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Medical Tourism - Overseas Dental Work

Updated on November 24, 2010

Why Not Take a Holiday While You Get Your Bridge or Crown?

Medical tourism continues to be an expanding field.  With healthcare in the US still inaccessible by many or dental work not covered by insurance, many are looking for alternative solutions.  Dentistry in Thailand is a booming business. 

Dentists are trained in the US and the UK, certified by the best universities with knowledge of the latest techniques...all for a portion of the price offered for the same services in the US.

Not to mention, after getting your teeth filled or whitened, you can travel through the mountains on the back of an elephant or visit ancient temples while getting cheap massages and eating really good food.  Who wouldn't look forward to going to the dentist?

Grace Dental in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Grace Dental Building
Grace Dental Building | Source
Front Desk
Front Desk | Source
Lobby | Source
Exam room for fillings
Exam room for fillings | Source
Exam room for cleaning
Exam room for cleaning | Source

What You Can Expect

Since I live in Chiang Mai, I can only recommend the actual dental clinic that I go to. Grace Dental is located in the heart of Chiang Mai, a 15 minute drive from the airport.  It is in a very trendy section of town loaded with little boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops.  If you come with a spouse or friend, they'll have plenty to walk around and see while you're having your dental work done.

The dentists are very kind and speak very good English.  The staff will make an appointment for you via e-mail or telephone.  And, the dentists work together in teams.  So, if you have multiple issues to contend with, they will have a conference regarding your mouth and decide the best plan of action.

To give you some idea of costs... I luckily have a pretty healthy mouth, so I go in for routine cleanings mainly. 

A cleaning, the type that includes scaling (where they clean just under the gum line) runs about $30.00.  They add on a little bit more if they have a lot of plaque to remove. 

A filling, or an addition to a tooth (cosmetic to make a tooth look fuller) runs about $40 for a tooth. And, to fill in a gap on the front teeth, they charge about $15.  (Yes - it's pretty miraculous!).

I couldn't be happier with each visit I've had with them.

A friend of mine just had a final cap placed over an implant that was never finished.  Grace dental did the research to find out what type of post was drilled into the bone and the final cap that was custom created ended up being around $350.  In the US, the quote given was $1500. for the same crown.

Here is a brief list of what this place offers:

  • Prosthodontics: crown, bridge, denture and restoration
  • Dental Implants: natural tooth replacement
  • Periodontics: gum disease, tooth cleaning
  • Oral Surgery: wisdom teeth and other extractions
  • Orthodontics: teeth realignment
  • Endodontics: root canal
  • Esthetic Dentistry: tooth whitening, space closing
  • Pediatric Dentistry: for children

A Medical Tourist Brings Back a Souvenir

In 2005, I met a friend on the internet, back when MySpace was a big fad. We were pen pals for about 6 months while he was in New York City and I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He complained for several months about having to get dental work done but how everything cost so much in New York City.

I invited him to come out for his Christmas holiday to meet up, have a vacation and get his dental work done.

When he checked into the prices, he found to get one tooth fixed, was the same price as a flight and was convinced to book his tickets. We met in person for the first time at the airport. We had a great time touring through the city for the first couple of days; going to see the main temple on the mountain, looking at gibbons and elephants, eating amazing Thai food and getting really cheap foot massages. Then, the dental appointments began. For four days, he would go to the dentist and I would hang out in nearby cafes. He was thrilled with the work they did on his teeth.

To make a long story short, that pen pal, is now my husband and he has great looking teeth. Now, both of us reside in Chiang Mai and continue to have affordable dental work.

And, I should end this story by letting you know, it was still cheaper to fly to Thailand, get all of his dental work done and have a week long holiday, than it would have been for him to get the same work done in New York City. And, he got a wife out of the deal too!


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    • EllenDean profile image

      EllenDean 7 years ago from Austin

      Hi De Greek,

      First, congratulations on your upcoming retirement! I'm in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. It progressively gets more and more expensive each year.

      If you live like the locals, you can live very cheaply, under $100 a month. Though, many retirees I know that have pensions of around $2000 a month, find themselves breaking even each month. (for one person).

      After so many years being here (I'm on my 10th), I really enjoy going to all the foreign places with air conditioning and eating foreign food. I probably average about $20 a day in meals (I don't have a kitchen). Rent varies greatly here from $400 - $3000 a month depending on where you live. Foreigners are allowed to purchase condos but not land.

      There is a huge retirement community in Chiang Mai. They are very active and contribute in great ways to the community. (There's a dodgy scene here too, but you can avoid it easily). There are a lot of benefits of living outside of the US (such as medical) and an equal amount of downsides to being here (such as an overwhelming amount of ignorance on the roads).

      If you're into nature, health,'s great. If you're into culture as something that continues to evolve and advance, it's really mediocre at best.

      The political situation is not stable here. It is a dictatorship disguised as a democracy and there has been a lot of turmoil since the coup. I'm afraid Thailand will have much unrest in the upcoming years. I'm actually planning on moving back west next year because of this. (Also, I can't handle one more year of springtime "pollution season" where all the farmers burn their fields).

      For a much more well-rounded view of things than what I can offer, I highly recommend a visit to Type in the province that interests you the most and you will find thousands of voices expressing their opinions.

      Hope that helped. Also, here's another hub that may help:

      Cheers and good luck!

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 7 years ago from UK

      Any chance of picking your brains about living in Thailand? My wife and I are looking for an economical place to retire to. What would be the monthly cost of living in your area please? :-)))

    • EllenDean profile image

      EllenDean 7 years ago from Austin

      Hi ghomefitness, It sure did! Thanks! And, thanks for stopping by!

    • ghomefitness profile image

      ghomefitness 7 years ago from Chicago,IL

      It sounds like high health care costs in the states benefited you. Cool story.