It is really cheaper to go overseas for dental work?
IF YOU'RE considering travelling overseas for cheaper dental work, think again.
Minyama dentist Adarsh Pisharodi says the "dental tourism" industry is perpetuating a myth that patients save money by travelling to South-East Asia, particularly Thailand, for cosmetic dental work.
Dr Pisharodi said procedures such as crowns, dental implants and veneers had once been about one-tenth the price in Thailand, with Australian dentists charging up to $1200 per crown and Thai dentists about $200.
But the price "gap" narrowed over the past decade, with Australian dentistry becoming more affordable while the dental tourism market has driven prices up to about $700 per crown, he said.
For the past three years Dr Pisharodi has been researching the costs of dental work overseas and finding out from patients why they would consider overseas procedures.
He said cost was still the main driver, but the failure of Australian dentists to provide accurate quotes compounded the problem.
"It's very hard to assess what it will actually cost you," Dr Pisharodi said.
While the cost of dental surgery in Australia is often comparable if one includes travel expenses to Thailand, local dentists rarely provide fixed price quotes.
When patients elect a Thai option with a dental tourism company, all they have to do is send a "selfie" and an x-ray of their teeth and they are sent a fixed price quote, he said.
Dr Pisharodi worked in South Asian dental surgeries for 11 years before opening Oris Dental in Minyama seven years ago.
He said he wanted to correct the misconception that people would save money by travelling overseas for dental work and had started offering fixed price quotes as a solution.
When his patients learned he could do 10 crowns for $10,000, many had quickly cancelled their plans to travel for the work, he said.
"People don't realise, it's not like 10 years ago.
"The gap is closing.
"Obviously people just need the information.
"I know lots of my people have told me they wouldn't go - they just felt they didn't have a choice."