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  • Mary Schreiber Swenson Phd.

Why More and More Americans are Turning to Travel for Treatment for Dental Procedures

Teeth are an incredibly important part of the human body; beyond the social implications of a nice smile, which studies show can positively impact a person’s interpersonal relationships and career trajectory, and basic functions like chewing and food digestions, the health of one’s teeth can have a direct impact on other aspects of anatomical vitality.


Unhealthy teeth have been linked to chronic issues like diabetes, heart problems, and strokes, and the mouth is often the first place where diseases like AIDS and diabetes can be visually observed. As such, keeping up with oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentists can make the difference between a well-rounded life and one plagued by health issues.


But for many Americans, consistent dental care is outside of the realm of affordability, especially as dental care is generally not included in most health insurance packages, forcing people to pay out of pocket or contract their own dental insurance – a cost that doesn’t come cheap.

Some 28 percent of surveyed working U.S. adults reportedly do not have any type of dental insurance, while another 51 percent reportedly only visit the dentist for serious issues surrounding their teeth. Post-retirement, the statistics grow even more grim; more than half of surveyed participants say they don’t know how they’ll obtain or afford dental insurance after age 65.

This has had a direct impact on the status of many Americans’ teeth. According to the Center for Disease Control, some 25.9 percent of American adults aged between 20 and 44 have untreated tooth decay, an issue that can almost only be remedied by the preventative care of professional dentists and reveals numbers on par with the percentage of U.S. adults uninsured for dental.

On a global scale, more than 2 billion people suffer from some form of tooth decay – more than half a billion of those people being children – and according to the World Health Organization, will only continue to become an increasing problem as low-income countries continue to become increasingly urbanized.

Medical tourism and travel for treatment have presented themselves as readily available solutions for dental care, allowing patients from around the world to seek cost-efficient care in a country outside of their native place of residence, or even domestically, as some countries have their own robust internal travel for treatment industries.

Many U.S. patients have turned to the nearby country of Mexico for dental care, where expensive procedures are often cut in price by more than half, and the population of dentists per capita is double that of the United States, allowing for the easy acquisition of care at an affordable rate.

On an international scale, countries like Costa Rica and Colombia have become germane medical tourism destinations for dental patients in the Americas thanks to their thriving dental sectors, while Thailand and the Philippines have become the go-to locales in Asia for dental care. In Europe, countries like Turkey, Poland and Hungary have an established reputation for top-notch dental care, becoming must visits for Europeans looking for an inexpensive dental fix and likewise attracting countless global patients along the way.

Though dental care may be unaffordable for many in their native countries, looking abroad and into medical tourism can provide affordable health-boosting opportunities and teeth-saving procedures that can change a person’s life.

For more information on how to get started with dental care today and advice on what medical tourism destination is right for you, please contact MySmilesChoices’s mswensonphd@gmail.com.


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