With the possibility of new trade laws and barriers, dental practices must take a look at how they may be affected in the future. People usually think of trade in terms of technology and machinery. But medical tourism across other borders and countries may also increase in the future, due to economic repercussions. Americans looking to lower dental costs will likely cross the border to find a cheap dentist–and there is no shortage of countries willing to cash in on medical tourism.
Lower Dental Costs in Other Countries
In the United States, costs are rising due to trade barriers restricting cheaper imports of dental hardware. In 2016, the Fitch group reported almost 44 billion USD for imports such as dental prosthetics. Nearly 40 percent of dental restorations are produced outside the U.S.
Many of these were pieces manufactured in countries as far away as The Philippines and Vietnam. For Americans looking for a quick fix to their dental problems, Mexico remains the closest and easiest country to access medical care at a very low cost.
China is another country where dental restorations are carried out daily, and implants and fixtures are manufactured at low labor costs. At the same time, American based labs may not be producing higher quality, and so may be soon going out of business.
And what about the profits for dental manufacturing? Because much of the dental hardware manufacturing is being carried out offshore, and technology is enabling robots to take over, the local workforce is dwindling, as private businesses suffer.
“We had to either go digital or go out of business,” said Dennis Lanier of Lab 2000 in Georgia, “We at one time had 49 employees and we did less work than we are doing now with 12.”
Current Dental Production Costs in the USA
The costs of dental care for Americans continues to increase. Figures show a yearly increase of about $334 to $357 per capita. And while insurance covers some medical costs, some people still have to pay their own way to sufficient health. And the country is likely to see increased spending with the future of national health insurance policies.
Some agencies predict that in less than ten years’ time, the cost of the country’s dental care alone could likely hit $200 billion.
Considerations for Dental Work Overseas
It is best to proceed with extreme caution when looking to other nations to provide dental care and follow-up support. When deciding between dental plans and insurance, patients should consider the total costs of procedures and quality of dentists. Also, patients must check legalities and the possible lawsuits which may result as a consequence of malpractice by foreign doctors or health practitioners.
Researching all options thoroughly before traveling to seek medical aid elsewhere is the best course of action. Doing the homework before setting to out to “quickly” fix a dental problem can save patients time, money and convenience in the long run. With no caps on spending and low annual fees, dental plans can help you save more than insurance plans can.
The prerequisite for finding the right dentist to work on one’s case must always be whether the medical group has the patient’s best interests in mind. Americans must be prepared to pay the price for quality work and proper technology. Or, decide that medical work done haphazardly is one risk they don’t want to take.