Want to Find a Good Dentist in a Holiday Destination? Be Sure They're Qualified.

If you are hoping to find a good dentist in a foreign country, there are several things you need to be aware of:

1) Dentist Credentials

Differences in dentist credentials, in terms of education, licensing, and continuing education will make a real difference to the quality of the finished work. Because Holiday Dental's experience and network is primarily within the Mexican dental industry, an outline is available at the link below which explains the differences between Canadian and Mexican dentists in terms of their path to obtaining dentist credentials:

Dentist Credentials - Canada vs. Mexico

2) Dental Specialists

In Mexico, as in Canada, dentists have the option of pursuing a specialization beyond general practitioner (GP). It's at this level where any gap between the dentist credentials of Mexican and Canadian dentists closes. For this reason, being a dental specialist is one of the first things Holiday Dental looks for when pre-screening Mexican dentists for Canadian dental tourists. Due to the nature of the specialties, the first five listed below are the ones that are most relevant to dental tourism.

a. Endodontist

b. Oral Surgeon

c. Periodontist

d. Prosthodontist

e. Dental Implant Specialist *

f. Orthodontist

g. Pediatric Dentist

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3) Dental Procedures Offered

In Mexico, it's common for patients to visit their dentist along with any required specialists, all in one location. A team approach to treatment is taken. This is particularly true of those dentists making dental tourism a cornerstone of their practice.

In Canada, dentists and specialists also take a team approach, but usually the team members work in different locations, with the expectation that you, the patient, do the travelling when required to see a second member of the team.

The reason for this difference is economics. There are fewer dentists and specialists per capita in Canada than in Mexico. This allows the Canadian dentist-specialist to work in only one location and to insist that patients come to them. This allows them to see more patients per day which maximizes revenues.

Although Mexico and Canada have different delivery models for dental care, this team approach is good news for patients in both countries. It reduces the likelihood that a dentist attempts a procedure for which he or she is not fully qualified.

For dental tourists, the obvious benefit of the Mexican model is ease of access to dental specialists and the procedures they perform. It would also appear that Mexican dentists may benefit from closer working relationships with top specialists.

The following procedures are usually of most interest to people considering dental tourism, and are all offered by the dentists pre-screened by Holiday Dental. In addition to the procedures listed below, all more common dental procedures such as fillings, extractions, bondings and dentures are also offered.

a. Dental Implant Procedure (Part 1 - Description)

b. Dental Implant Procedure (Part 2 - Advantages/Disadvantages)

c. Dental Bridge

d. Dental Crown or Cap

e. Professional Teeth Whitening

f. Dental Veneers

4) Should You Use a Dentist Directory?

When trying to find a good dentist in a vacation destination, a tempting short-cut is to consult an on-line dentist directory. There are hundreds of them available and they exist because most people do not know where else to turn.

I do not recommend the use of a dentist directory. Almost all of them are little more than advertising portals. Unlike with Holiday Dental, there is no familiarity between the host of the dentist directory and the dentists themselves. This means there is no pre-screening. Essentially any dentist who is willing to pay a fee will be allowed to advertise there. By investing nothing in getting to know the dental practices, a dentist directory can be very profitable, but doesn't add much value for the patient.

Be aware, some directories do a good job of concealing the fact they know very little, if anything about the dentists they are promoting.

5) How About Dentist Recommendations From Friends and Family?

This is a difficult one. It's easy to accept the opinion of someone you know who's been to the dentist in question and was pleased with the end result, but you should ask yourself three questions:

1) Do I really know the personal standards of the person making the recommendation? Everyone has different personal standards for things such as cleaning, and equipment maintenance and replacement. People's personal standards can range from extremely picky to laid-back. If you know that the person making the recommendation is extremely picky (and analytical), that of course would be a point in their favor.

2) What does the person making the recommendation know about dentistry? Could they tell you about Infection Prevention and Control measures, how to prep instruments for an autoclave, or about dental ethical guidelines? Dentistry is a technical field. Unless the person making the recommendation is knowledgeable about dentistry to a level beyond the norm, can you really trust their recommendation?

3) Did the person making the recommendation take the time to really examine and review the dental practice? One or two visits looking at a dental practice only from the perspective of a patient is not enough. To become well informed about a dental practice, a more thorough examination is required.

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