Some 70 years since Nye Bevan introduced accessible, free healthcare for all the advances in science and medicine means that the original principles on why the NHS was established are not necessarily in line with how modern medicine has evolved. The rise in cosmetic and aesthetic treatments demonstrates the blurred lines between medical treatments and cosmetic treatments and where it is becoming increasingly more difficult to know where the line should be drawn as to what is covered under NHS provisions, and what is not.

In some areas of healthcare, such as dentistry, we already pay a share toward our dental treatment, even if we are signed up to an NHS practice. Some treatments, such as dental implants, are considered to be cosmetic, and aren’t usually offered as a treatment option at all – unless specific circumstances, such as accident or injury, has caused the tooth loss. So, if you are looking to replace your missing teeth with the Rolls Royce of prosthodontics, then you will almost certainly have to pay privately, which will cost a considerable sum. This is why more and more people are looking for alternatives, such as opting to get the treatment in another country where prices are lower, like Thailand. Dental implants can often cost at least 50% less in Thailand than they do here in the UK.

Why Thailand?

Thailand is one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, but it is also a favourite for medical tourists. In fact, medical tourism in Thailand is a healthy part of its economy, and the country is very keen to maintain its status as a go-to destination.

The Thais made a success out of contemporary medical tourism back in the 1990’s when the Thai baht crashed. As newly-built hospitals lay empty because there was no money to staff them the Government and business leaders strived to kick-start the economy. One of their approaches was to capitalize on the country’s healthcare facilities, opening the doors of Bangkok’s Bumrungrad International Hospital to cross-border patients – and the modern medical tourism boom began.

Although medical tourism – where patients travel from their home country to a neighbouring one (typically to save money, or because the expertise isn’t available at home) – is not a new phenomenon, Thailand is somewhat of a pioneer in terms of modern medical tourism and has led the way in terms of providing excellent-quality healthcare.

The country was the first in Asia to receive a JCI accreditation for one of its hospitals, and now boasts more than 50 located across the length and breadth of the country – more than any other country in the region.

For medical travellers looking to make a holiday out of their trip there are certainly plenty of locations to choose from to suit all tastes – from the vibrancy of Bangkok, to the tranquility of Chiang Mai and the palm-fringed beaches of the country’s islands, like Koh Samui. Even more appealing are the additional health and wellness treatments offered by the booming spa clinics and resorts, where relaxation, clinical and therapeutic procedures are all be carried out under medical supervision.

As far as medical expertise is concerned, global medical travellers will find Thailand offers a broad spectrum of specialties, including cosmetic surgery, reproductive medicine and dentistry and, even though costs have risen here, they are still significantly lower, particularly for Westerners, than they are at home.

What is the cost of a dental implant in Thailand?

Dental implants in Thailand cost, on average, around £1,400 compared to an average of £2,900 in the UK. It’s not hard to see why people would see travelling to Thailand for this procedure as an attractive option, given they can potentially have a great holiday at the same time as their treatment for around the same money they’d pay just for the treatment alone at home.

Is there a downside to travelling to Thailand for a dental implant?

As with any medical procedure there is always a risk. The key to having successful treatment is to minimize your exposure to risk by ensuring the credentials of your dentist and clinic are beyond reproach. Unfortunately, there is no easy way of doing this – there isn’t a register where you can just look-up ‘good’ dentists – but you can build up a good overall picture by checking out a few key areas that include:

  •  Dentist qualifications
  • Professional Memberships
  • Patient testimonials
  • Online presence

Another way of doing this may be to book via a medical or dental tourism company. There are plenty of specialist companies you can find online and many (although not all) have a network of trusted providers they have worked with and whose credentials they can verify. It is worth doing a little research into these too, as the services they offer vary considerably.

If you are serious about going to Thailand for your dental implants then there’s no doubt that you can find excellent quality services and value for money. Just remember to do some background checks beforehand to ensure you choose a trustworthy facility so you have a safe, memorable and happy experience.

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