Recent reports from the New Zealand Dental Association have identified a trend that suggests more and more Kiwis are being driven to other countries in search of cheaper dental treatment, with a growing number purchasing package deals that also include holidays.
A number of dental clinics in Thailand offer tourism dentistry and some New Zealand companies are also benefiting from arranging the trips for patients. Founder of Absolutely Thailand, Roy Watson, has organised dental treatment for over 400 people; he began the business after he was quoted 20,000NZD for extensive work and decided to head to Thailand in search of a better deal. Mr Watson said ‘I had heard about dentistry in Thailand, so I checked with a local clinic [in Thailand] and had the work done for 6000NZD. I had a dental surgeon friend check what had been done when I got back and he said it was absolutely beautiful.’
The New Zealand Dental Association is keen to warn people about the ‘very real risks’ of getting overseas treatment, without the right follow-up care. The association warned that ‘price should not be your only guide, and a travel agent should not be your advisor about oral health.’ They also stated that many dentists in the country are ‘being asked to pick up the pieces after less than competent treatment has been performed overseas.’