Dental Tourism – Access to affordable dental care can be a significant problem for many people across the globe. Increasingly, some patients have been turning to treatment overseas as an option rather than accessing routine dental care in Australia, US, UK etc. There are some benefits for accessing dental care outside Australia, US, UK etc. These include increased affordability, speedy completion of treatment plans, convenience of treatment, combination of treatment with some leisure activity or visiting family and avoidance of public waiting lists. The affordability factor is a significant issue as a procedure may be performed at a far lower financial cost compared to the amount that a patient would otherwise spend in Australia, US, UK etc.1, 2 This affordability has been made even more attractive by a recent strong Australia, US, UK etc dollar as compared to other currencies and the ease and affordability of overseas travel. Improvements in the standard of care overseas may also play a role.
Dental Tourism Outside Mumbai & Abroad
Medical or dental tourism is a term that describes seeking medical or dental treatment in another country. The necessity for travel may be the sole or primary motivation for medical or dental treatment sought. The internet and internet advertising may also be an important source for accessing and researching treatment possibilities overseas.
Implant dentistry is now part of routine dental care which is practiced by both generalist and specialist alike. It could be considered as the gold standard of care for the management of the partially or fully edentate patient. However, the cost of implant treatment as a treatment option can be prohibitive and this can be the justification for seeking dental tourism. Complications related to dental implants may be related to the patient, implant or prosthetic components and these complications are seen by oral and maxillofacial surgeons in both hospital and outpatient settings. Little has been documented in the literature regarding dental tourism, particularly in reference to dental implant treatment.
There is no definitive information about how many patients receive health care in the medical tourism model. A major difficulty in determining the magnitude of medical tourism is the fact that the reported numbers may include expatriates from other nations, business travelers and tourists who require medical care while they are in these destinations for other purposes.
Also, Ayurveda and wellness services such as yoga and massage at Medi-spa resorts may be included in the tally of foreigners receiving health care. Finally, the accuracy of reported information cannot be validated. Despite these limitations, it is clear that a substantial number of ‘/patients participate in medical tourism. In 2003, approximately 350,000 patients from industrialized nations traveled to a variety of less developed countries for health care. It is projected that 750,000 Americans will go offshore for medical care in 2007, with this number increasing to six million in 2010.
In 2004, 1.18 million patients from all over the world traveled to India for health care, and Thailand cared for approximately 1.1 million medical tourists from a large number of countries in Asia, Europe and North America. The Confederation of Indian Industry, in consultation with McKinsey and Company, reports that medical tourism in India produces annual revenue of $300 million, with projected growth to $2 billion by 2012.3 Articles and broadcasts on medical tourism are appearing in the press and on the airways with increasing frequency, and several guide books have been recently published. A Google Internet search on May 6, 2007 using the term “ medical tourism” returned 777,000 results.