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You are here: Home Health & Fitness Healthcare Show your pearls: tips on finding a dentist
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25/01/2011Show your pearls: tips on finding a dentist

Show your pearls: tips on finding a dentist Helpful hints and tips when looking for a professional and experienced dentist in your country.

Private dentistry costs in some countries have caused many patients searching for dentists to travel abroad, from Thailand to Panama, an act known as dental tourism. According to the 2007 International Passenger Survey 100,000 UK residents traveled abroad for healthcare, the majority for dental and cosmetic treatment.

Though expats living in Europe needn't travel far for a reliable dentist at an affordable price. As an expat dentist for almost five years, and member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Thomas Tsang has seen his fair share of expats and "dental tourists" in the Netherlands -- a country with one of the lowest dental price ceilings in the EU. Still, finding a dentist that suits an expat’s expectations takes a bit of shopping around; here are some helpful tips on how to pick a pro in your country of residence:

Look at where the dentist received training

Each country sets a certain standard that dentists are required to meet, yet requirements fluctuate from place to place. Although dental qualifications in EU countries are required to reach a minimum approved by their government, the General Dental Council (GDC) in the UK agrees that researching health regulations and professional dental bodies in your country abroad will help you reach educated decisions.

“When I’m looking for a dentist I look for diplomas, certificates and continued education courses,” says Tsang, who spent five years at Berkeley, two years at Harvard and four years at Baylor College of Dentistry. Websites like healthregulation.org generate lists of regulatory body websites per country where users can check on dental qualifications and other healthcare-related fields.


AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEK

Did the dentist receive enough patient practice during training?

The Council of European Dentists offer downloadable publications with helpful information via the EU Manual of Dental Practice -- including detailed guidelines for dentists who wish to practice in the EU, from legal to ethical regulations.

Regardless, don't be shy to ask for credentials. Tsang recalls needing to perform hundreds of crowns and cavity fillings during his residency training at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, before proceeding on as a professional.

Spill the medical history beans

Assessments and paper work are one thing, but a new dentist means opening your mouth not only for an inside look but an inside story on your previous dental and related medical work. Tell the dentist your full medical history. The GDC specifically recommends insisting on informing your dentist abroad of any "serious illnesses, chronic medical conditions, if you're a smoker and if you've have surgery or general anesthetic in the past."

Look for extra training after graduation

Extra training keeps professionalism fresh in the minds of dentists, especially when it comes to technological advances in the field. GDC states that dentists who claim to be specialists in a particular dental field should always be asked for certificates that can back up their claim. Just like with most professions, freshness and updates keep skills healthy and modern.

Your dentist’s knowledge of advanced tools and techniques can open up more possibilities in your dental care. Just because an older dentist says a procedure is not possible doesn’t mean a dentist with up-to-date technology can’t do it. Whether it's a digital X-ray machines with low exposure and fast results or options for clear braces and light-weight materials, dental technology in the 21st centure should not be underestimated. 

 
Find a familiar environment

SafeDentistry recommends visiting websites, researching online and looking for complaint forums or reviews boards to help pinpoint a suitable dentist when abroad.

“When I’m looking for a dentist I like to feel more comfortable,” says Tsang. From hospitals with paintings to doctors with bookshelves, those extra added touches go a long way. Additionally, find a dentist fluent in your language – Tsang says no patient should struggle to be understood with dentists who claim to be English-speaking.


"As much as dentists say they practice the same industry, at the end of the day you want to go to places where everyone understands you."

"Be careful of dentists who promise immediately that everything is going to be fine or that it’s not going to hurt. I like to give people worst-case scenarios because they should know,” says Tsang. One warning sign of inexperience is a dentist who doesn’t listen. Whether it’s a patient’s request for anesthetics or patient’s concern for procedure, an honest discussion leads to a better understand of both the patient and the dentist.


Some questions to consider (provided by GDC):

- Who will be carrying out my treatment and what qualifications do they have?
- Will the dental team speak English? If not, will you provide a translator on the day of the procedure?
- Do you have any references or testimonials from previous patients?
- How many times have you carried out the procedure I am having? What are the rates of success, complication, re-admission and infection?
- Are you regulated by a professional body and do you have to be registered with them?
- Is the work guaranteed for a certain period of time?
- What aftercare do you provide?
- If there are complications and I need further treatment, is this included in the initial cost?
- Do you have a complaints system in place? Can I see a copy of it?
- Who can I contact for advice after the treatment?

Editor / Expatica

Information from this article is from aacd.com, HealthRegulation.org, General Dental Council in the UK, SafeDentistry.co.ukAssociation for Dental Education in Europe, and the Council of European Dentists. Dr. Tsang is an expat dentist at AmsterdamDental.com.



Readers' recommendations


Amalia Clinic in Kerkrade (English spoken)
Limburg, Netherlands




6 reactions to this article

LJK posted: 2011-01-26 17:38:35

If you are in the Limburg Netherlands region I HIGHLY recommend the dental practice that we use. They advertise as being special for people who are scared but I"m the only one who is cared and our entire family now goes there. They listen really well to your concerns and will put you to sleep if you want. They are GREAT with children and neither of my kids is scared like I am and 1 had to have 3 cavities filled while asleep at age 6. He's an autistic child and they were able to meet his needs very well. Additionally we pay for an extra package on our health insurance so that we never see dental bills. They are a very professional practice that reminds me of being in my home country (USA). The first dentist I saw here operated out of his home, watched utensils in a kitchen sink and told me to shut up when I cried. We switched right away. I'd love to spare others of that horror I experienced! Anyway the practice is called the Amalia Clinic in Kerkrade and they also speak English and it's never been a problem.

planetearth posted: 2011-03-05 10:47:14

"Be careful of dentists who promise immediately that everything is going to be fine or that it’s not going to hurt. I like to give people worst-case scenarios because they should know,” says Tsang.

Since when did Dutch dentists promise it wouldn't hurt lol. ? Modern dentistry should NOT hurt. Go to London if you have to.

planetearth posted: 2011-03-05 10:49:49

www.dentalfearcentral.org Non-profit dental anxiety website for patients and sympathetic dentists.

kerrie posted: 2011-05-16 12:25:39

I am looking for a dentist in Amsterdam, i am needle/dentist phobia (i know that most dutch dentists take the PAH just open up - kind of approach) but i really need to see an dentist as the years of fear have caused the dental work i now need build up ! all help appreciated ! :/

planetearth posted: 2011-05-16 14:04:45

This guy posts on dental fear central but is in the Hague:
http://www.dentalfearcentral.org/forum/showthread.php?13695-The-Hague-The-Netherlands-you-can-heal-your-fear

Kathy Smith posted: 2012-07-11 16:33:43

This is not always easy to find a good dental specialist here in Belgium ... my husband had some problems with the dentist which took care of him ...

Horrible !

Be really careful with that ...

Some good websites in Belgium propose to give advices and tips ... Eleonore my niece found some interesting tips on this one

http://www.welcometobelgium.net/proper-dental-care-for-expats-in-belgium/

I hope this could be helpful to you

Cheers

Kate

6 reactions to this article

LJK posted: 2011-01-26 17:38:35

If you are in the Limburg Netherlands region I HIGHLY recommend the dental practice that we use. They advertise as being special for people who are scared but I"m the only one who is cared and our entire family now goes there. They listen really well to your concerns and will put you to sleep if you want. They are GREAT with children and neither of my kids is scared like I am and 1 had to have 3 cavities filled while asleep at age 6. He's an autistic child and they were able to meet his needs very well. Additionally we pay for an extra package on our health insurance so that we never see dental bills. They are a very professional practice that reminds me of being in my home country (USA). The first dentist I saw here operated out of his home, watched utensils in a kitchen sink and told me to shut up when I cried. We switched right away. I'd love to spare others of that horror I experienced! Anyway the practice is called the Amalia Clinic in Kerkrade and they also speak English and it's never been a problem.

planetearth posted: 2011-03-05 10:47:14

"Be careful of dentists who promise immediately that everything is going to be fine or that it’s not going to hurt. I like to give people worst-case scenarios because they should know,” says Tsang.

Since when did Dutch dentists promise it wouldn't hurt lol. ? Modern dentistry should NOT hurt. Go to London if you have to.

planetearth posted: 2011-03-05 10:49:49

www.dentalfearcentral.org Non-profit dental anxiety website for patients and sympathetic dentists.

kerrie posted: 2011-05-16 12:25:39

I am looking for a dentist in Amsterdam, i am needle/dentist phobia (i know that most dutch dentists take the PAH just open up - kind of approach) but i really need to see an dentist as the years of fear have caused the dental work i now need build up ! all help appreciated ! :/

planetearth posted: 2011-05-16 14:04:45

This guy posts on dental fear central but is in the Hague:
http://www.dentalfearcentral.org/forum/showthread.php?13695-The-Hague-The-Netherlands-you-can-heal-your-fear

Kathy Smith posted: 2012-07-11 16:33:43

This is not always easy to find a good dental specialist here in Belgium ... my husband had some problems with the dentist which took care of him ...

Horrible !

Be really careful with that ...

Some good websites in Belgium propose to give advices and tips ... Eleonore my niece found some interesting tips on this one

http://www.welcometobelgium.net/proper-dental-care-for-expats-in-belgium/

I hope this could be helpful to you

Cheers

Kate

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