Dental tourism has become an extremely crowded marketplace in Vietnam. We now see Vietnam marketing and advertising just like our neighbor country Thailand. In Bangkok alone, there are more than 100 clinics offering affordable dental care to travelers from abroad. They would all have the same intention “Come to us to get the best quality at the lowest cost and we’ll fix your dental problem”…. And then we’ll forget about you!
In Australia, the cost for having a crown would around $2,000 AUD, making Australia one of the most expensive places to fix issues with your oral health. Needless to say, the quality of dental service is perform well in many clinics but not affordable for the average income earner with no dental insurance.
The same goes for other dental treatments in various first world countries. For example, a dental implant in Canada and the US costs around $3,500 to $5,000 USD, dental veneers can reach $1000 in the UK or teeth whitening in the US, Singapore and Hong Kong would range from $1500 to $2,300. The fee for these services can drop as low as half, other times would be just about one third of the original price in the US, especially in Southeast Asia region. Savings in general can vary from 10 – 90%, depending on which home country you are comparing the costs to.
We would like to add that there is an opportunity for high quality dentistry at home. However, weighing up the affordability of getting it all done at one or spreading it out over the course of several months and having the treatment done at different specialist’s clinic (as I mentioned in part 1 of this series). The risk then is waiting for other dental issues to get worsen over time, fee add-ons and health insurance would not benefit you much.
People can now get treated with similar skills, similar technology, and have a tooth like structure that functions just the same but at a much lower cost outside of their comfort zones. The reason being much lower malpractice insurance, infrastructure related costs and lower cost of living in these emerging dental tourism markets. However, one major problem with having dental work overseas is a lot of these clinics do not intend to keep long term contact with their clients. Therefore, if you experience any emergency after returning home, and you need them to forward all the required documents and medical data, you enquiries are most likely disregarded. That’s not an honorable way to maintain a relationship.
My colleagues and I are concerned about a race towards low quality and low standards among dental clinics in the Southeast Asia region, and as a consequence, putting our reputation at risk. Price wars make some low end competitors pursue less than ethical standards of care whilst mainly focus on increasing revenues. This includes performing procedures that may not be necessary, choosing materials only based on price and lowering their costs for infection control, which happens to be the fastest way to cut costs. Cutting corners in the dental lab work is also a problem. This not only happen where we are, but all around the world. Here in Southeast Asia, it’s going to be more transparent as our market is very unregulated.
Many clinics must compete on price because even their own local market is not willing to pay premium for high quality dental work. But some clinics still do, and that’s what I believe is the differentiation between low and high end dental clinics that will continue to raise the bar of dentistry for everyone.
Dental tourism will continue to be a regional solution, where the opportunity to have a holiday and get all your dental work completed at the same time at a lower cost. This is defiantly attracting more and more clients from all over the world. Helping our clients get back their smile, ability to chew and speak with confidence is why Westcoast International team is here. I personally believe in building and maintaining all relationships with our clients, both overseas and here in Vietnam, to be considered as an advantage. Our constant effort in building friendships with clients has resulted in having them return to us for many years later, often bringing along their other family and friends. I believe that seeking dental treatment overseas should not just focus on saving cost, but also the desire for better treatment, exceptional dental technicians, and a better more personal experience in order to give you a smile that lasts a lifetime. market, dental providers have to think more strategically and differentiate through innovation, efficiency, talent and the services offered. The rising tide will cause all boats to rise as well capsize a few strips that fail to meet the long term challenges in this highly competitive industry.