Dollars and Dentists, the PBS Frontline Report on the Dental Care Crisis in America

The Australian News Program Sunday Night ran a recent report titled Sun, Sand and Surgery about why Australians are going overseas for medical and dental.

Here is a recent report from Frontline and the Center for Public Integrity on the dental care crisis in the USA. While under the Affordable Care Act everyone in America will receive medical health care, there is still no dental health coverage for adults, therefore there should be little change to Americans looking overseas for dental tourism and dental holidays to Thailand.

Watch Dollars and Dentists on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

OPG X-rays for All-on-Four and Other Dental Treatments

OPG Dental X-ray

Most people have had a an intraoral dental x-ray at one time or another. Intraoral x-rays are the ones in which the x-ray film is placed inside the mouth – the ones you bite down on , they are sometimes not the most comfortable dental x-rays. Advances in dental imaging technology have brought Orthopantomogram (OPG) dental x-ray machines into many dental offices.

Unlike intraoral x-rays the OPG x-ray machine takes a scan of the entire upper and lower jaw at the same time scanning the teeth and jaw bone from ear to ear. It takes about a minute and there is no x-ray film holders to bite down on. An OPG x-ray can show facial bones, teeth and sinuses all in one image 2D image.

For evaluating All-on-Four and other dental implant treatments, implant dentists rely on either OPG x-rays or 3D CT Scans to get a good look at the underlying bone where the implants will be placed. Implant dentists use OPG or 3D CT Scan to see if a patient is a candidate for dental implants, create treatment plans, cost estimates and quotes. From the images, the implant dentist can also see if bone or sinus grafting is needed as part of the dental implant treatment.

There are Film OPGs and Digital OPGs. Film OPGs provide one original. Digital OPGs can be copied and emailed, digital OPGs are simply uploaded to computer or emailed like a regular picture.

While scanning Film OPG x-rays onto a computer does work, the scanned Film OPG often turns out too dark to be evaluated. Special x-ray scanning machines are needed to properly digitize Film OPGs – home of office scanners will not work. For this reason, film OPG x-rays will probably be phased out over the next decade as more dentists increasingly use the more convenient, digital OPG format.

For more on OPGs, please see the OPG X-ray Reference Page on Wikipedia

Dental Holiday Excursions in Thailand by Air and Rail

The Hua Hin Rail Station at Night
The Hua Hin Rail Station at Night

Before or after your dental holiday, you may want to take an excursion from Bangkok and explore the North or South of  Thailand.

By Air

Some of the most popular airlinks in Thailand are Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Chaing Rai in the North and Bangkok to Phuket in the South, flights in either direction take about an hour

Last minute flights within Thailand are fairly easy to arrange and can be made online within a matter of minutes. The main last minute carriers in Thailand are Air Asia and Nok Air. Nok Air has a quick and easy online reservation system and covers the major and many regional airports in Thailand. And Air Asia has more destinations throughout Asia and beyond.

When booking online, with Air Asia you will need a credit card. Nok Air gives you the option to book online and pay for the ticket at any 7-11 in Thailand – if you do not have a credit card handy – they will send the booking number in a SMS to your mobile and just use that number to pay for the ticket at the 7-11 counter, now that’s convenient.

The discount carriers also have kiosks at the airports where you can buy tickets for future or same day flights. Thailand’s national airline, Thai Airways, also flies the most popular domestic routes and internationally.

A quick search today showed same day tickets from Bangkok to Phuket for around $99 one-way on Nok Air for example – they are less expensive when purchased in advance.

By Train

For the more adventurous there is the train. There are overnight sleeper trains heading north and south daily. The Bangkok – Chiang Mai Train takes about 11 hours to make the journey – the overnight journey costs around $25 – $45. The more modern trains have electric outlets in the compartment so you can charge your mobile or watch a movie on computer, but only some trains. So make sure to charge electronics before the trip. The train staff are quite friendly and make their way up and down the train regularly in case you need any food or refreshments.

You can buy dinner on the train, the food is a mostly Thai fare with non-spicy and spicier entrees – there are also vegetarian dishes – dinner costs around $5. Breakfast is served as well, Thai breakfast (soup) and American style breakfast.

Train tickets are available at the main train station in Bangkok. Your hotel’s travel desk can usually also arrange tickets.

Useful links

Nok Air

Air Asia

State Railway of Thailand


Dental Veneers Cost in Thailand

The average price of dental veneers in Thailand is 9,000 to 15,000 Thai Baht per porcelain veneer. That is around $288 to $480 Australian Dollars and around the same in US Dollars. In comparison there are published prices in Australia between $1,700 and $2,200 per porcelain veneer. In the USA, published prices for porcelain veneers start at $995.

Bangkok Dental Veneers Review: 'Perfection really, superior to previous dental visit in both US and Hong Kong.'
Smile Planners Porcelain Veneers Testimonial


What are dental veneers

A dental veneer is a thin shell that can change the shape of a tooth. With dental veneers cosmetic dentists can create a new, perfectly-shaped smile in days. A dental veneer can be made from composite or ceramic (porcelain). Composite veneers are less expensive then porcelain, with porcelain the higher end material and higher price tag. Dental veneers are metal-free.

Dental veneers are used on:

  • crooked
  • chipped
  • cracked
  • worn teeth

They are also used to treat severely stained teeth, in particular tetracycline stained teeth. Dental veneers can also be used to close the gaps between teeth.

Treatment time for porcelain veneers in Thailand

The treatment time varies between 7 to 10 days.

The price of dental veneers in Thailand

With this post, I want to take a look at the price of dental veneers in major cities in Thailand – Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai. The cost of porcelain veneers in Thailand by Smile Planners participating dentists, including porcelain (ceramic) veneers for 9,000 Thai Baht by Thailand’s top certified cosmetic dentists at Internationally Accredited Clinics.


Porcelain Dental Veneers in Thailand - Before and After
Porcelain Dental Veneers in Thailand – Before and After


Dental Veneers in Bangkok

*For Ceramic (Porcelain) veneers. Price is for regular, non-promotion cost per tooth.

InnoDENT – 12,000 to 14,000 Thai Baht

Promjai – 12,000 to 16,000 Thai Baht

BIDC – 10,000 Thai Baht to 12,000 Thai Baht

BSDG – 11,000 Thai Baht

Dental Veneers in Phuket

Dental Home – 10,000 Thai Baht

BSDG – 11,000 Thai Baht

Promjai – 12,000 to 16,000 Thai Baht

Dental Veneers in Pattaya

Dentist Beach – 9,000 Thai Baht

Dental Veneers in Chiang Mai

Dental For You – 10,000 Thai Baht

Grace – 10,000 to 12,000 Thai Baht – Starting at 10,000 Thai Baht

The range in Thailand is between 9,000 and 16,000 Thai Baht. The price can vary depending on the quality of materials and brand of ceramics.

Smile Planners works with Thai cosmetic dentists who studied cosmetic dentistry at Thailand’s top dental universities and internationally – in particular in the USA, UK and Australia. The senior specialist price is 9,000 Thai Baht per porcelain veneer in Bangkok. Porcelain veneers are completed in 7-10 days from the first appointment, 7-10 days is more time than other clinics may recommed other clinics may rush treatments, however our dentists do not rush veneers treatment believing that rushing does not allow enough time for tooth preparation, veneers creation in the dedicated lab, fittings and followup before the flight home. For more information see Smile Planners Dental Veneers Thailand Promotion.

Getting a Quote

From our experience working with cosmetic dentists in Thailand, we know that the dentists will need to see teeth pictures in order to create a recommendation and quote for dental veneers, it is important that the dental team see teeth photos to make sure that the teeth are suitable for veneers, since not every case is a candidate for veneers and it is better to establish this before the flight. The pictures need to be clear, close up and show as much teeth and gum as possible. There should be pictures taken from the front and right and left sides with teeth together and teeth pictures showing the upper and lower jaws’ teeth from the inside of the mouth.  The pictures can be taken with a regular digital camera, or mobile phone camera – the main thing is that the pictures are clear and close up. There is no wait list for veneers treatment.

This post is for editorial purposes and is not intended as an endorsement of the clinics in this price comparison. The prices are based on published dental veneers prices on the websites of the clinics mentioned.

All on 4 Implants Dental Holiday Package Extended Until August 31, 2012

All on 4 Dental Implants and All on 6 Dental Implants review
All on 6 and All-on-4 (tm) Dental Implant Reviews from Real Dental Holiday Travelers

The All on 4™ Implants Dental Holiday Package in Thailand will be extended until August 31, 2012. The dental holiday package includes 10 day complementary hotel, complementary airport car service and car service to all the dental appointments and back to the hotel. For more information on the All-on-4 Implants package, please visit Smile Planners Dental Holidays.

All on 4 Dental Implant Clinic in Thailand
Dental Implant Clinic in Thailand

In addition, with the dental holiday package, you are provided with a English-speaking, personal assistant from the dental implant clinic in Thailand to assist with all aspects of the dental holiday the moment you land in Thailand.

The All on 4™ Implants cost is 350,000 Thai Baht per arch in Thailand. If tooth extractions are required the cost is 1200 Thai baht per tooth. The average cost for study model and supplemental x-rays is 10,000 Thai baht. All taxes and implant dentist fees are included in the price. There are no hidden charges.

The All on 4™ Implants in Thailand can be completed in 10 days in most cases. The Thai implant dentist will have to evaluate if you are a candidate for immediate implants using the All on 4™ Implants technique.

All-on-4 Dental Clinic Thailand
Dental Implants Clinic in Thailand


Full smile reconstruction with dental implants and new teeth is as for people who are unhappy wearing dentures or people who are faced with the prospect of having to wear a denture. With dental implants and new teeth the implant dentist places dental implants in the jaw, a full set of new teeth is then permanently attached to the dental implants. Once in place the implant supported teeth will not slip, drop or move. The new teeth will look and function like a full set of permanent teeth. There is never a need for denture creams with implant supported teeth since they are permanently attached to the dental implants.

The new teeth are attached to the dental implants with special tools and techniques by the implant dentist. Once in place, only a trained implant dentist can remove the teeth.

Dental Implants and new teeth in Thailand cost up to 50 to 60 percent less than in the USA or Australia. According to published prices All on 4™ Implants can cost up to $25,000 per arch in the USA and Australia.

All on 4™ Implants technique uses 4 dental implants to support the new teeth. In some cases the implant dentist may recommend additional implants for maximum stability of the new teeth.

Contact Smile Planners Dental Holidays for your free, no obligation quote.

Nobel Biocare and All-on-4 Dental Implants are trademarks of the Nobel Biocare group.

Get All-on-4 Dental Implants in Thailand, Dental Holiday Package From Smile Planners

Smile Planners Dental Holidays has introduced a dental holiday promotion for people interested in getting rid of their ill-fitting dentures for good. The All-on-4 dental implants in Thailand promotion includes 4 dental implants plus fixed teeth completed in 10 to 14 days at the promotional price starting at 350,000 Thai Baht per arch in Bangkok or Phuket. Once in place the dental implants and new teeth will not slip or drop like dentures, it’s a new smile that you wear with confidence, day and night, 365 days a year. The All-on-4 promotion is offered with a selection of specially priced hotels nearby the Modern Bangkok Clinic specializing in dental implant treatments, including complementary Arrival and Departure Airport Car Service in Bangkok. Appointments can be made within 10 days of the dental team providing the online dental evaluation given clinic availability. All-on-4 Implants also offered in Phuket starting at 350,000 Thai Baht.

We know it’s a big trip, so in conjunction with the clinic’s international patient services department, we handle the planning for you. We coordinate and schedule your All-on-4™ dental implants with the specialty dental implant clinic. We also guarantee that all implant placement will be performed by Certified Implant Dentists practicing Immediate Load Dental Implants in Thailand. The All-on-4™ promotion includes specially priced hotels, including breakfast, swimming pool and fitness facilities. Included in the promotion is complimentary Airport Car Service in Thailand.

In order to make the All-on-4™ dental holiday as smooth as possible, we schedule your appointment, book your hotel and send a car and driver to pick you up at the airport and bring you to your hotel. After the complete treatment, car service chauffeurs you back to the airport for your return flight home or your further holiday destination in Thailand or Asia.

All-on-4™ Dental Implant Cost

The cost of All-on-4™ dental implants with new, replacement teeth in approximately 1 to 2 weeks in Thailand is up to 60% less than in the USA, Australia, the UK and EU among others countries as well. The cost of 4 dental implants plus a fixed teeth for one arch (upper or lower) costs up to 350,000 Thai Baht per arch. At the time of this post, that is around $11,605 AUD / $12,370 NZD / $10,901 USD / 6,379 GBP per arch.

If tooth extractions are required, the extractions and dental implants can be completed in the same trip. The cost of extractions depends on the size and location of the tooth, but on average an extraction costs 1,000 Thai Baht per tooth. That’s around $33. Extractions in Phuket start at 1,500 Thai Baht. Exchange rates based on 1 AUD=30.15 THB, 1 NZD=28.29 THB, 1 USD=32.10 THB, 1 GBP =54.86 THB, last updated on July 15, 2015.

Get a Free, No Obligation Quote

About the treatment

Implantologist in Thailand


For decades, dentures were the only option for people missing all their teeth. But over the years more and more implant dentists have been placing dental implants in the jaw and then attaching fixed teeth to the implants with special dental implant tools. The dental implant is made of titanium and works a lot like a person’s natural tooth root. Like a natural tooth root keeps a natural tooth firmly in place, the titanium dental implants keep the fixed teeth firmly in place. Titanium also has a special quality that makes it a great material for dental implants. Titanium attaches directly to the jaw bone in a process called Osseointegration, meaning the titanium implant sticks to the bone almost like being cemented to the jawbone, but through the Osseointegration process.

The Osseointegration of the dental implant to the jawbone makes the dental implant incredibly stable. Once the dental implants are in place, the implant dentist then attaches the fixed teeth (set of new teeth) to the 4 dental implants with specially designed dental implant tools and screws. Once the dental implant specialist bolts the new teeth into place only a dental implant specialist with special tools can remove it. Now firmly in place you can live a more active lifestyle, eat many of the foods you’ve been missing, and smile with confidence. You take care of your new implant teeth like you would your own natural teeth too with brushing.

About the All-on-4™ Technique

All on 4 Implants and Fixed Teeth

The All-on-4 Technique was developed in Europe. It uses specially designed tilting dental implants. The specially designed dental implants allow to the implant dentist to complete the treatment much faster than with conventional dental implant systems reducing the full mouth rehabilitation to 10 days instead of 6 months normally required with other dental implant techniques. In addition to a complete new smile in 10 days, the All-on-4™ Technique also allows the implant dentist to place the implants without the need for time-consuming and costly sinus grafting procedures.

About the Specialty Dental Implant Clinic

The Dental Implant Clinic is one of Thailand’s most modern dental providers with 2 locations in Bangkok performing the full dental implant treatments and English speaking dentists and support staff. The clinic has Thailand’s leading dental implant and cosmetic dentists, many of whom have studied overseas in the USA, Europe and Australia. The dental implant dentists on staff specialize in the All-on-4™ technique and immediate 1 trip dental implants in 10 to 14 days. The clinic and staff follow strict international dental instrument sterilization standards.

First Steps

First, call Smile Planners Dental Holidays or contact us by email. Second, receive a free evaluation. Third, get a quote. Forth, we schedule your appointment, book you hotel and car service and pick you up at the airport. Fifth, Get All-on-4™ in 10 Days (14 Days may be needed in certain cases). Fly Home or tour Thailand after the dental implant procedure.

About Smile Planners Dental Holidays

Smile Planners Dental Holidays is one of the leading dental holiday companies offering dental holiday planning services and packages to people from around the globe looking for quality, affordable dental treatments. We partner with leading dental clinics, intentionally accredited hospitals, medical financing companies, travel insurance companies and international hotels in order to offer our dental travelers the most comprehensive customer service before, during and after their dental holiday.

About Thailand

Thailand is a global leader in health and wellness travel. With a wealth of internationally trained medical and dental specialists and internationally accredited hospitals and medical and dental facilities, Thailand is well positioned to handle every type of health travel procedure from medical to dental. In addition, Thailand is also one of the world’s top holiday destinations with international hotels, restaurants, shops and world-class shopping. Bangkok’s main international airports is one of Asia’s newest with daily flights from every continent and flights to destinations in Thailand such as Phuket and Chiang Mai and other destinations within Asia.

A valid passport is required to travel to Thailand. Many travelers, including those from Australia, the EU and the USA, receive 30 days upon arrival at the airport. For visitors staying over 30 days a tourist visa is required and can be obtained at the Thai Consulate or Embassy in your home country. If you are traveling to Thailand from countries other then those mentioned above please consult with your local Thai Consulate regarding required travel documents.

All-on-4 is a trademark of the Nobel Biocare group.

Winners of Thailand Dental Tourism and Medical Tourism Blog Contest Announced

A while back I had mentioned that the Tourism Authority of Thailand was holding a contest for the best medical tourism and dental tourism blog. Well, the winners of the contest have been announced for the two categories, the most visited blog and the best blog content.

The writer of the most visited medical travel blog, Ivan Henares, won in cash and prizes a total of $10,000. The winner of the best medical and dental tourism blog content, Michael Rose, won $5000 is cash and prizes.

The winners were selected from 12 finalists who were invited to Thailand to tour the country’s most popular dental holiday and medical holiday destinations, like Phuket, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Samui. The finalists then blogged about their experience in Thailand. Congratulations to the winners.

You can read the first place medical tourism blog here.

And the second place winner’s blog here.

Dental Holiday Interview with Reporter Ben Keene

Here are excerpts from a recent interview with reporter Ben Keene and Smile Planners Matt Kelleher about medical and dental tourism.

How long have you been with Smile Planners and how would you describe the dental holiday niche in terms of its business maturity?

I started Smile Planners in 2008. Dental holidays are as mature a niche as other medical holidays. Many of the leading medical tourism hospitals also have in-house dental centers that have been offering dental as well as medical procedures.

Do you offer packages to other countries besides Thailand? What makes this country unique? Does it have more or less appeal than other destinations?

This year, Smile Planners began offering dental holidays in India. Thailand is unique in that it is one of the original medical tourism and dental tourism destinations, so hospitals and clinics have a wealth of experience within the industry, in addition, Thailand has a highly developed tourist infrastructure to accommodate health and wellness travelers.

Who are you appealing to and what’s the average cost for a dental holiday? How does this compare to costs for similar procedures in other countries?

Smile Planners is appealing to anyone how has been priced-out of receiving dental work locally. This includes the uninsured, the under-insured, the self employed or anyone looking for affordable dental care. For bigger procedures like full mouth reconstruction with dental implants and bridges, the cost savings can be 50%. I have talked with people who have been quoted over $45,000 at home for a procedure that will cost half that in Thailand. Even with flight and accommodation that is considerable savings.

Does Smile Planners specialize in anything in particular to attract customers?

Smile Planners can assist any dental traveler for dental veneers, crowns, bridges. And while we work with cosmetic dentists, we also work with implant dentists, whose focus is on complete smile makeovers and smile reconstruction with full mouth dental implants and bridges, this is often refered to as All on 4 Implants or All on 6 Implants. This is the decade of the baby boomer generation, a generation that is enjoying a much more active lifestyle then previous generations and many people are interested in the full smile reconstructions that Smile Planners facilitates.

Would you talk about the amount of repeat business you’ve receive?

People who have had a dental holiday in Thailand will often refer a friend to Smile Planners and sometimes friends or family will go on a dental holiday together.

If something doesn’t go as planned what sort of protection or recourse do they have?

Smile Planners mitigates the chance of complications by working with the best dentists and clinics. The treatments performed in Thailand or any country are performed under local health and consumer regulations. Smile Planners does offer supplemental medical tourism insurance for purchase. In addition, individual clinics can offer workmanship guarantees. For instance, Bangkok Smile Dental Group, who we work with, offers a Smile Guarantee, that they will they will honor at their clinics in Thailand.

How do you select the doctors/health care providers you decide to work with?

Smile Planners works with dentists that have leading international training, such as with American and European Universities and affiliations with organizations like the International Congress of Oral Implantologists. We also work with a JCI International accredited hospital and dental center in Bangkok, JCI is the international division of the organization that accredits US hospitals.