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What should I consider when getting dental care outside the United States?

If you are thinking about taking a "dental vacation" outside the United States in an attempt to save money, here are some things to consider. Dentists practicing in the United States attend an accredited dental school for four years. They pass national and state dental board examinations before they receive a license to practice. Dentists in the United States also are held to a high standard of care. For example, they must follow infection control guidelines to prevent blood-borne illnesses from spreading.

How will you determine the qualifications and experience of the dentist who will be treating you in a foreign country? How is payment processed? If you have dental insurance, will the provider cover treatment that is performed outside the United States and to what extent?

What happens if something goes wrong during or after treatment? Is there a complaint process or a method for getting a refund if you are not satisfied, such as peer review? If you can't get a refund, is there a meaningful recourse for dental treatment that is unsatisfactory or harmful? Will you have a right to sue? If so, can you do so cost-effectively? Will you need to retain a foreign lawyer or return to the country where you received care to testify or appear at trial? Will you get a fair trial? All of these are important considerations before seeking care in other countries.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.