Readers' Submissions

Sex Tourist To Medical Tourist

  • Written by Tommy G
  • February 27th, 2009
  • 4 min read


If there's ever good a time to crack a dental veneer it's the week before leaving for Thailand. Having this just happen to me, I searched the internet for a reputable place to have work done in Bangkok. Because it takes 3 – 5 days in Bangkok to create the replacement after removal of the old one and getting the impression made, I planned to meet a mate in Pattaya for a few days and return to complete the work. I settled on Silom Dental and they said they could accommodate me on the Saturday morning at 11 AM after my Friday night arrival from the States. Price quoted was 8,000 baht plus cleaning. Not quoted was a 100 baht "equipment sterilization" fee. X-ray fee was 150 baht.

After cleaning and X-ray, it was determined that a second veneer was in need of replacement due to a slight gap due to adhesive leakage that could cause decay. The replaced veneers were 12 years old and they estimate a life of about 10 years, so this was proper.

After a cleaning, done not by a dental hygienist but by an actual dentist, I was asked to wait in the lounge for the specialist. After an hour of Thai soaps I wandered to the front desk where I was told that the specialist had left and I would need to return at 5 PM. Only in Thailand? Probably not, except that no one wanted to tell me so they just left me there until I finally asked what was going on. Cleaning fee with all the add-ons was 1,000 baht, about 25% of the cost in the US and performed by an actual dentist.

I slept through my 5 PM appointment after a little help from the Biergarten as I was beat from the long flight and 12 hour time change. This created a crisis as I was leaving for Pattaya / Koh Samui and now couldn't get the work completed without rescheduling my travels.

I emailed them that Saturday night and received an apology on midday Monday, by which time I was in Pattaya and had made an appointment for that evening. I walked into PattayaSmile Dental Clinic on South Pattaya Road and an appointment was made with the specialist for that evening. Without my prompting, he confirmed that the second veneer was very suspect and should be replaced. Price was 7,500 baht each plus 500 baht for a temporary composite as I would be two weeks before returning. The actual veneer creation is done in Bangkok so the turn around time increases from 5 to 7 days there. But prices were slightly lower and often the same people perform the work.

He agreed to meet me at 8 PM on Monday night to accommodate my schedule. Work was completed in an hour and the quality of both the work and product was top notch. The advantage of this work here is that it is extremely specialized, and while many dentists are trained to do it, the specialists here might work three days in Bangkok and two days in Pattaya, doing the same procedures over and over.

My last veneer replacement was four years ago in the US and was over $1,000 for one tooth. My savings were over $1,600 on two veneers and the work was done completely at my convenience. Dr. "Go", aka Chris, was extremely professional, trained in the UK, (not sure if that's a good thing), and completely competent.

Thankfully Stick's prediction of the baht falling to 25 baht per dollar didn't pan out and the exchange rate this year for non-British-pound spenders is quite nice. By helping to trash the global economy, we now have the benefit of a rising dollar while people seek a safe currency with which to place their wealth. But that's for another day.

While on a roll, I had two pairs of prescription sunglasses made for 2,200 baht each. In the US it would be 2 – 4 times that amount. Converting my total savings into trips to Lolita's in Pattaya would be around 90 fun-filled visits. At my age I'd better just stick with the medical work!

The advantages of specialized dental work here are of course price, but the ability to get a professional who does specialty work on a routine basis. The effort to meet your schedule is also very impressive. The work is not as rushed as in the US, where dentists schedule "units" of 15 minutes and seem determined to not go over. The risks are mainly the lack of recourse if the work proves to be substandard, i.e. the veneer breaks or falls off, once back home in the US. At 20% of the price, that's a risk I'm quite happy to accept.

I could not be more pleased with my experience. Thought this was worth passing on.

Stickman's thoughts:

I know a lot of guys come to Thailand and simply want to relax and enjoy their holiday, but scheduling in things such as dental work or other not too time consuming medical procedures could not just save a lot of money but effectively pay for the whole trip.