Upwards of half a million Australians are expected to head overseas for medical procedures this year. They’ll be travelling abroad for a wide range of procedures – everything from elective cosmetic surgery to life-saving cardiac procedures. And for many, the focus of their medical needs is on dental work. This has prompted dental clinics across the Asia-Pacific region to brace for record numbers of Australian patients writes Jacob Pope of Dental Departures.
And it’s not just the overseas dental clinics that are getting prepared for a new wave of clients. With so many Australians considering travelling for dental care this year, Dental Departures (a dental marketplace connecting patients with dental care providers) is also gearing up in preparation.
Dental Departures maintains a vast network of dental clinics around the world – with many found at prime destinations for Australian tourists. This allows patients to shop around for dentists in the city they’ll be visiting, comparing prices and making an appointment before they even depart. Once they arrive, they can spend less time looking around for a reputable dentist and more time enjoying their holiday.
Why Australians Are Looking Overseas for Dental Work
As the cost of dental care continues to rise at home, more Australians than ever before are shunning their local dentist and heading overseas to have work done for pennies on the dollar. Meanwhile, developing nations in the Asia-Pacific region are eagerly adding to their infrastructure with state-of-the-art facilities to accommodate this growing demand.
To be fair, the trend of Australians looking beyond national borders for dental care is nothing new. In 2014, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) highlighted the fact that Australians are finding it increasingly difficult to fit dental care into their budget. The report stated that, “according to the National Dental Telephone Interview Survey, from 1994 to 2010, there was an increase in the proportion of adults avoiding visits to a dentist due to costs, from about 25% to 30%”.
Budgeting for implants, replacement crowns and other complex dental services would require Australians to make significant financial sacrifices. Non-essential expenditures – such as an overseas holiday – are often foregone. But with many of Australia’s favourite holiday destinations also offering discount dental services, some are warming to the idea of combining their holiday and visit to the dentist into one grand excursion.
Paul McTaggart, CEO of Dental Departures said, “We’re delighted to see more Australians opening up to the possibility of combining their dental care and holiday into one package.” He added that the company’s dental marketplace includes some of the most popular international holiday destinations in the region. “From our clients’ perspective, it makes good sense to save money on dental care while travelling in a place they already planned to visit,” he said.
Indonesia and Thailand among Leading Destinations
Indonesia and Thailand are set to be among the most popular dental tourism destinations in 2017. Thanks to discount airlines, flights to Bali, Phuket and Bangkok are surprisingly affordable for Australians. And despite their affordability, dental care facilities found at these tourist hubs are modern and fully equipped – often making those found at home look dated.
The Bali dental tourism market is booming. Bali has long been Australia’s favourite holiday destination. Holidaymakers come year-round to enjoy basking on white-sand beaches, trekking through dense jungles, visiting ancient temples and pampering themselves with luxury spa treatments and massages. And it’s not just Aussies who cherish the famed ‘Island of the Gods’. In this year’s TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice awards, Bali was chosen as the best holiday destination in the entire world.
There are several well-known dental clinics here, including Bali 911 Dental Clinic and Arc Dental Clinic. Australian patients are flocking here for crowns, bridges, veneers, teeth whitening and more. And as the name suggests, they’re also available to help tourists with unplanned dental emergencies.
In Thailand, most dental bookings are made in Bangkok or Phuket. Many dentists in Thailand are trained overseas – some even in Australia. The larger clinics boast in-house laboratories, meaning they can offer seamless full service from start to finish.
Dentists in Bangkok are scattered around the city, with convenient locations close to prime public transit arteries. Meanwhile, Phuket dentists are found in prime tourism areas, which makes it easy for the patient to segue from the dentist’s chair to the beach and get on with their holiday.