Risks of Dental Treatments Abroad

Posted on February 3, 2019



It is a pretty common practice for people living in New Zealand and other Western countries to head to the likes of Vietnam or Thailand for dental treatment. The main reason behind it, as you've probably guessed, is saving money.

It's true that it's cheaper to get your dental treatment done in Vietnam, but is money more important than your long-term health?

Risks of dental treatments abroad

Overseas dentistry seems economically attractable. Indeed, you might also think of a vacation squeezed in between the treatment visits. As good as it sounds, there are factors we want you to be aware before making your decision:

Quality of the treatment

Just like anywhere else, the skill set, knowledge and experience of a dentist vary. In the countries where the regulation is less strict, it becomes a greater problem. In NZ, the health regulation keeps our dentists’ skill level at a very high standard which we have discussed in detail further in this article. The bottom line is, the quality of treatment is New Zealand is much more reliable.


 Sterilisation is way more important than the clinic's interior design. Here's a firsthand account of an American tourist who went to Vietnam for dental treatment.

"What I witnessed my eyes could not believe - sealed surgical tools that were rusted and still covered with existing dried blood from previous patients! Blood-born pathogens "HIV" Hepatitis - A, B and C."

You can read the rest of this horror story at Trip Advisor's forum but do so at your own risk.

 Follow-up & maintenance

In order for the treatment to succeed, there needs to be an appropriate follow-up and maintenance. Without follow-up visits, you are more likely to develop complications. Also, the complications need to be managed as soon as it occurs as it may lead to bigger problems. So, taking ten days off work to fly abroad whenever there's a maintenance issue with your overseas dental treatment is not viable at all. Don't trade short-term financial gain for long-term a hassle.

Why is New Zealand dentistry better?

The common belief is that dental care is expensive and you can never be sure about the final cost. But, as the saying goes, "every truth is but a half-truth."

It's not your fault if you're holding back on seeking help for a serious dental problem because of the high price. But the high price is there for a reason. The standards of oral health practitioners in New Zealand are some of the best, if not the best, in the developed world.

In New Zealand, dentists are required to:

  • Put the patient's interest first instead of their own financial gains
  • Respect the freedom of choice of the patients
  • Practice only what they're skilled at. If not, they should refer the patient to another health practitioner who can handle the situation
  • Maintain a safe workplace to ensure patients' safety 
  • Upgrade their skills by getting involved in professional and learning activities and comply with Dental Council’s re-certification programmes
  • Have arrangements to handle emergency situations at the practice
  • Communicate factual truth to the patients instead of exaggerating things

and much more. Read the Standards Framework for Oral Health Practitioners to learn more.

The bottom line is, you can have much more confidence in the quality of dental care here in New Zealand.


What should patients be aware of before choosing a dental provider?

Choose a dental care provider who will make you smile throughout your treatment journey.

Communicate your stress and anxiety about the treatment to your dentist. You'd be amazed when you see how helpful the right dentist can be. So, please don't be shy.

Secondly, ask questions, every question that you have in your mind before you book in your treatment. Proceed only if you're satisfied with the answers.

In the dental industry, it's hard to avoid unexpected costs as the treatment plan can change. But just because the treatment plan changes doesn't mean you have to pay extra.

Here at NSOMS, we take the onus on ourselves to ensure our patients' peace of mind.

That's right, you pay only what has been agreed upon before the treatment takes place. If extra costs occur, we'll take care of it ourselves. Not only this, but we also have interest free payment plans to assist our patients.

We also accept payment from health insurance companies and can assist you with getting prior approval.

Request an appointment now to move one step closer to a beautiful smile.

Request an Appointment


Topic: Dental Cost