If you are from Britain then quite honestly, you would be mad not to visit a Thai dentist instead. Here are the reasons why:
First of all you will save a ton of money, often with enough money saved on dental treatment to pay for a holiday in Thailand, or a large percentage of the cost of flying over. Also, in Britain it is a painful process just to find a dentist who will ‘put you in his/her books’ and you may have to travel a long distance to even find one. We know one lady living in England who has to travel all the way to Wales just to see her dentist, which is just plain ridiculous. Trying to get on the books of an NHS dentist is near on impossible, with NHS dentists being a very rare find. Many Thai people staying in Britain fly back to Thailand for dental treatment, often reporting that it is almost impossible to even find a dentist easily.
Another positive point is that you can often turn up to a dental clinic in Thailand and make an appointment for that very same day. Whereas, after actually finding a dentist in Britain, you may have to wait in pain for an appointment for the next week. Thai dentists generally work differently to British dentists, as they work with smaller drills and take time to clear any areas of decay. If you’ve ever had your hair cut in Thailand you will notice that they use very small and gentle cutting actions and take their time, which is in line with Thai dentists’ style of taking their time to do a good job on your teeth, and not drilling out any unaffected areas of your tooth. If you have a filling at a dentists in Thailand they will then ask you to gently bite down on rice paper. Opposite from the world known infamous way that British dentists just drill into the tooth to create a large bore hole to save time. Are British dentists really that bad? Well, around the world British dentists are notorious, with many shows, such as The Simpsons, showing British people with teeth riddled with fillings.
British NHS dentists have a notorious past, in that in the 1970s & 80s they were paid per filling, so many of them would turn up to schools as ‘the school dentist’ and go crazy with the drill, often boring holes into children’s teeth unnecessarily. One of the writers here was told he needed four fillings and that his teeth were terrible back when he was a child, but when his parents took him to an independent dentist he was told that there was nothing wrong with his teeth. Scary . . .
The Silent Man With Pliers
A word of warning: Make sure you use a reputable dentist in Thailand, preferably via recommendations from friends or local Thai people or professional companies. Ask around to find out which dentists are the best and also the best price. Although a little bit more expensive, it is best to use an accredited dentistry, such as the ones that you will find in Thai hospitals or in Malls. Yes, there are back street small dental clinics, but you should only use these after many recommendations. One of the staff members here had toothache and visited one of these backstreet dentists, where a silent old man came out and gave her an anaesthetic injection and proceeded to poke around the area of the infected tooth; then without prior warning he just yanked the tooth out, leaving shattered bits of tooth around the root area. It was a painful lesson, as she then had to visit a reputable dentist (in Central Rama II) where the professional dentist was shocked at the amateur dentist’s work, then did a fantastic job of cleaning up the damage.
At the time of writing it is fashionable to have silver fillings in Thailand, so if you want white fillings it is best to specify this before getting any treatment. Otherwise they may assume that you want silver fillings in line with the current fashion.
Do Your Own Research
The last tip is to do your own research to find a good dentist. Do not rely on websites directing you to overpriced dentists in the centre of Bangkok or in tourist areas, especially Phuket or Hua Hin in particular, where scams and overpricing for tourists abound. Go to a non-tourist area, to a recommended dentist which local Thai people or long stay expats use regularly.
Another point is that in Thailand, young dentists are preferred over older dentists, which may seem unfair but most Thai people will trust dentists who have been trained in modern methods. The opposite to Britain where older dentists are seen as more experienced. So if your dentist comes in with a cane looking 80 years old with a rock and a chisel in his hands, hightail it out of there as fast as you can 😉
If you do your research well, you are guaranteed to save a ton of money, have as pleasant an experience as you can at the dentists and enjoy your time in sunny Thailand at the same time.