Businessweek Magazine Online, recently pointed to a lack of dental insurance as the main cause of the dental tourism boom. This isn’t surprising given the astronomical number of Americans without dental insurance. The article states that only half of Americans have dental insurance. The real figure is closer to 1/3 according to a number of other reputable sources.

Even those that are insured, do not have as much coverage as they probably should. According to the BusinessWeek article,

The vast majority of policies have a $1,500 annual cap on payouts, a level that hasn’t changed since the 1970s, though premiums have been rising. That $1,500 can easily be wiped out by one complicated root canal or a crown.

So, how are many people coping with this lack of insurance? Dental tourism.

In places like Bangkok, Hungary, and Mexico, dental care costs are dramatically lower than in the U.S., and the quality of care is quite comparable. For example, “Teeth caps that range from $750 to $1,000 in the U.S. cost $150 in Mexico, according to the article.” Many other dental procedures offer similarly steep discounts. What’s important to remember is that these procedures are largely routine procedures as opposed to cosmetic improvements. For a number of people, dental tourism is their only hope for treating dental ailments.

What’s perhaps surprising is that most patients seeking dental care overseas are pleased with the quality of care that they receive. Dr. Stewart Hirsch, of New York University College of Dentistry, believes that there is “no reason to assume the quality of care is any lower overseas.” That’s encouraging for the uninsured that are seeking affordable dental work, but are weary of overseas dental care.

Before looking into dental tourism as an option, do your homework, and remember that there are no international standards, and little legal recourse for malpractice. If you do decide that medical tourism is a good option for you, however, it is recommended that you find a dentist like you do in the U.S. – through referrals.

Your Experiences

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Cory Kemp is the founder and chief editor of He's committed to providing consumers with helpful tips for saving money at the dentist. Follow me on Google +