Dental Tourism in Bangkok
BANGKOK, THAILAND- Traveling for an extended period of time is exciting, and it’s easy to forget that you’re living a lifestyle rather than enjoying yourself on an extended holiday. Unfortunately, living a lifestyle means that there are some housekeeping chores to keep up with…like going to the dentist. Finding myself in Bangkok with two days worth of desirable activities and six days to kill, I started researching “off-the-beaten-path” things to do in Bangkok and a surprising number of results came up for what’s known as medical tourism. Bangkok is one of a handful of places in the world where third-world pricing structure meets first-world facilities and thus is a popular destination for individuals to come for medical procedures that would be too costly to perform in their home country. I just wanted to get my teeth cleaned.
It had been over a year since I’d last seen the dentist, and I could feel my pearly whites getting pretty scrubby, so I started looking into my options and found Bangkok Smile, reviewed by numerous travelers who had already been there and with glowing reviews everywhere I looked. I emailed them for an appointment at 5pm on Friday, and waited for a response. They got back to me early the next day saying they’d be able to accommodate me at 1pm on Sunday, which I was not expecting. Back home, dentist’s offices close at 4pm. They’re never open on Sundays.
Arriving at their location in Sukhumvit (an easy walk from the BTS—or a cheap cab ride from wherever you are), I had to fill out a short medical history form that is standard with visiting any doctor’s office and they were ready to see me as soon as I was finished, unlike many doctors’ office. I walked into the patient room and was immediately put at ease by my surroundings—from top to bottom the place was spotless, with facilities that matched any that I’d seen at home in New York. Since I only made an appointment to have my teeth cleaned, I’m not sure if it was a dentist or dentist assistant who attended to me, but there were two of them dressed in scrubs when I walked in, ready to go. Completely professional for the duration of my visit, the two dentists cleaned my teeth in about a half hour using instruments that I watched being sterilized. The procedure was exactly the same as it was at home, except I was in Thailand. I was shocked at the level of professionalism and attention to detail. For whatever reason, I expected there to be some zany catch to going to the dentist in Bangkok, but I encountered no such thing. It’s clearly run for Westerners, and they take pains to run it like a Western operation.
Bangkok Smile originally quoted that it would cost about 1OOO – 15OO baht for the cleaning. In the end, it cost me 14OO baht, which works out to 42.75 USD. This is less than the co-pay that I would be responsible for with my health insurance from home in America, and I received care that was top-notch. Would I recommend medical or dental tourism for procedures more complicated than professional flossing? Probably not. But it sure as hell paid off for dental work. And the best part of it all? I walked out knowing I had no cavities.