As American Dental Costs Expand, Consumers Look to Alternatives Abroad
While the United States has undoubtedly been a progressive force of change throughout the modern world, one major sector stands out where the nation fails its constituents: healthcare. As the country’s peers like the United Kingdom and Denmark offer its citizens full-service public health care, the United States remains fixated on a privatized system only somewhat supplemented by U.S. government alternatives -- something 56 percent of Americans say should be the full responsibility of the U.S. government according to a 2021 Gallup poll. But where the U.S. truly falters is in the care of its population’s teeth, as dental care is not basically included in neither public nor private insurance options.
Meanwhile, teeth are widely regarded as one of the most important parts of the human anatomy, allowing people to eat and chew, speak clearly and give the face a proper shape. Likewise, teeth play an important role in first impressions, with nearly one-third of polled Americans saying that teeth are the first thing they notice when they meet a person, and the quality of such has a direct correlation to the success of job opportunities or romantic pursuits and even the perception of intelligence.
As such, Americans are without the economic means to pay out of pocket for dental care are left between a rock and a hard place; without viable insurance options, more than 25.9 percent of U.S. citizens between the ages of 18 and 44 have some form of tooth decay from lack of care, which could ultimately lead to further damage to both their dental structure and their personal reception in society.
Thus, people have begun looking outside of their native United States and into foreign countries to seek treatment, as low costs and high quality of dental care in countries like Mexico and Costa Rica make both a practical and attractive alternative to financially burdened U.S. citizens. While orthodontia in the United States can reach up to $6,000 on average, braces in Mexico can start as low as $400 -- a startling 15x less!
Those worried about travel costs will quickly realize that the price tag of a flight and hotel stay are easily offset by the savings and treatment, and beyond, with the medically inspired getaway still accumulating huge savings as an alternative to U.S. care in their very hometown. In fact, many foreign clinics looking to entice U.S. consumers will offer full-scale all-inclusive packages, making the trip and any needed recovery to feel like its very own vacation.
Though slow forays are being made into incorporating dental care into the U.S. public healthcare system, those looking for an immediate cost-efficient alternative will find dentistry-focused medical tourism to be the no-brainer choice for all their tooth-related needs moving forward.
Mary Schreiber Swenson, PhD
Founder & CEO mymedchoices, Inc