Dental Tourism for Australians Makes Sense
No doubt, Australia is a modern and vibrant country. Tourists and citizens both agree that it is heavenly. Nothing rivals the natural and man-made wonders that are unique to this land down under. From the Opera House in Sydney, to Ayer’s Rock in the Outback, to the hidden shores of westernmost Perth; Australia is a truly wondrous continent nation. People in most other countries around the world would gladly trade their lives for one in Oz, and many already have.
Sadly, however, the dream life does not extend to dental care. Moreover, it does not span the healthcare system in general. As a member of the British Commonwealth, Australia has been bound to a similar socialist system that its sister countries such as Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom have all been submitted to. In Australia, unfortunately, the results have been particularly dismal.
In a country nearly the size of the United States, but containing only slightly more than 18 million people, barely half are covered by dental insurance. For those that are covered, elective and specialized procedures are either not covered, or require a huge expenditure. The average Australian, whether insured or not, faces the same dilemma: Where in the world to get the same level of dental care that matches their first-world lifestyle.
The answer is quite simple. Although the Australian government has railed against it and fought its citizenry tooth and nail on the subject with such tactics as warnings and quasi-brainwashing; most Australians have figured out which way is up and ventured outside the dome. Where are they going? Many are going where they have always gone on holiday (that’s what they call a vacation in Aussie land).
Yes, the countries that are closest to Australia and share its natural beauty and international charm just happen to be where informed Australians in search of much needed dental procedures are buggering off to. These destinations include all the favorites: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. They are only a jump flight away in most cases; and they offer a variety of international airports within each respective border. The draw is irresistible, given that a vacation in any of these affordable countries can be paid for with the cost savings of not seeking the same dental treatment plan in Australia.
Think about this: Most Australians are capped at $1,000 AUD per year for any procedures that they may need. A vast number of Australians, over 20% of adults, are missing most or all of their teeth. We all know from experience and common sense that crown and bridge work runs over $1,000 very quickly, with full-mouth implants routinely costing upwards of $20,000. Who can afford that? Hardly anyone, that’s who. Those who can’t are relegated to a life of cheap dentures.
So, perhaps the Australian government, with its fervent proclamation that foreign dentists are inferior, is inadvertently perpetuating the stereotype that people with British lineage tend to have bad teeth. No one’s dental health should be held prisoner by prejudice, politics, or their past. Everyone deserves the freedom of choice and the basic human right of affordable, quality dental care. That’s why education and awareness is the key to winning the campaign for better dental health for all Australians.
As an Australian, exercise your right to go wherever you choose, and to receive your dental treatment from whomever you trust. Your government is powerless to stand in your way. You owe it to yourself to explore your options, and you deserve to have access to quality dental care. With a little research, you might even find one of the many fellow Australians who is a successful practitioner in the country you would like to visit.