If you are going to be visiting a dentist at least every six months (as you should), it makes sense to pick a dentist who is convenient to your home and/or office. However, if you are considering special dental treatments, such as cosmetic dentistry, neuromuscular dentistry, or tooth replacement, it can make sense to travel further to get the best care.
However, you do not want to be traveling just for the sake of travel. You need to make sure that traveling will really help you get better treatment. Here are some good reasons to travel for a dentist, as well as some reasons you should never use as your rationale.
Good: Dentist Offers a Procedure I Cannot Get at Home
Frankly, not all dentists are capable of performing some of these advanced dental treatments. If your local dentist is not offering the service you need or want, then you should travel to get the service you are really looking for, rather than settling for poor substitutes.
Unfortunately, that is what people often do. Most often, people settle for dentures, when they really want dental implants. If your local dentist does not offer dental implants, or you are unsure about their ability to place them, it is time to travel for the procedure.
Bad: I Want to Visit the Locale
Some people will advertise their practice as “destination dentistry”: you are traveling as much for the setting as for the dentistry. There are many problems with this.
First, you are less likely to enjoy the destination if you have a dental procedure planned for the trip. You will either have it hanging over your head the entire time, or you will have the procedure done early and have to deal with the effects of recovery. Dental procedures do not cause as much discomfort as in the past. When you are at home, the recovery is a minor nuisance. But when you are traveling, it is enough to keep you from really enjoying your vacation.
Second, dentists are not always located in as convenient locations as they claim. Getting to and from the dentist’s office can create additional nuisance for your trip.
Finally, this type of travel does not offer any inherent value over just taking a vacation for its own sake, and getting dentistry done at home.
Good: I Want to Get the Most Attractive Results
The quality of your results matters. And one thing that sets dentists apart is their ability to deliver beautiful-looking smiles. All dentists have the technical ability to perform basic procedures, but few can actually deliver truly beautiful results. That takes a certain artistic vision and technical prowess that is rare among dentists.
Look closely at dentists’ before and after galleries before deciding which one to work with. And if no dentist in your area seems capable of giving you the results you want, then you should absolutely travel to get those results.
Bad: I Want to Get the Cheapest Price
It is never worth it to look for a healthcare “bargain.” Nothing is cheaper for no reason. There is always an explanation for the price difference. In this country, common reasons why dentistry can be cheaper when you travel include:
- Inexperienced dentist
- Less-trained dentist
- Lower-cost materials
- Lower-cost tools
- Lower safety standards (foreign travel only)
- Depressed local economy
Many of these directly impact the quality of results you receive and your risk of complications. Although this may make the dentistry seem less expensive at first, the most expensive dentistry is what you have to fix. Then you pay for it twice, and revision procedures are even more expensive than initial procedures.
If you experience complications related to a dental procedure in a faraway city, you either have to travel to get that problem addressed, or work with a different, local dentist.
Good: I Want the Longest-Lasting Results
One of the best reasons to travel is ensuring you get long-lasting results. Quality dental work has a lifespan measured in decades, and at that timescale, it is well worth it to make a trip to get the best results. The cost of travel is negligible when divided over the lifespan of your dental work.
That is what makes a true bargain: great value for your money.
Bad: Dentistry Must Be Better in New York or LA
Sometimes people believe that all the best dentists are in the biggest, most expensive cities, such as New York or Los Angeles. Although there are many good dentists in these cities, they are not inherently better than some dentists practicing in other cities across the country.
Evaluate the dentist, not the location.
Quality Dentistry Is Always Worth the Trip
If you are looking for quality dentistry, we invite you to consider a trip to St. Louis to work with Dr. Chris Hill at City Smiles. Dr. Hill has world-class training from LVI, the Pacific Aesthetic Continuum, and the Hornbrook Group. His amazing results speak for themselves. We have many patients who travel from around the country and are very happy that they did.