• Dental Tourism
    • Dental tourism (also called dental vacations) is a subset of the sector known as medical tourism. It involves individuals seeking dental care outside of their local healthcare systems and may be accompanied by a vacation. Dental tourism is growing worldwide as the world becomes ever more interdependent and competitive, technique, material, and technological advances spread rapidly, enabling providers in "developing countries" to provide dental care at significant cost savings when compared with their peers in the developed world.

      Reasons for travel

      While dental tourists may travel for a variety of reasons, their choices are usually driven by price considerations.Wide variations in the economics of countries with shared borders have been the historical mainstay of the sector. Examples include travel from Austria to Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia,[2] from the US and Canada to Mexico and Peru, from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland, Hungary, Poland, Turkey and Ukraine. While medical tourism is often generalized to travel from high-income countries to low-cost developing economies, other factors can influence a decision to travel, including differences between the funding of public healthcare or general access to healthcare

      Mobility of labour

      For countries within the European Union, dental qualifications are required to reach a minimum approved by each country’s government. Thus a dentist qualified in one country can apply to any other EU country to practice in that country, allowing for greater mobility of labour for dentists (Directives typically apply not only to the EU but to the wider designation of the European Economic Area - EEA). The Association for Dental Education in Europe (ADEE) has standardization efforts to harmonize European standards. Proposals from the ADEE's Quality Assurance and Benchmarking taskforce cover the introduction of accreditation procedures for EU dentistry universities as well as programmes to facilitate dental students completing part of their education in foreign dentistry schools. Standardization of qualification in a region reciprocally removes one of the perceptual barriers for the development of patient mobility within that region.

      Pricing and quality

      Dental tourists travel chiefly to take advantage of lower prices. Reasons for lower prices are many: dentists outside the "developed world" are able to take advantage of much lower fixed costs, lower labor costs, less government intervention, lower education fees and expenses, and lower insurance costs. Much of the bureaucratic red-tape that engulfs businesses in the developed world is eliminated abroad, and dentists are free to focus on their trade, dentistry. The flip-side of this is less legal recourse for patients when something goes wrong, but the result is that procedures, such as dental implants and porcelain veneers, which are simply financially out of reach for many people in the developed world, are made affordable overseas.

      Much of the debate about dental tourism and medical tourism in general centers around the question of whether or not price differentials imply quality differentials. Another concern is whether or not large scale dental procedures can be safely completed abroad in a relatively short, "holiday-sized" time period. Another issue affecting this debate is the lack of an independent inspections committee for dental similar to the Joint Commission International for medical.