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Cheaper overseas dental work for the ER'd
Old 05-07-2008, 04:17 AM   #1
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Cheaper overseas dental work for the ER'd

Much like medical services, dental work is often much cheaper outside the U.S., so it may make sense for many to have some dental work done if you're on vacation somewhere for a time or even to travel overseas specifically for expensive dental work.

I have a 19 year old 4 acrylic tooth bridge on a couple of titanium implants that has seen better days. It's become a bit discolored and the teeth have worn down badly (from rubbing against my other teeth) over the almost 2 decades I've had it.

My family dentist in Florida quoted me ~ $5000 to replace it ($1000 per tooth + bridge material). So I didn't have it done, since I can't afford that being ER'd.

My dentist here in Estonia (she's also a trained oral surgeon) just quoted me $745 for the same thing! And her office is just as modern as the one back in FL. It's in a larger dental clinic so the overhead per dentist is probably much lower than a private office.

A new set of x-rays (from machine straight to computer screen, none of those plastic x-ray sheets), oral exam, tooth cleaning and polishing cost me $25. The goop they squirt into your mouth to make a dental mold (for the new bridge) was $60 for a full set of upper and lowers.

Even if I didn't live here, it would be cheaper to travel here from the US just to have that kind of work done. $700 plane ticket, $500 hotel for a week, couple hundred in food plus the dental work of $745 is only ~ $2000. Saving of $3000.

I'm not promoting the dental services here, I can imagine Americans can get an even better deal going someplace closer and cheaper like Mexico or Central America.

I just wanted to point out that it's definitely worth looking into if you're on a tight ER budget and need expensive dental work.

Trek
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Old 05-07-2008, 06:05 AM   #2
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As a practicing dentist, I've seen my share of overseas work- and it ranges from excellent to horrible. The best work I've ever seen came from Chile. The worst work came from India, and the eastern european countries.

the important factor in dental work is how well it fits. Much of the junk I see just does not fit well, is over contoured (too bulky). It ends up leaking and decaying, and also causing gum problems.

I just had a lady come in from Romania who just had extensive bridge work done and it is all junk. She is having all sorts of problems and needs all the work replaced. Unfortunately she now also needs more root canals and post and core buildups to go along with redoing the bridge work.

Also you have to be concerned about the materials being used. Some places are still using poor quality metals in their restorations, and acrylic instead of porcelain.
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:44 AM   #3
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Yeah, bad dentistry can happen anywhere to be sure. Every country has good and bad dentists. I've had bad dental work in the U.S. (Oregon) that had to be fixed by another dentist. Nowhere is immune.

Best thing is to get recommendations for specific dentists and ask lots of questions.

Trek
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:09 AM   #4
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Trek, would they charge out of country people more for the dental work? I thought the low cost medical and dental procedures were subsidized by the Estonia government.
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:28 AM   #5
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When I was a student with no dental insurance I used to have all my dental work done in Europe (while visiting my parents for the holidays). Even though I did not benefit from the lower rates offered to people participating in the National Healthcare System, it was much cheaper than in the US. But now that I have dental insurance, it is more convenient (and cheaper) for me to have my dental work done stateside. I found though that there is a big difference between my 2 dentists: In Europe my dentist seems to focus mostly on the health of my teeth and gums and he very rarely recommends cosmetic treatments. I have had a chipped tooth in the front for 25 years and not once did he suggest I get it fixed. In the US, my dentist is very (very) focused on cosmetic procedures that are very expensive. Upon my first visit he seemed to be more interested on selling me veneers than fixing the cavity that was nagging me. But as far as care quality goes, I have been happy with both dentists.
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:52 AM   #6
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Trek, would they charge out of country people more for the dental work? I thought the low cost medical and dental procedures were subsidized by the Estonia government.
Dental is free for those under 19 and a few other cases. Everyone else pays full price, though residents can apply for some reimbursement from the Insurance Fund after the fact.

But to answer your question, you would get charged the same price as me.

Tons of Finnish and other Scandinavians come over to Estonia for their dental care as it's so much cheaper for them.

Here are the details of how it works in Estonia:

(1 USD = 10.1687 EEK)

Dental care is free for Estonian residents under the age of 19. All other insured individuals can ask for a refund of 300 kroons per year from the Health Insurance Board. Higher rates of compensation (450 kroons per year) are established for pregnant women, mothers of children up to 1 year old and those in greater need of dental treatment because of sickness. There is also additional compensation for dentures. Dental care in Estonia is relatively cheap compared to average European prices. There are some public dentistry clinics and a large number of private dental clinics.

Again, I'm not endorsing Estonia as a dental tourist destination, just putting some info out there about ways ER'd folks can save some money.
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:54 AM   #7
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I found though that there is a big difference between my 2 dentists: In Europe my dentist seems to focus mostly on the health of my teeth and gums and he very rarely recommends cosmetic treatments. I have had a chipped tooth in the front for 25 years and not once did he suggest I get it fixed. In the US, my dentist is very (very) focused on cosmetic procedures that are very expensive.
This has been my experience as well.
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Old 05-07-2008, 02:49 PM   #8
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I agree with novaman. While I have not had any patients from Chile, I have had many from eastern europe and the quality of the work was very poor.
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Old 05-07-2008, 03:45 PM   #9
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Mexican dental work is great and costs about 35% of the US.
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:29 PM   #10
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Mexican dental work is great and costs about 35% of the US.
I've heard many good things about the dental (and medical, depending where you are) in Mexico.

I've also read good things about dental care in Panama as well, for anyone heading down that way.
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