British Columbia Dental Association Recommendations for Patients to Consider Before Seeking Dental Treatment Outside of Canada

  • Understand your treatment needs. Clearly understand what dental treatment you need before you leave home. Get a cost estimate from your BC dentist and a clear description of the work that is recommended – and why.
  • Compare treatment plans. Compare your diagnosis and treatment plan from your BC dentist with the one you get from the dentist in the foreign country. If the foreign dentist recommends more or different work, ask why?
  • Ask for referrals. Ask your friends for referrals of foreign dentists if their Canadian dentist has commented that the foreign work was of good quality. Ill-fitting crowns; large connections between the teeth; or poor materials used may take some time to show up as decay, inflammation, infection and pain.
  • Know your health history and medications. Know your health history and how any medications you are taking may affect the dental work you want to get done. This includes knowing the names of all prescription medications you take. Make sure the foreign dentist takes your health history into consideration before proceeding.
  • Retain copies of your records. Ask the foreign dentist for English copies of your dental chart notes, any X-rays, or other tests taken so that you can provide this information to your BC dentist when you return. Continuity of your dental records is important.
  • Understand any post-operative complications. Before leaving, consult with your BC dentist to understand any post-operative complications that could arise, including infection or bleeding, and what you should do while you're away, and when you get home. Seek advice on recommended vaccinations and other things you should do to maintain your health while you're away.
  • Check exposure risks to infectious disease. The risk of exposure to antibiotic resistant infectious disease is high in some countries. Check the Public Health Agency of Canada's travel website for up-to-date information.
  • Be wary of promises and the latest technology. Be wary of promises or claims made regarding success rates, advanced technologies, and accreditation. Good dentistry does not always come from the latest high-tech equipment.
  • Know what recourse is available. Understand your recourse if things go wrong before you consent to the procedure. As a non-resident, promises or guarantees may be meaningless.
  • Ask your BC dentist about treatment options. If your decision to have dental work done in a foreign country is purely based on costs in Canada, ask your BC dentist if your recommended treatment can be staged over time, or if you can go on a payment plan to lessen the impact of the treatment costs.
  • Consider the value you place on your dental health. Consider the value you place on your dental health compared to other extended health services you buy, or 'treats' you may indulge in. Budget for regular dental exams, professional cleanings and to maintain your existing fillings or other dental work so it stays in good shape. Practice good oral hygiene at home, don't smoke, and limit the sugar your teeth are exposed to each day.

Regardless of where you get your dental work done, being an active partner in your own dental care will contribute to the health, quality and vitality of your life as ​you age.

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