Dentistry in Thailand
Talking to an old friend who had lived in Bangkok for two years he one day mentioned that he had some dental work done whilst there and the quality was very good. I didn’t think too much of that for awhile until some months later I found myself needing a tooth implant and was quoted $Aust 6,000 plus. At that point I started looking on the internet for dentists in Bangkok most of which quoted fixed prices of 65,000 baht (A$2,500). Decision made I was flying to Bangkok on a return airfare of A$845. The hotel cost A$600 for seven nights and was one of the best I have stayed in.
Arrived 5am at the new airport and it was the fastest collection of luggage and immigration I’ve ever had, all up less than 30 minutes which would normally have been great except that John wasn’t arriving from Singapore until 10am, a five hour wait. In hindsight I should have just taken my own cab to Sukumvit. I’d made an appointment with the Bangkok International Dental Centre (BIDC) for 5pm (they are open until 8pm 7 days a week). My hotel was only a short walk from the new MRT with BIDC being only a 20 baht trip. I arrived at the appointed time and at 5pm was seeing the consultant. A full mouth X-Ray, a smaller X-Ray and full tooth clean cost A$60. The X-Ray equipment was the most modern I have ever seen. Last dental visit here my dentist didn’t even ask if I wanted my teeth cleaned but still charged A$50. I was able to nominate which day I wanted the implant done and an appointment was made. Guess I’d have to have booked months in advance back in Australia. The approach at BIDC was so relaxed and matter of fact I wondered why I’d had any concerns at all.
So I had a few days to kill whilst waiting for my appointed day. John and his new Thai wife became my tour guides taking me to places of interest such as Nana Plaza, Soi Cowboy and various freelance joints. The time passed quickly. Some of those Thai girls are stunning but being a tight arse accountant I thought 2000 baht was a bit steep considering the average monthly wage in Thailand is around 6000 baht. Perhaps inflation has taken its toll and to be fair I was comparing prices with what I’d paid in the Phillipines 12 years earlier. John did however comment that prices have risen in Bangkok and was outraged to be charged 250 baht for a cocktail drink in Soi Cowboy. I wonder what impact continuing low cost airfares will have in the future?
Arriving back at BIDC for the tooth implant the surgeon who spoke perfect English explained the procedure and told me he had done over 500 implants. All up the procedure took less than an hour. I should have taken the MRT back to the hotel instead of a taxi as we got caught in yet another traffic jam and a trip which should have taken 15 minutes took closer to 30. I had allowed two days in my itinerary to recover before flying home however found that after a few hours I felt fine and was able to have a meal that evening and felt quite well enough for other activities as well. BIDC recommended that I have some filling replaced whilst in Bangkok so on my last day I returned for the fillings. I had earlier made an appointment for the afternoon but later changed it to the morning. Again no problem to accommodate my wishes. Here in Australia I can never make an appointment at a time which suites me. All up five fillings cost 4000 baht ($A60). My local dentist charges A$135 per filling.
In summary. I could not have been more impressed with BIDC. A modern clean environment with the most up-to-date equipment and friendly staff. Whilst my experience was with BIDC there are many other dentists who cater to overseas visitors and I have no reason to believe that ones experience with them would be any different. Having a few drinks in a bar one night a couple of long time visitors told me they always get their dental work done in Bangkok and interestingly whilst talking to another he told me he was there for cosmetic surgery.
Passing thoughts after my first trip to Bangkok:
Everyone I met was friendly.
I wasn’t ripped off by anyone other than the taxi driver who charged a flat 400 baht to the airport (I can live with this).
If you only want a massage state that clearly at the start. Being pushed for extras towards the end is not enjoyable especially when you really only want a massage.
Cigarette companies after being punished in the Western world now prey on developing countries. 60 baht for a packet is ridiculously cheap.
There are a number of things in Bangkok which are worth taking advantage of and cheap dental work is most definitely one of them.