CANAM Smile Makeover

A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO HAVE A POSITIVE DENTAL TOURISM EXPERIENCE

Dental tourism has become an increasingly popular option for Canadian and American patients seeking affordable, high-quality dental care.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of travelling to another country for dental care or surgery. To be fair, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, even if you travel across the street to visit your local dentist. Anxiety is based on fear. Fear is based on the unknown. So this step-by-step guide on how to plan and prepare for dental tourism aims to arm you with information to make the unknown known.
Step 1: Where do you want to go? Research and choose your destination.
Begin by researching dental tourism destinations that offer the desired dental treatments at competitive prices. Consider factors such as travel costs, visa requirements, and the appeal of the destination itself. Popular dental tourism destinations for Canadian and American patients include Mexico, Thailand, India, and more.
Mexico is the most popular destination for North Americans, however, given the ease of travel and relatively low cost of flights. In Mexico, Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Puerto Vallarta are the dental tourists’ go-to choices.
Step 2: Research dental clinics. 
Now that you know where you want to go, it’s time to research dental clinics.
Be wary of reviews alone. No matter what industry, no matter what city, some businesses pay for favourable reviews. Reviews that rave – without specific information – are suspicious. Look for clinics with a strong reputation for providing high-quality care to international patients. This includes non-generic online reviews – with a detailed experience.
Of course, testimonials and referrals from friends or family can be valuable resources in this process. An online presence that includes a website and noting credentials is key. You want a clinic with modern technology and equipment, English-speaking staff, and, of course, experienced dentists who have certifications from reputable universities and organizations.
Step 3: Verify. Verify. Verify.  
Communicate with the clinic.
Don’t be surprised if the clinic doesn’t have a 1-800 number. WhatsApp may not be so common in Canada and the U.S., but Mexicans – and most everyone outside North America – use it as their main communication channel. Calls on WhatsApp are not subject to long-distance fees.
Dental clinics in Mexico also typically communicate via email or an online chat on their website. Never commit to a clinic that doesn’t offer you some sort of free consultation before travelling.
Step 4: The pre-travel consult.
During your consultation, you shouldn’t even have to request a treatment plan and cost estimate. This should be offered to you as a standard procedure from a reputable clinic, especially one that is well-versed in dealing with dental tourists.
This quote should include a detailed breakdown of the procedures, associated costs, and an approximate timeline for your treatment. Use this information to compare options and make an informed decision about your dental care.
It will be much easier to get an accurate quote if you can also provide dental imaging from your local dentist. Your local dentist cannot deny you those images.
Step 5: Time to plan your travel!
Once you have finalized your dental treatment plan with your destination clinic, begin organizing your travel arrangements. Your treatment plan will include bookings for all necessary appointments, and that plan will indicate the earliest date you can return home. So if your dental procedure requires any additional rest and recuperation before travel, you will know this before confirming your hotel and flights.
Step 6: Prepare for your trip – and your new smile.
Gather all necessary documentation, such as your passport, travel insurance, and medical records. It’s also a good idea to take a photo of your passport and email it to yourself, as well as someone you trust. (The Government of Canada has more information here to prepare for travelling abroad.)
The more you plan, the more you will feel at ease. So make sure to have a list of emergency contacts, including your chosen dental clinic, the nearest embassy or consulate, and even your in-case-of-emergency contact. It could be your mom, it could be your significant other – it doesn’t mean you’ll remember their number. Most people don’t have those numbers memorized. Write them down somewhere. On paper!
Step 8: The moment you’ve been waiting for … 
Once you arrive at your dental tourism destination, it’s time for your scheduled appointments. So please follow all pre- and post-treatment instructions provided by your new dentist abroad. Don’t worry if you need any post-procedure prescriptions; there are plenty of pharmacies, especially in Cancun, to fill your prescription, often at greatly reduced prices compared to Canada or the United States.
Step 9: Post-treatment relaxation.
After your dental treatment is complete, the clinic will schedule any necessary follow-up appointments. Follow your dentist’s recommendations for post-treatment care. This may involve omitting those Margaritas and spicy foods from your diet for a few days, maintaining proper oral hygiene, and taking prescribed medications.
Step 10: Smile.
See. It wasn’t so hard. Was it? And you just saved your smile, a chunk of money, and had the vacation you never thought you’d take, to boot!
Remember, dental tourism offers the opportunity to access high-quality, affordable dental care while giving you an often unexpected opportunity to explore new destinations and cultures.
If you have the time to prepare and make informed decisions, you will feel more at ease and will thank yourself later.
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