, you’ll have a hard time getting a dentist in the US to take you on as a client because of the liability you might be opening he/she up to.
So “less expensive” could turn out to be “more harmful,” and thus, “more expensive” rather quickly. Try to make your dental treatments more affordable by finding dentists who may be able to work with you. Many dentists offer discounts for patients paying in cash, some may have financing available, and some can help you set up a payment plan. Do a little research first and see what you can come up with before you roll the dice.
Hope this helps!
This blog is sponsored by Buffalo dentist Warren M. Krutchick, DDS.