Reason 237 to live in South East Asia: Dental care
I suppose you could swap in "medical care" in a general sense at least for Thailand for this article and no, I have not done 236 other entries I am just being silly.
In Thailand, and from what I have heard this is also true in Malaysia and Laos, dental care is available everywhere and it cost a fraction of what it costs at least back in USA and UK to get the work done. It is so inexpensive that I wonder 2 things:
- How is it possible for it to be this cheap?
- Are we just ripping everyone off in the west?
Let's forget the silly names of most dental clinics for a while because this is something that is just extremely normal in Thailand. I guess professionals don't feel the need to be so damn serious about their clinic because all the dental clinics I visited in the USA was just Dr (insert name) Dental or something along those lines. The silly names of the clinics like "Dental 4U" might be a turnoff for some westerners but I can assure you that the quality of care is at least as good at these places as they are in the west (at least the USA, which is the only other country I have gotten dental care in before.)
The other day I went to "Happy Smile" dental clinic and this decision was based on two things alone: I needed to go to the dentist and this one was the closest to my house. You normally approach situations like this in Thailand with a little bit of fear of being double charged because of your nationality so before I booked an appointment I asked the receptionist how much a cleaning was, which was a good place to start as far as gauging how much this might end up costing me.
When she told me 500 Baht (which is less than $20) I was just astounded and asked her to repeat her answer. She repeated and I heard correctly. Then I started to think about how much it used to cost me to get a cleaning in the USA and the answer is more than 6 times that amount. I don't think you can even speak to a dentist unless you know him or her outside of work for $20.
I was being a judgmental foreigner when I presumed that this diminished cost was probably going to come packaged with a dentist that didn't know what they were doing and archaic equipment that the Russian military had offloaded at a discount or something but what I actually encountered was very different.
What I discovered was a degree on the wall in the lobby of the dentist who had actually studied in the United States and was certified there. Ok, I guess that is a good thing. Then I got to the room where they work on you to discover the most advanced looking equipment that I had ever seen including monitors where the person working on your could show you in real time any issues they discovered in your mouth. This might be commonplace now but I had never seen this before in dentist offices in the States.
Also, the cleaning was the most painless I had ever experienced in my life. We all hate those tartar scrapers but they had some ultra modern diamond-tipped something or other that I could barely feel except for the odd time where they hit a sensitive part of your teeth that most people are unaware of until the dentist hits it.
By the end of it, I also had some veneer composite work done on two of my teeth and the redid it much better than had ever been performed in the USA. This was actually the main reason why I was there because this "resin' or whatever it is will break over time and that is what happened to me. Getting these veneers done or redone in the States would have cost me $300 easily. It was a grand total of around $28 for two teeth in this clinic.... all done as well or perhaps even better than it had been performed back in the USA.
By the time I left I had spent less than $50 on what likely would have been $400 to $500 worth of work back "home." All this was performed by a doctor that is just as qualified as their American counterparts in an office that was far more modern than any I have ever seen back in the west.
This makes me think even more so that we are really taking the piss as far as medical care is concerned back in the west. It is such a fantastic deal that in the future if I don't live here anymore I may actually SAVE MONEY by flying over here for vacation, staying at a resort for a week, and having a dentist appointment in Thailand rather than go to my local dentist back home. That is both pathetic and amazing at the same time.