Dental Tourism is NOT for Everyone

As the U.S. struggles thru the re-definition of its healthcare system, the Costa Rican Dental Tourism Industry continues to grow at a steady rate.  While this is great news for many, it is not great news for everyone.  Why?  Because not everyone is a great Dental Tourism candidate.  So, while this makes many local U.S. Dentists happy that their pool of Patients will not be completely drained over time, those who are not well suited to flee for the border when dental needs arise may be left with few alternatives to high prices and mediocre care.

This should come as no surprise to anyone, but as with most things, many people do not think everything thru to a logical conclusion.  People are different, they think differently, and what is good for many is not necessarily good for all.  Just as international travel is not good for everyone who seeks a vacation, Dental Tourism isn’t the best solution for everyone who needs dental care.  There are many things to consider before going overseas for dental treatment, and one would be wise to engage in a bit of self- reflection or introspection before buying an airline ticket to save some money on dental care. Here are some tips on how to identify if you should stick with local treatment and avoid seeking medical or dental care abroad.

  1. You do not like to travel

This seems straightforward and obvious, but some Dental Tourists quickly become unhappy once they have arrived at their destination.  The rigors of travel are just too taxing for many, and once they arrive, the discomfort sets in.  An unfamiliar place, unfamiliar people, and unfamiliar language.  Suddenly, the simplest things become a chore: looking for a place to eat, a grocery store, a pharmacy or even a bathroom.  Think about it.  Going to New York City can be overwhelming for people from small towns/cities, and traveling abroad can seem like an out of world experience! Here’s a small test…close your eyes and picture yourself far, far away in another land.   If your initial thoughts are excitement, that is a good sign, if your initial thought carries you into a state of anxiety, best stick with the Yellow Pages and plan on receiving dental care near home.

  1. You are ethnocentric

Many people believe their country is the center of the universe; especially many North Americans. This bias can have both positive and negative effects on medical or dental travelers.  While it is nice to hold your home country in high regards, in doing so, you may be discriminating unfairly against the hosts you are about to visit in a foreign country.  This comes at a time when you need to convey trust in our chosen practitioners, as if you don’t, it will likely affect the level the care you receive.   Just as a woman can often sense when a man is staring at them or is about to ask them out, many Dentists pick up on the vibes and micro-movements in facial expressions and body language which communicate comfort or stress.  The truth is no country or its citizens have a monopoly on brains and talent, and those who remain open-minded to other people, countries, and cultures are usually those who get best results, in life and in dentistry. If you believe that your country is the center of the world and that your people hands down are the smartest and most capable of all, dental tourism is probably not for you.

  1. You are easily agitated

Some people are calm as cucumbers.  It doesn’t matter what you throw at them they shrug it off.  Someone cuts in line…no problem.  The bill is twice what they expected…no problem.  Someone just dented their beautiful new car with their uninsured old-clunker…no problem. Then, there are people like myself who have a raging beast inside them.  We are relatively calm types until we are not.  And we are often not. We are anxious.  We are always alert, waiting for the next axe to fall – trying to make sure it is not our heads on the chopping block when it does.

Well, the “calmies” in general will fare better than anxious folk as Dental Tourists.  Why?  Because life is life, and things happen.  And when things happen and your agitation level goes up, it affects those around you.  Your pilot, your taxi driver, and your dental surgeon can all be put off or agitated by you.  A calm, relaxed Patient allows their Doctors and Assistants to do their thing – which usually entails doing many things the patient knows nothing or little about.  If you can’t control your temper or composure and remain somewhat calm when you are anxious, you best think about sticking with Main St. Travel in your local town or city.

  1. You are a couch potato, boring, dull or lazy person

Life is beautiful, but it can also be difficult.  Especially for those who need to work to live.  Work can be taxing.  And at the end of the day, many workers prefer doing nothing more than going home, sitting/laying down on their couch – and staying there for as long as possible.  Sure, they don’t mind getting up to go to the bathroom, get a drink or something to eat, but other than that they pretty much prefer to remain comfy, cozy, and immobile.  Other people reach that state of being without going thru the rigors of work.  And yet other people are just plain out dull and lazy.  They answer in one-word responses if they respond at all.  In some cases, you just want to take their pulse to see if they are still amongst the living.  And there are even more who just like to procrastinate and put things off.  I guess they think If you leave something unattended long enough, maybe someone else will do it or it won’t need to be done!  Lazy people seem to be able to do one thing well…nothing.  Well, they can look at their smartphone, and access the world with a flick of the thumb, but even that can be taxing on them.  If you are not inclined to do very much except for when there is no choice but to do so, you best not take a chance on wandering too far from home…especially for dental care.

  1. You are a racist, discriminatory buffoon or mean person

Here’s an interesting bunch.  They hate other people because they are not like them.  Size, shape, color, race, gender, religion…whatever…they just don’t like others and are not big on living and letting other people live – to enjoy their lives as they please. Whether they are textbook racists or just discriminatory by nature, they are not fun to be around…unless you are one of them. They come from the South, the North, the East and the West.  You can find them in every socio-economic class and sphere.  There are not many of them as a percentage of the population, but there are a lot of them.  And downright mean people can be found nearly everywhere as well.  They come in all sizes, shapes, genders, colors, and races too.  Meanies can be mean wherever they are, so best they just stay at home and not make the other people around the world suffer from their presence.  They are not happy in their own country, with their own people, how can they possibly be happy going abroad?  They often bring out the worst in people just as happy go lucky people bring out the best in those around them.  For better or worse, people and their moods are contagious!  And since there are no cures for these particular classes of human germs, avoidance is the best policy.  So, all you racist, discriminatory buffoons and mean people, please visit your local dental clinic when dental needs arise, if they will allow you in their facilities to treat you!

If you know someone who may be interested in becoming a Dental Tourist, and they do not fit into any of the categories above, please let me know at [email protected]

SOURCEHoward Siegler
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