Your Guide to Top-Quality, Affordable DentistryHow does a smile makeover differ from a full-mouth reconstruction? The "Consumer Guide to Dentistry" at yourdentistryguide.com answers that question this way: "A smile makeover is something that you elect to have performed, while a full-mouth reconstruction is something that you need."
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Thus, a smile makeover may employ more cosmetic treatments (whitening, bonding, veneers) and involve less reconstructive work (bridges, implants, partial dentures), but the particulars vary on a case-by-case basis. So, if your teeth are basically sound, your gums are healthy, and your teeth and jaw are well aligned, you may be most interested in an improvement in appearance. In that case, a smile makeover may be for you.
If you need only a whitening or a single veneer to make over your smile, you probably won’t save money traveling, but you may choose to do so anyway. Some global patients have established satisfactory relationships with out-of-country dentists and wouldn’t dream of having their dental work done elsewhere. Others take a "might-as-well-as" approach to dental care: if they plan to visit a country for business or pleasure, "why not" save a little money on dental care at the same time?
If, however, you need a lot or work to achieve the appearance you desire, cost savings may become an important consideration. For example, just a single porcelain crown costs from US$600 to US$3,100 in the US. The average in Costa Rica and Thailand runs around US$500. In Mexico, the average is US$950. Multiply those cost differences over several crowns and you just might save enough on your smile makeover to pay for a vacation.
There are dentists and there are dentists. Although cosmetic dentistry isn’t a legally recognized specialty, it pays to find a dentist who specializes in aesthetic work—if for no other reason than the experience factor. Make sure you plan for multiple visits to your overseas dentist. You probably cannot get all your work done at once.
Membership in a professional association is an important indicator of any health professional’s expertise. Non-US dentists practicing abroad can apply for affiliate membership in the American Dental Association (ADA). Such membership is available to dentists who are practicing in a country other than the United States and who do not have an active US dental license.
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) runs an accreditation program that serves professionals practicing in the US and abroad. Applicants for accreditation complete a rigorous credentialing process that includes a written examination, oral examination, and peer review of clinical cases.
Last updated on 15 June 2012