Thailand

Dentists in Thailand
Thai dental care is world-class yet inexpensive

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Doctor Dentist Clinic in Bangkok, one of the city’s ultra-modern facilities

Visiting dentists in Thailand can shave 50% off your dental bill for everyday interventions, and more if your treatment is complex. However attractive and cheap, price is not the only reason to get your teeth done in this country.

Thailand has been a tourism magnet for decades and its sandy beaches, smiling citizens, low prices and amazing food have bewitched millions of travelers.

The ‘tiger economies’ of the 1990s may have disappeared but Thailand dentistry benefited hugely from those wealthier times. Many health staff took advantage of the economy to study abroad and as a result, finding English-speaking Thai dentists who are world-class is quite easy.

So is finding ultra-modern dental clinics with the latest equipment and spotless hygiene.

Becoming a leading dental destination has been part of a government plan. The Ministry of Health consciously set out to make Thailand a health tourism capital, and dental tourism is a big part of that plan. In fact some 15% of the world’s dental travel takes place to Thailand, according to the government, or some 1.2 million dental tourists each year.

Accreditation for dentists is quite stringent, with dentists registered with the Thai Dental Association and Council, in addition to the groups representing dental specialties. Many dentists round out their training in Europe, North America or Australia, so they’re up-to-date with the latest techniques and their English is often fluent.

Finding the right Thai dentist

Traveling abroad for dental care is a great idea, but one you should approach with caution, as with all things medical.

Thai food - one of the world's best cuisines Charles Haynes via Flickr CC

Thai food – one of the world’s best cuisines
Charles Haynes via Flickr CC

Just because a dental clinic is listed at the top of your Search results doesn’t mean they’re the best. It may simply mean the dental practice has the best website, or knows more about using the web than his or her peers.

The best way to find a good dentist in Thailand is to get it from the horse’s mouth: check the local expat forums and ask questions. Foreigners use dentists with whom they can communicate so you’ll have a better chance of finding someone who shares your attitude or at least your language.

Check out forums online and see if anyone has posted reviews of the particular clinic you have in mind. Assume that some of the reviews will be posted by ‘friends’ of the clinic, but read a bit and you should start being able to tell them apart. Post questions in the forum and do ask for details if anything feels wrong.

Don’t hesitate to communicate with potential dentists, by email and by phone, and to get references you can follow up. By doing the work up front, you’ll avoid possible disappointment afterwards.

Many countries have excellent national health insurance schemes – Canada, Australia or the UK, for example. Teeth, for some reason, are often not considered part of the ‘body’ and coverage is usually minimal. Dental tourism then becomes a necessity rather than a luxury.

It would also be wise to talk to your own dentist at home – or at leasta dentist – to make sure you have someone to visit if something goes wrong once you leave the country. Chances are nothing will, but you don’t want to fly back to Thailand just to get a crown fixed, do you? It’s best to find a local dentist who will agree ahead of time to take you on should you need it. And don’t forget to get all the information you need from your Thailand dentist before returning home and take your X-rays too.

Putting cautionary tales aside, as a dental tourism destination Thailand has few peers, for the reasons above, of course, but also for cost: when it comes to dental care, Thai dentists provide some of the best value for money in the world.

Here is what visiting a dentist in Thailand could cost you:

Dental Procedure
Average Dental Costs in Thailand
in UK£
in US$
in € Euro
Implant
£1500
$2500
€1800
Veneers (per tooth)
£165
$275
€200
Laser tooth whitening
£190
$315
€225
Ceramic crown
£315
$530
€380
Root Canal
£210
$345
€250
Extraction
£18
$30
€21

NOTE: prices are indicative of those posted online by dentists in Thailand – some may charge more.

It’s not just about teeth, either. Imagine having a soothing foot massage during your treatment, or state-of-the-art headphones with your favorite music. Need treatment in the evening or on weekends? No problem at all. That’s the kind of treatment some dental patients have grown to expect.

Dental Tourism in Thailand

There’s hardly a better place on earth to combine a holiday with dental care. Not only are dentists in Thailand topnotch, but the country itself is the envy of many other tourist destinations.

Recent disruptions have slightly shaken confidence in the country, but tourists are now back and tourism is booming again.

In 2004 the tsunami hit its coasts and that’s pretty scary, although the last earthquake in that region took place more than 100 years ago so these aren’t common occurrences. Then political unrest struck, mostly in Bangkok, but that does happen periodically and so far has been resolved. Bangkok as of March 2011 is peaceful and as welcoming as ever for Thai dental travel.

When it comes to safety in Thailand, the only consistent trouble spot is the far South, although you’ll have no reason to go there, since Thailand’s tourist attractions are scattered throughout the rest of the country.

Imagine…

  • Lazing on one of the hundreds of tropical beaches that dot the coastline and Thailand’s islands
  • Sampling one of the world’s best cuisines, either along the street or in unbelievably luxurious surroundings (at very affordable prices)
  • Visiting centuries-old temples and deities, buzzing with culture and history
  • Dancing until all hours and enjoying the nightlife, all in a safe environment
  • Shopping for world-class goods at made in China prices
  • Having a foot or body massage every day, because they’re so cheap and easy to find…
Taste supreme luxury at affordable prices sawadee.com

Taste supreme luxury at affordable prices
sawadee.com

And the list goes on.

Many cosmetic dentists in Thailand will keep you only for a day, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the country. If you do need return visits, you’ll still have plenty of time to be a tourist – after all, your clinic won’t be far from the tourist sites.

You can take your pick and choose a Bangkok dentist if you’d rather stick to the city. If you’re headed for the beach, Phuket dentists are plentiful and if it’s nightlife you’re looking for, then a dentist in Pattaya or Phuket dentists may be just the thing. If you’re more into mountains than sea, you’ll even find cosmetic dentistry in Chiang Mai.

Bangkok, at the heart of Thailand's dental tourism Jensen Chua via Flickr CC

Bangkok, at the heart of Thailand’s dental tourism
Jensen Chua via Flickr CC

Conversely, you might not care about location and just want the best specialists. For teeth whitening Thailand is tops – you’ll rarely find a country with such wonderful smiles. Dental implants in Thailand are also renowned, as are veneers. Do your research, talk to people, and you’ll find dentists in Thailand will deliver not only what they promised, but more.

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