How much does a dentist cost in The Philippines?
We’ve all heard of medical tourism. A term used to describe the practice of going overseas for medical treatment while on holiday. This can also be said of dentistry.
Cost of a dentist in Asia compared to the USA or Europe
In the United Kingdom dentistry and dental work used to be so expensive that people often waited until there annual overseas holiday to get work done. Spain is a common destination with work up to 50% cheaper than back in the UK.
Nowadays Europe as a whole has become expensive. So people are looking further afield to places like Asia, where the cost is still much much lower.
Likewise in the USA where dental work is near astronomical in price. People have often done the math and worked out that a holiday to Asia, plus dental work can work out the same as just dental work back home!
But is there a catch?
How good are dentists in The Philippines?
In my time here I’ve been to a dentist four times. Here’s what I have experienced.
There is a lower, middle and upper class dentist.
- Lower is generally the old local dentist that resides in a small office in town
- Middle class dentists are modern and well-trained. Many work as corporate dentists and have surgeries both in a private clinic, and in a big company.
- Upper class dentists deal with cosmetic dental work to the movie stars, people who want to be movie stars, singers and politicians. The odd diplomat and the excessively wealthy
I recommend you hunt out the middle class dentist. They usually have a practice in an office block within a city. They also have offices in Malls, but I’ve not come across any that felt comfortable with there.
Are dentists safe in The Philippines
Yes! Most of the dentists I have come across or visited have been trained in the USA. Or at least practiced there at some stage. As most might know, North Americans have a thing about perfect teeth. And, this has carried over to The Philippines where the perfect white smile is very important to many.
I have also seen some of the best, and most modern equipment anywhere in the world appear in dental clinics in The Philippines. Dental chairs with high-speed drills, cameras, and cleaning brushes are well established here.
Composite fillings (resin white) are preferred over amalgamate (metal).
What can I have done to my teeth in The Philippines?
Everything from cleaning, and fillings. To straightening, bonding, whitening and root canals.
My experience with a dentist in The Philippines
After 6 years of travel, you can be sure that I’ve seen more than one dentist. All, I am happy to say for cleaning. But, unfortunately last year my wisdom teeth showed signs of problems. For anyone that doesn’t know why this occurs here’s why:
Wisdom teeth arrive when we are about 21 years old. There job is to take the place of other molars that should have fallen out, or been damaged by then. They are natures back up teeth. But, as we have learned to look after our teeth more, many of us don’t lose any teeth by the time the wisdom teeth arrive. So they can cause problems like squashing our teeth. Not emerging properly. Or pain.
In my case the problem is that they were so far back against my jaw, all the brushing in the world could not reach them. So before this journey, I had two removed. The remaining two finally showed signs of trouble forming last year. So this year I took the measure of having them also removed.
I don’t know where I will be in 6 months time, so if these start to give me problems, I could be in for a world of hurt. Prevention over cure.
The dental work I had done
First up the dentist examined my teeth and we looked at each one with a magnifying camera. This is possibly the best thing I have seen in dentistry. Quite simply you can see what the dentist can.
How many people often wonder if the dentist is telling the truth? With a dental camera you can see for yourself
Then with local anestheticthe dentist quickly removed both teeth with less trouble than the previous dentist. I’d been given antibiotics to take before hand. And, felt not a thing during the procedure.
There was little bleeding. That evening I will admit I has in pain, and bleeding. But I have a slight allergy to local anestheticthat gives me a headache. But, the next day things were much better.
There is still some tenderness around the gum, but all in all it was a professional job.
Cost of dental treatments in The Philippines
This will vary depending on location, and class of dentist but generally in USD:
- Check up $6
- Cleaning $11 – 16
- Filling $11 – 16
- Extraction $11 -16
- Front bonding $ 55
From what I know, this is some of the cheapest dental work, at the highest level of standard anywhere in the world. The only other place I know like this is Thailand which is well-known for walk in dental “shops” in Bangkok and Chiang Mai with similar prices.
What to be careful of when choosing a dentist in The Philippines?
Get your haircut in a well established mall first. Why? When you do you’ll get an idea of how “Hollywood” like Filipino’s treat their hair. Women in the Philippines get all sorts of treatments done to their hair here. As do the men. I don’t know too many male barber shops that will want to give you hair strengthening treatments, anti dandruff treatment, hair loss treatment etc. All this, and there’s nothing wrong with your hair in the first place!
Get my point?
Yes, the Philippines is very much on the everything should be cosmetically perfect. Hair, eyes, teeth, skin. Everything has many treatments.
So, you need to be very assertive when going into a dentist in The Philippines. Otherwise you might leave with a set of braces, a new whitened smile, and implants etc.
Tell them, you want to know what they are doing, before they are doing it. And then ask “How much?”
With this said, and understood, you should be fine.
Places to avoid dentists around the world!
China! Horror stories of miscommunication, and bad practice have come out of here. If you need dental treatment in China, try to find a recommend one. Or one diplomats use.
Nepal has a lot of … “different” types of dentists. If you need dental work here, seek out a clinic that’s treating expats and diplomats.
Morocco have dentists everywhere. Sadly, it seems their main job is removal of teeth!
Long term travel and dental care
I’ve never seen this mentioned anywhere before. But when people go on round the world trips, or one year plus travel journey’s very often their teeth take a back seat once they hit the road. Big mistake.
Every six months your should get your teeth cleaned, and checked up. Travel lifestyles vary. But quite often that nightly brush doesn’t always happen. And more often than not you are eating and drinking sugary drinks more than normal. All this mounts up.
And, you really, really don’t want to be in some countries and get that almighty jabbing pain and have to look for a dentist.
So, my advice. On your journey, mark out at least one or two countries where you can stop off to have a cheap dental check up.
It might be interesting if you could leave a comment with the average cost of a clean or filling plus your experience of a dentist from your own country!
Or, your own experience of seeing a dentist when traveling!
Note: This article can and has helped people in making informed decisions in choosing a dentist in The Philippines. However the amount of dentists leaving comment spam is quite high thus making it difficult to see a for profit business versus genuine recommendation etc.
All comments in this article are monitored and held for moderation. Dentists, or their relations, leaving continuous and or blatant links to their businesses will be reported as spammers, IP address recorded and said comment will never appear.
People offering genuine advice, experience and referrals are very welcome and free to leave comments.
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