Sometimes I really am ashamed of my industry . No, I am not talking about the dental profession per say, it is the dental tourism profession I am referring to. We had a patient in the Antalya clinic this week who had been overseas twice for dental treatment but returned back to the UK without treatment. You are wondering… Why? After the fluffy and informative emails, sending his photos and dental X-Rays and taking time away from his work to travel abroad for treatment the cost of his treatment was dramatically increased. Personally I take my hat off to him for walking away and not feeling pressured into paying the increased amount. This happened not once, but twice!!! He was so worried about travelling abroad again and we spoke about this issue at length before somehow I persuaded him that we were different and the dental treatment in our clinic in Turkey was ethical.
The prices quoted by his local dentist were too far away from his budget therefore he was left with no choice other than to book his third dental holiday and have his long awaited treatment completed. He was appreciative of everything, the hotel arrangement, the pick-up service, the dentists and the people that looked after him but most of all he said he appreciated the honesty and the fact that it cost him exactly how much we said it would cost him. Instead of making me feel proud this actually made me feel disappointed. Not in ourselves but in the industry we are a part of.
I do not know why some clinics still think they will win by stretching the bill as far as they can and sending a patient home who is ultimately, unhappy. I can understand if you have not seen a recent X-Ray so you cannot make a clear treatment plan but even in these cases you should be alerting the patient before they travel that the price can increase following their arrival and a full examination. If this continues to happen it will ruin the reputation of the dental tourism industry that is already fighting to prove clinics abroad can operate professionally and ethically.
Not only am writing this blog post but I am also writing a letter to the two clinics concerned to voice my opinion from one dental professional to another (cough!). If I receive a response I will write again but I am not holding my breath…